How Do You Pronounce GIF? It Probably Depends on Where You're From

iStock
iStock

It is a question that creates tension in friendships and divides families: How do you pronounce GIF?

The Graphics Interchange Format that makes fun looped image files possible also sparks heated debate in its shortened form. Is it a hard g like graphics or a soft g like gym? The Economist suggests that it’s a regional question.

Recently, the programming forum Stack Overflow posed the question to 50,000 people in 200 countries, and found that for the most part, the hard g wins out. While 65 percent of survey respondents went for the hard g, only 26 percent argued for the soft g.

But as the data team at The Economist points out, it’s a question that has built-in linguistic biases. If your native language doesn’t have a hard g sound, you probably use the soft g to pronounce GIF, and vice versa. Almost 80 percent of the poll respondents came from language backgrounds that would bias them toward the hard g sound, even though those languages make up just 45 percent of the world population. The Economist’s calculations found that weighted by population, Europe and the U.S. are biased toward the hard g pronunciation, but in emerging economies (defined by the World Bank), it’s not so clear cut.

Because there’s a third option that English-speaking nerds rarely duke it out over: the individual letter pronunciation, which appears to have made significant inroads in Asia. According to the poll, it’s more common in China and South Korea to enunciate each letter in GIF. Half of respondents from China opted for that choice, as did a full 70 percent of South Korean respondents. Explore the map visualization of the data here.

That said, GIF creator Steve Wilhite uses the soft g, like JIF. Do with that what you will.

[h/t The Economist]

Can You Name the President Just by Looking at Their Facial Hair?

New Harry Potter Scrabble Accepts Wizarding Words Like Hogwarts and Dobby

USAopoly
USAopoly

Patronus, Hogwarts, and Dobby may not be words found in the official Scrabble dictionary, but they are very real to Harry Potter fans. Now there's finally a board game that lets players win points using the magical vocabulary made famous by the Harry Potter books and movies. SCRABBLE: World of Harry Potter from USAopoly is a new edition of Scrabble that recognizes characters, place names, spells, and potions from J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World.

Like traditional Scrabble, players use the letter tiles they pick up to spell out words on the board, with different words earning different point values. Any word you can find in an up-to-date Merriam-Webster Dictionary is still fair game, but in this version, terms coined in Harry Potter qualify as well. First and last names, whether they belong to characters (Albus or Dumbledore, for example) or actors from the franchise (Emma or Watson), are playable. You can also spell magical place names (like Hogsmeade), spells (accio), and objects (snitch).

Harry Potter version of Scrabble.
USAopoly

Showing off the depth of your Harry Potter knowledge isn't the only reason to put wizarding words on the board. Magical words are worth bonus points, with players earning more points the longer the word is. SCRABBLE: World of Harry Potter also includes cards with special challenges for players—a feature that can't be found in any other version of the game.

This Harry Potter edition of Scrabble will be available for $30 at Barnes & Noble and other retailers this spring. Until then, there are plenty of Harry Potter-themed games, including wizarding chess, out there for you to play.

Harry Potter version of Scrabble.
USAopoly

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER