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GIF Becomes Word of the Year 2012 315

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-other-arbitrary-news dept.
mikejuk writes "GIF started out as a humble acronym 25 years ago, entered common parlance as the format used for web graphics and now achieves fame as a verb by becoming Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year 2012. GIF as a noun has always been an all-capital letter noun. Becoming a verb has caused problems concerning the use of capital and lower case letters. The common form is to keep the noun in caps and add the verbal endings in lower case — as in GIFed,GIFing), However, an all lower-case spelling with the f duplicated (giffed, giffing) is also being used."
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GIF Becomes Word of the Year 2012

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  • by MrLint (519792) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:07PM (#42028357) Journal

    Are they going to publish it with the incorrect pronunciation that "everyone" says is correct?

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:13PM (#42028449) Journal
      I came to say the exact same thing, but I clicked through the maze of links first, and found [oxforddictionaries.com]:

      Pronunciation: /jif, gif/

      The OED describes, not prescribes.

    • You're seriously going prescriptivist on an initialism that exists only because of natural descriptivist language?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I hope they publish it with the hard G so that becomes the accepted pronunciation. Face it, the soft G version just sounds dumb.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        More importantly, it conflicts. JIFF is another (albeit obscure) name for JPEG. (Joint Photographic Experts Group Image File Format.)
        • Jif [wikipedia.org] is a brand of lemon juice. Jif [wikipedia.org] is also a brand of Peanut butter. I've always pronounced GIF with a hard G, as in giggling gizmo girth girls give gilded gizzards girdle girder gimmick gifts.
          • Re:And also... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by number6x (626555) on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:47PM (#42029761)

            You left one very important word out of your list of hard G words: Graphic.

            GIF is an acronym for Graphic Interchange Format, not for Giraffe interchange format. So the G in GIF is hard, just like the G in Graphic.

            • Re:And also... (Score:5, Informative)

              by pclminion (145572) on Monday November 19, 2012 @02:26PM (#42030239)

              GIF is an acronym for Graphic Interchange Format, not for Giraffe interchange format. So the G in GIF is hard, just like the G in Graphic.

              Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, not Light Amplification by Ztimulated Emission of Radiation. Therefore the 's' in laser is unvoiced and should be pronounced "lay-sir" not "lay-zer."

              Actually, no, that's still not right. The A in Amplification is a short A not a long one, so the word should be pronounced "lah-sir." But wait, the E in emission is long, so it should actually be "lah-seer."

              Or we could admit that that's not how acronym pronunciation works and stop being dumbshits.

              • by cstacy (534252) on Monday November 19, 2012 @02:58PM (#42030677)

                Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, not Light Amplification by Ztimulated Emission of Radiation. Therefore the 's' in laser is unvoiced and should be pronounced "lay-sir" not "lay-zer." Actually, no, that's still not right. The A in Amplification is a short A not a long one, so the word should be pronounced "lah-sir." But wait, the E in emission is long, so it should actually be "lah-seer."

                That's why one always uses finger quotes when referring to a device that I call a "Layzer".

            • by Culture20 (968837)
              I don't think acronyms work like that, otherwise NASA and PETA would sound totally different than they are currently pronounced. (Nehsah instead of Nasah, Pehtah instead of peetah) Not to mention fubar (fuhbar?).
        • by tepples (727027)
          I thought the obscure name for JPEG files was JFIF, not JIFF.
      • by Ed_Pinkley (881113) on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:34PM (#42029599)
        Here's the thing: If you invent something, you get to name it.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_Interchange_Format#Pronunciation [wikipedia.org]
        " According to Steve Wilhite, the creator of the GIF format, the original pronunciation deliberately echoes the American peanut butter brand, Jif, "
    • by arth1 (260657)

      Are they going to publish it with the incorrect pronunciation that "everyone" says is correct?

      When people pronounce it "dchiff", I understand that they refer to "Giraffic Interchange Format".

      Hint to the masses: If something is written in all caps, and you're not sure how or whether it should be pronounced, please don't. Just read each letter.

    • by Cyko_01 (1092499)
      Pronounce it like "gift" but without the "t"
  • silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FalseModesty (166253) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:08PM (#42028365)

    It's 25 years old. How can it be the word of this year?

  • Just in time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:09PM (#42028381) Homepage

    Who even uses GIF anymore?

    • Re:Just in time (Score:4, Informative)

      by serviscope_minor (664417) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:13PM (#42028447) Journal

      Who even uses GIF anymore?

      All the young people these days seem to be making funny little animated gifs of things.

      Quite strange. It feels like geocities.

      Now, while you're partying like it's 1999, please get off my lawn.

    • My experience has been that it gives you better compression than PNG, if you can fit your image in 256 colors, and don't need a full alpha channel.

      For some reason there's a trend of converting movies to animated gifs [gifsoup.com].
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SourceFrog (627014)
        If that's your experience, you're almost certainly using an inferior PNG encoder (yes, PNG compression works in ways that effectively allow 'bad implementations' to create larger files :/ .. one of the big things that held it back was a common misconception that it gave inferior compression due to a popular image manipulation package (Photoshop) that had a shitty PNG implementation. With a proper encoder, basically the only time GIF should give you smaller filesizes, is on very small images (e.g. 10x10 pixe
    • Re:Just in time (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bennomatic (691188) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:20PM (#42028565) Homepage
      The best use I've ever seen of GIFs: If We Don't, Remember Me [tumblr.com].
    • It's pretty much reddit's fault. Still a blight on the internet.

  • I prefer their UK word of the year: omnishambles.

    http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/11/uk-word-of-the-year-2012/ [oxforddictionaries.com]

  • A bit late (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hentes (2461350) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:11PM (#42028427)

    It's been obsoleted by PNG for more thanlike 15 years now. They could just as well choose floppy.

    • Animated PNGs are a lot more rare than GIFs.
    • People turn little video clips into animated GIFs for joke purposes. Theyâ(TM)re not posting MNG (or whatever the carefully designed and basically unused animated PNG format was called) to their Tumblrs.
    • by kybur (1002682)
      Not really. People are using GIFs for animation. PNGs don't support that. Many browsers don't support APNGs. Regular PNGs didn't even work correctly in IE6, which took way too long to die.
    • It's been obsoleted by PNG for more thanlike 15 years now. They could just as well choose floppy.

      Because it takes several years and must meet several requirements in order to become an "official" English word. Otherwise they would be adding thousands of words every year used for one week and then forgotten.

  • GIF is a word I use in writing, but never in speech. To this day, I honestly don't know if I should say "ghiff" or "jiff".
  • I prefer to jaypayg my images.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:19PM (#42028547) Journal

    But... GIFs are so last century! There used to be a joke "beware of geeks bearing gifs" but not even geeks get it anymore.

    Oxford, welcome to the nineties. You might want to check your PC clock. I think the battery died.

    • by sjbe (173966)

      There used to be a joke "beware of geeks bearing gifs" but not even geeks get it anymore.

      Maybe you youngsters. Get off my lawn...

    • That's what I was thinking. GIF? Now? Nobody uses GIF's anymore. PNG has all but replaced GIF.

  • by crow (16139) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:22PM (#42028585) Homepage Journal

    The issue with the verb form is not how to handle adding suffixes to an upper-case initialism, the issue is that people would thing do verb that noun in the first place. While I've heard lots of people talk about GIFs, I would get all GIFed if I actually heard someone verb "GIF." That's just GIFing stupid.

    Seriously, does anyone do that?

    • Seriously, does anyone do that?

      I can't say it has never happened but I've certainly never heard anyone use GIF as a verb and I'm old enough to remember when GIF images were a new thing. Never even occurred to me that anyone would use it as a verb.

      Of course I resolutely refuse to use Google as a verb as well. Google is a company name and the activity I'm usually doing with their website is called "searching" which is a perfectly satisfactory verb that even works when using a website not made by Google.

      • I can't say it has never happened but I've certainly never heard anyone use GIF as a verb and I'm old enough to remember when GIF images were a new thing. Never even occurred to me that anyone would use it as a verb.

        I would suggest that the people using GIF as a verb were not around when GIFs were new.

    • Re:Verb form: no (Score:4, Insightful)

      by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:41PM (#42028905)

      the issue is that people would thing do verb that noun in the first place

      err, what was that?

      First they came for the verbs, and I said nothing because verbing weirds language. Then they arrival for the nouns, and I speech nothing because I no verbs.

      - Peter Ellis

  • Seriously? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shaitand (626655)

    I've never heard anyone use GIF except to describe an image that is a GIF because they are doing something with graphics. It isn't exactly a day to day word or something laymen use... random teens on Facebook would still have no idea what a GIF is.

    • random teens on Facebook would still have no idea what a GIF is.

      Get hep, daddy-o. Animated GIFs [huffingtonpost.com] are bad. Or whatever the kids call it these days. They're an easy and widely-supported means to get short video clips out.

      • by shaitand (626655)

        Yeah but who uses them? I mean you see them in forum sigs and avatars but everywhere else you see flash used for video clips.

        Animated gifs are slow and not especially easy to make.

    • by Rytr23 (704409)
      I beg to differ. I imagine many more random teens than you imagine are aware of what gifs are.. See Reddit.com Well, I guess if your random teens are all white upper middle to upper class ones..
      • by shaitand (626655)

        Even if they are aware of what GIFs are how many of them are using the word on a daily basis let alone using GIF as a verb. I'd imagine JPEG and PNG are going to be used far more. Yup, just looking over the Reddit front page, I see two PNG's (and neither was made by the poster) and a gallary full of JPEG's. There is nothing about grabbing images off the net and linking to them or posting them elsewhere that requires knowing what a GIF is. Maybe knowing that some pictures end in .gif but you aren't going to

  • http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/GIF [oxforddictionaries.com]
    Pronunciation: /jif, gif/

    ::twitch::

  • Uses animated GIFS on Deadspin. MNG anyone?

  • limerick (Score:5, Funny)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:42PM (#42028923)
    Some geeks wanted a way to make glyphs
    They named their new standard GIF
    Now the formats obsolete
    But tweeting the word is l33t
    And real dweebs continue to use TIFF
  • GIZ (Score:5, Funny)

    by g4b (956118) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:44PM (#42028943) Homepage

    I say GIZ would be a nice format for zlibbed gif. it would also ease the use as a verb.

  • How timely (Score:5, Funny)

    by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:05PM (#42029231) Homepage
    What's going to be Word of the Year for 2013? "RealPlayer"?
  • What's the next word of the year? WYSIWYG?
  • If I'm reading this right, the word GIF has been around a long time, but it is "word of the year" because of the new usage, as a verb. I've never heard this usage, and I can't for the life of me figure out what it could mean. Does "to gif" mean "to convert an image to GIF format"? Does it mean "to capture an image in GIF format"? Neither one of these sounds like something that would be a very common usage, so I'm sure I'm missing something. What does this new verb mean?
  • First of all, you're not suppose to use the word you're describing in the definition, and here they defined it by using its noun form. Secondly, I believe it's a much larger offense to use the technology you're describing to make your announcement about the word, which they've clearly done by 'GIFing' the WOTY announcement. On top of that, I think I've seen far more clever words coined on the Unwords and Urban dictionaries this year.

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