Is it GIF, as in gift? Or is it GIF, as in gerrymandered? That is the question.
President Barack Obama declared in a video released by the White House Thursday that he has long pondered the question of how to pronounce the Internet’s most debated word — and he’s come to a decision.
In a meeting this week, Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp asked Obama, “Did you see the GIF?” pronouncing it “jif” with the soft G. Technically speaking, this is the proper pronunciation, so decreed by Steve Wilhite, who created the GIF—short for Graphics Interchange Format—in 1987.
“A GIF,” Obama replies, with the hard g as in gloat. “I’m all on top of it.”
“So you’ve made up your mind, it’s a GIF?” Karp asks.
“It is. That is my official position. I’ve—I’ve pondered it a long time,” Obama declares.
Many in the media were quick to report on Obama’s mispronunciation of the term. But, as a proponent of the living language and non-stick-in-the-mudness in general, this writer, controversially among his colleagues, is fine with the President’s position.
- Volodymyr Zelensky and the Spirit of Ukraine: TIME's 2022 Person of the Year
- Mickey Guyton Is TIME's 2022 Breakthrough Artist of the Year
- The 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2022
- Column: What Elon Musk Gets Wrong About Free Speech
- The Forgotten Story of One of the First U.S. Soldiers Killed Overseas After Pearl Harbor
- Why You're More Likely to Get Sick in the Winter, According to New Research
- Column: What the Protests Tell Us About China's Future
- 18 Last-Minute Gifts for Everyone on Your List