The internet - and especially the recently-sold content sausage machine Tumblr, epicentre of the animated gif rebirth - is reeling today at the news that when referring to image files formatted as .gifs one should pronounce it "jif".
That's according to no less an authority than Steve Wilhite, the man who invented the Graphics Interchange Format while working at CompuServe back in 1987. Despite the fact that it doesn't start with "Jraphics" or similar, Mr Wilhite contends that his brainchild should be referred to with a soft "g".
“The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” Wilhite, now retired, tells the New York Times. “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”
Mr Wilhite is to be honoured with a Webby award today for his work on the .gif, however pronounced.
We find (to our amazement, here at the London tentacle of the Register media empire, where we speak English rather than French) that there is apparently a large community of Americans who stand with Wilhite on this matter: though not, apparently, including the upstanding US President. Mr Obama's recently inaugurated White House Tumblr takes a hard line on the matter. ®