Who says what in a GIF-y

Reported by Allison Meyer and Emmie Wu

As you may know there are two pronunciations of the word GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), one with a “g” (hard G) and one with “j” (soft G). For those who have yet to find out what a GIF is, it is an image file that supports both animated and static images. (Or buzzfeed’s trademark).

Recently a battle has erupted in the Kasper club. Our Editor, Amber, believes that the only proper way to say GIF is with a “g”. After further discussion, it was discovered that the majority of seniors in the club also shared the same way of speech.

However, as reporters, we have set out to prove whether the words of elders are always the words of wisdom.

A GIF of the ongoing GIF/JIF battle compared to that of Bugs bunny and Daffy Duck in ‘The Looney Tunes’

A GIF of the ongoing GIF/JIF battle compared to that of Bugs bunny and Daffy Duck in ‘The Looney Tunes’

In order to find out what the correct pronunciation is, we decided to go around campus and ask the people which they prefer. Whichever side gets the majority votes will be declared winner of this   “KASPER Gif vs Jif Contest”.

After interviewing the masses, the received results turned out to be extremely close. The Soft G “J”IF took the cake by only ONE vote: 32 to 31. Besides finding the most used pronunciation, we also took the chance to explore social linguistics, or the relationship between language and age in this context.

We found that those of an older age group, including the seniors and teachers, tended to say GIF with a hard G, whereas those in Freshman and Sophomore groups leaned towards the soft G, supporting our original hypothesis. When asked why they preferred a certain pronunciation, there wasn’t a specific reason. The argument was either that the original sound had been ‘JIF’ all along or that ‘graphic’ is pronounced with a hard G.

However what we weren’t expecting was the amount of G-I-F pronunciations that we received. We concluded that “G-I-F” is more common among those who aren’t familiar with GIFs at all.

Pronunciation Votes
Soft G 32
Hard G 31
G-I-F 10


According to Steve Wilhite of CompuServe, the creator of GIFs, the pronunciation of “J”IF actually came from the peanut butter brand ‘JIF’


So there you go, hope this experiment answers all your questions. If you have any questions about the experiment please feel free to contact the KASPER club.

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