Why the Ongoing Argument Regarding the Correct Way to Pronounce GIF is So Passionate

In a really thought-provoking episode of PBS Idea Channel, host Mike Rugnetta talks about the ongoing argument regarding the correct way to pronounce GIF, the passions involved in the argument, how the word has become a symbol of specific cultures, the arbitrary nature of the English language that lends itself to multiple pronunciations and how any pronunciation of the word is really okay.

So. Whether you like it or not, when you say the word G-I-F, especially on the internet, people are gonna talk about it. Some will correct you, some will correct the people correcting you, it’s the same conversation every time. Over and over and over. Which is why Mike proposed a third pronunciation way back when: Zhaif,…Because if you can’t beat them, leave town and set up camp in the wilderness. But really though, what is it about this one word that has people up in arms about the “right” way to pronounce it? There are plenty of other words that have differing pronunciations across cultures, borders and languages. So why is GIF the word people go to war for?