Ever since it’s introduction in 1957, the file format .gif has captivated the Internet and has even become an essential part of Internet culture. The gif, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a file format that plays a short looping video over and over, like the one below:
Now that you’ve read the word GIF, which stand for Graphics Interchange Format, how do you think it would be pronounced? Most of you will probably think “gif”, with a hard G. But some of you might also thing “jif”, with a soft G. Both of those are perfectly acceptable, but believe it or not, there has been a debate raging on the Internet about how to correctly pronounce gif for many, many years now and nobody has really come up with a conclusive answer. In the fascinating video above, Mike Rugnetta of PBS Idea Channel talks about why any reason a combatant in an argument on some comment thread or on site like Reddit could give isn’t a good enough argument to sway members of the other opinion, and how really, the argument comes down to the malleability of language and peoples’ tendencies to argue with each other.