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In which Hank settles this debate once and for all.
Hello, I'm Hank Green. I've just recently woken up, as you can see by my hair, and I just got an ask in my Tumblr inbox - there's a rubber band on my hand - I just got an ask in my Tumblr inbox about my pronunciation of gif [jif] being wrong. And so, I wanted to make a video... I almost just replied to the ask, but instead I'm going to make a video, once and for all, settling the matte of how to pronounce gif [jif], or gif [guiff]. Or... this word. There. "Gif". There's two main things to talk about here... there's lots of interesting things - linguistics, and like why words appear in our head when we see them, and the history of graphics formats, and that's... all very interesting. But let's just try and keep focused, because I have a hard time keeping focused, but just try and keep focused; two main things. 1. The people who originally said gif [jif] - those are the people who were around when the gif [jif] format sort of became a thing, instead of like TARGAs, and bit maps, which were terrible, no offense. The people who created gifs said, "Choosy developers choose gif [jif]", because that was a commercial for Jif peanut butter, "Choosy moms choose Jif". The people who... like it was culturally important for them to know how to say that - they would like use the word gif [jif] in conversations that happened out loud, and not just in text - those people mostly said gif [jif]. And, I was one of those people. So that's the argument for why to say gif [jif], because the developers say gif [jif]. There's no actual reason why it should matter that the person who came up with the word... like they don't get to define how we pronounce the word. That's... that's well-established; in fact, J. K. Rowling says, you should say Accio [ossio], and in the movies, they don't! They say Accio [akkio], I think, and in the audiobooks, they say Accio [axio]. Who gets to decide how to pronounce a word? Not the person who created the word! Uh, it's the people who say the word... us! That argument actually isn't any good! So, moving on to the second argument, which is that Graphics Interchange Format is G [hard g]... I... F... GIF [guiff]. 'Cause that's how the first letters in those things are pronounced, and so it should be gif [guiff], because it's G-raphics, I-nterchange, F-ormat, and then... YAY! WE DID IT, everybody, we figured out how to pronounce gif [guiff] by looking at how the letters in the acronym are pronounced, and to be clear... this has NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW ACRONYMS ARE PRONOUNCED!! That is not how acronyms are made up: you assign the letters, and then you say what it looks like to you. There are a lot of acronyms that do not use the pronunciation; for example, there's a trade agreement called the... General... what is it? It's the General... shoot. It's the GATS. And it's the General Agreement on Trade and Services. That's what it is. And... the General Agreement of Trade and Services is not called the GATS [jats]; it's called the GATS. It's not GATS [jats]; it's GATS. That's not a rule of acronyms! People made that up to defend the way that they pronounce gif [guiff], because they wanted a reason... But, here's the thing. There's no reason to pronounce it one way or the other. I mean, there are, but really, what you're defending is the way that you read gif [guiff] the first time you read it, and then you wanted to defend that because you created an idea of how the word was pronounced in your head, and then someone else said it differently than you, and you were like, "That person is wrong! Because... my head says one thing, and their head says a different thing! And so my head is right, because it's mine." And to be clear, just straight-up, no bones about it - I don't know why there would be bones - gif [jif] or gif [guiff] are both correct. They're not both acceptable; they're not both okay; there's not one that's better than the other; they're both... correct. You can say it either way. So when I said, [sings] "You know that it's pronounced like gif [jif]. What, no! Yes! Yes, mmm." in the Tumbling Down Tumblr song, I was not saying that jif [gif] is pronounced like gif [jif], though that is how I say it, and I have a personal affinity for saying it like gif [jif]... I was making fun of this exact debate! Because it happens on Tumblr all the time! And it's a song about Tumblr things! I was making fun, and then people thought that I was the champion of the word, the pronunciation gif [jif], and I'm not. I'm just a guy! I'm just a guy, who wants everybody to GET ALOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON...[g]