Today, Georgia Tech has formally announced that the institute will officially endorse the pronunciation of GIF with a soft ‘g’ effective immediately. The implementation of the soft ‘g’ in GIF will be an institute wide initiative and will be strictly enforced.
The Graphics Interchange Format, commonly shortened to an acronym as “GIF” and awarded the file extension .gif, has been at the center of global controversy since it was developed in 1987. The pronunciation of GIF has been widely contested and fervently argued in online discussion forums ever since.
“The soft ‘g’ is an important literary element here at Georgia Tech,” said Dr. Anita Jeff. “You wouldn’t pronounce it ‘Georgia Tech’ would you? That just sounds silly. The same goes for GIF. ‘GIF’ is so much better than ‘GIF’ and we felt it was time to address this issue and form a unified front.”
The arduous and detailed process to approve the formal stance began in the spring of 2015 after the suggestion was made by Georgia Institutional Phonetics, better known as GIPH. Over the course of two years, countless GIPH meetings were held and the debate was intense.
“Those were some difficult days in the office,” recalled Steven Norris, Georgia Tech’s coordinator of social media and one of the most active users of GIFs on campus. “The hard ‘g’ supporters were centered around the fact that the ‘G’ in ‘GIF’ represents ‘Graphics’. The exchanges got heated and we even had some people threaten to start using PNG files or JPEGs.”
During the process, notable alumni were contacted for input. As a proponent of the soft ‘g’, consultant George P. Burdell was invited to campus and he provided a unique perspective for decision-makers.
“The word ‘graphics’ does start with a hard ‘g’. There is no disputing that point,” said Burdell. “But I’ve always been the type of person that embraces the opportunity for duality and the unconventional.”
The new GIF pronunciation rules will go into effect immediately. Georgia Tech has assembled a GIF Task Force to monitor the usage of the acronym GIF and report any instances of an infraction. The first transgression can result in a fine up to $256, but offenders may be able to come to a reasonable resolution and avoid compressing issues.