The Perfect Image File Format

I was trying to read up on the GIF alpha plane and wandered aimlessly for a moment (whose duration was longer than intended by any self-respecting dictionary of English) and stumbled on a gem. From the GIF page:


No detail was too small for consideration in the authors’ quest for a near-perfect image format; yea, verily, even the acronym and pronunciation were major topics of discussion. The reason, of course, is the GIF format; some pronounce it with a soft G like giraffe, some with a hard G like gift, and no one really knows what they’re talking about. (For the record, the soft G is correct; it is how the author of the format pronounces it.)

“PNG” is always spelled* “PNG” (or “Portable Network Graphics”) and always pronounced “ping” in English, not “pinj” or “pee en gee” or any other multi-syllabic disaster. (For non-English speakers, the three-letter pronunciation is fine, however.) See the introduction to the PNG specification (or the Scope section of the newer ISO/IEC/W3C version) for the definitive statement on the matter.

* Greg follows American English rules, but read spelt here if you “favour” the British “flavour.” 😉

I’ve been wrong all my life thus far and dirtied the linguistic linen with multi-syllabic disaseters. Damn-Ping!


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