Wed May 22, 2013
The Two-Way

GIF Talk: Do You Say It With A G Or A J?

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 1:41 pm

Steve Wilhite, inventor of the GIF file, was given a lifetime achievement award at the 17th annual Webby Awards Tuesday night in New York City. Don't congratulate him the wrong way: To him, GIF sounds like Jif.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images for The Webby Awards

The kerfuffle Tuesday and today on Twitter about the "news" that the creator of the GIF gets annoyed if he hears someone use a hard "G" when pronouncing the name of his file format triggered our aging memory banks.

Hadn't we heard a while back that GIF creator Steve Wilhite and many other tech types insist it's supposed to be pronounced with a soft "J," like Jif peanut butter?

Read more


Sun May 19, 2013
NPR Story

Remembering The Long Lost Germans Of Texas

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 4:18 pm

More than a century ago, German settlers found a pocket of Texas to call home between Austin and San Antonio. And once the local lingo merged with their own language, it proved to be an interesting dialect. Weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden speaks with University of Texas professor Hans Boas, who has been archiving the last remaining speakers of this unique blend.


Sun May 19, 2013

How Possessive: The Apostrophe's Place In Space

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 12:11 pm



I'm sure if I asked him, Will Shortz would probably acknowledge that the same people who really love words and word play also have a special affinity for punctuation. I would put myself in this camp. I have a lot of respect for a well-placed semicolon. But it's really the ellipsis that captures my punctuation imagination. To be honest, I've never much cared for the apostrophe. Maybe it's just too utilitarian.

Read more


Mon May 13, 2013
Author Interviews

Why You Should Give A $*%! About Words That Offend

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 6:41 am

If you said the "s" word in the ninth century, you probably wouldn't have shocked or offended anyone. Back then, the "s" word was just the everyday word that was used to refer to excrement. That's one of many surprising, foul-mouthed facts Melissa Mohr reveals in her new book, Holy S- - -: A Brief History of Swearing.

Read more