"You say 'gif,' I say 'jif.' "
Even active Internet users can have trouble knowing the accepted pronunciation for terms that are more often typed or read rather than spoken, and while the world got its answer on the .gif question when its inventor confirmed the soft-g as in "jif," some "gif" enthusiasts refuse to change.
In a recent survey by the online retailer eBay, more than 50 percent of respondents use a hard-g when pronouncing "gif." Many even refer to the file format as "gift," which has nothing to do with a short, animated image file.
A meme? That's "me-me" to more than 30 percent of the group.
While some of the pronunciations seem obvious, respondents still managed to mispronounce a large number of terms or phrases. Here are nine terms with some of the more interesting differences in pronunciation.
Read the full survey, of more than 1,000 U.S. residents aged 18 to 45 to find out how they pronounce 44 common technical terms.
“It’s Pronounced jif not gif.” Those were the words that flashed across the screen when Steve Wilhite, the inventor of the Graphics Interchange Format, accepted his 2013 Webby Lifetime Achievement Award. Despite the Oxford dictionary accepting both pronunciations, "It is a soft G pronounced jif. End of story,” Wilhite explained in a New York Times interview. However, it looks like people didn't take Wilhite's message seriously. More than 53 percent of respondents believe gif is pronounced gift, a pronunciation that was never even in the running.
Believe it or not, there are people out there who pronounce "meme" as "me-me." Fewer than 50 percent of respondents pronounce "meme" correctly as "meem."
Wi-Fi is in 25 percent of homes around the world, and about 2 billion Wi-Fi devices were sold in 2013, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance. That may explain why the majority surveyed agreed that "Wi-Fi" — short for Wireless Fidelity — is pronounced "Why-Fi."
If you're searching for something online — just "Google it." That's the most common phrase people use when it comes to online search, followed by "search it."
The Internet is simply called "Internet," according to more than 70 percent of respondents. The Internet is also commonly called "Web" and "the Net" but in far smaller proportions.
We'll thank Twitter for this one. A hashtag is used for people to search for tweets that have to do with a particular topic. "People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their tweet to categorize those tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search," according to Twitter. About 42 percent of people surveyed refer to a hashtag as "hashtag," and the other 58 percent may not have used Twitter.
"You're it." Online, tagging has nothing to do with the playground game, but rather is used on social media to call attention to another user's social media profile. According to the eBay Deals survey, nearly 55 percent of people think about the @ (at) symbol when they hear the word "tagging."
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "unfriending" means to remove (someone) from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking website. The majority of those surveyed understood this definition, referring to "unfriending" as "unfriend." However, nearly 22 percent believe "unfriending" means to "unfollow," which is a common Twitter term: On Twitter, you don't have friends, you have followers.
When it comes to smiling online and via text message, people don't type out a full smiley face. The most popular smile emoticon is a colon followed by a closed parenthesis. Simple, but to the point. And with plenty of opportunities to customize based on your mood. :)