'Why-Fi' or 'Wiffy'? How Americans Pronounce Common Tech Terms

More than 30 percent of us say "meme" as "me-me" ... and other findings from a new survey
eBay Deals

Okay, once and for all: Is it "gif" or "jif"?

EBay Deals, which runs a blog, decided to find out. Its team surveyed 1,100 people—U.S. residents, ranging in age from 18 to 45—asking them about the terms they use to describe some of the most common objects and actions of digital life. And about the way they pronounce those terms when they're discussing them IRL, which is pronounced I-R-L. The team, a representative told me, started by issuing a round of questions to 200 people, asking for open-ended answers; once they got a selection of three or four common terms—"remote," for example, as well as "remote control," "clicker," and "controller"—they polled the entire group to get a sense of the popularity of each term. 

Their findings? "Remote," it turns out, is much more commonly used than "clicker." But there were more surprising findings, as well. For example: More than 30 percent of eBay's respondents pronounce the word "meme" as "me-me," which is as fun to say as it is incorrect. And nearly 43 percent of those respondents pronounce "data" as "dah-tuh," eBay said—a nod to the original Latin, maybe, but also a snub to certain androids.

And the whole "gif" vs. "jif" thing? Nearly 54 percent of respondents use the hard-g version, compared to nearly 41 percent who use the soft. And more than 5 percent use another pronunciation entirely—which makes you wonder whether there's a group of Americans going to Buzzfeed, scrolling down, and remarking to themselves about all the animated jeefs

Here are more of their findings

Gif vs. Jif

eBay Deals

Meme

eBay Deals

Mobile Phone

eBay Deals

Flash Drive

eBay Deals

Trolling

eBay Deals

Remote Control

eBay Deals

Hashtag

eBay Deals

Booting Up

eBay Deals

Avatar

eBay Deals

Online Search

eBay Deals

'Data'

eBay Deals

'Wifi'

eBay Deals

 

Presented by

Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Technology

Just In