We need a name for the new replicator, a noun which conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmisision, or a unit of imitation. 'Mimeme' comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like 'gene.' I hope my classcist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as being related to 'memory,' or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with 'cream.'
Although an interesting diversion, the roots of a word and its original pronunciation are completely irrelevant to common usage. Words have lives of their own. The creators of a word have little control over pronunciation beyond their original act of creation. Words are meant only for communication. The salient question is on "Do you understand my meaning when I say 'GIF'?" If the answer is "Yes." Then the dispute over "proper" pronunciation is absolutely absurd. Very, very, few people pronounce GIF with a soft g. Those who do are understood as well as those who don't. Where is the problem with that...
Clay (with a "c" as in "cat")
... English words beginning in "gi-" "ge-" or "gy-" that are not of Romance origin (French, Italian, etc.) are *all* pronounced with a velar (hard) "g." It is probably due to a misunderstanding of this principle that led the inventor of the GIF to pronounce it with an affricate (soft) "g" in the first place. This is why a native speaker of English would intuitively pronounce a word spelled "GIF" with a velar (hard) "g" without knowing otherwise. This is more consistent with all English-speakers' natural, internal morphophonology, and that is why the velar pronunciation is so widespread.
Nonetheless, spelling is often irrelevant to pronunciation in English: with words like "tough," through," "gift," "gypsy," "egg," "gem," and "massage," no one need waste any effort creating logic about how the letter "g" "ought" to be pronounced in English words: there simply is no logic. One must go by usage.
English is full of words whose pronunciation deviates from prescribed standards--precisely because usage, and not prescriptive rules, dictates what is "correct." No amount of arguing from pundits and word-coiners can ever change this!
I suspect from informally surveys that the velar pronunciation in "GIF" is actually more common than the affricate ("soft") pronunciation--a point of view validated by the very existance of your Web site--and as such the velar variant is at least a "correct" alternative if not the more common and thus "more correct" form entirely.
Buy a Shirt