GIF: Hard G or Soft? Let's Talk It Out

Okay, really: Is it GIF as in "gift" or GIF as in "jiffy"? There have been many guides addressing this question -- and even, via Jon Oram, an attempt at detente. And yet we seem no closer to consensus. There's the hard-g camp and the soft-g ... and they don't seem to be coming together anytime soon.

Part of the challenge is that even the most definitive guides when it comes to pronunciation aren't, actually, fully definitive. Because, even when they're insistent one way or the other -- and they're almost always not insistent -- there will still be a whole swath of Internet-dwellers pronouncing the thing the other way. This is the "sherbert" vs. "sherbet" -- the "orange" vs. "aw-range," the "potato" vs. "potahto" -- of contemporary Internet culture. It is sort of sad. But it is also sort of weird. Why is this tiny little word so divisive?

Here are introductory thoughts on that question from Grist's Philip Bump; you can read the rest of a conversation on the subject -- featuring a GIF from The Atlantic's own Chris Heller -- over at Branch.com:

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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