2372: Dialect Quiz

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Dialect Quiz
Do you make a distinction between shallots, scallops, and scallions? If you use all three words, do they all have different meanings, all the same, or are two the same and one different?
Title text: Do you make a distinction between shallots, scallops, and scallions? If you use all three words, do they all have different meanings, all the same, or are two the same and one different?

Explanation[edit]

This comic is a parody of online quizzes that offer to compare the user's dialect of American English with others around the country. These quizzes generally contain questions about word usage, names for certain objects, and pronunciations that vary between different regions of the US. There are also quizzes about broader English dialects, but this comic focuses on commonly cited differences between American dialects.

The earliest quiz of this type to be widely disseminated online was the Harvard Dialect Survey, conducted in the early 2000s by Bert Vaux and Scott Golder. The survey created maps of the distribution of various word usage (such as pop/soda/coke for a fizzy softdrink) and was a relatively early example of widely shared Internet "viral" content. In 2013, Josh Katz of the New York Times created a new version based on the Harvard survey, which became the Times' most popular content of 2013 and spread the idea to many more people. Many of the questions in this comic directly derive from entries in those surveys.

Randall's previous two comics have been about election predictions, leading up to the 2020 US General Presidential Election. A prominent predictor of the election results is Nate Silver, who runs the FiveThirtyEight website. @NateSilver538 posted his results of taking the New York Times version of the survey on October 11, 2020... just three days before this comic was posted. 2371: Election Screen Time specifically suggests that Randall may be spending too much time obsessing over new posts and content from the election predictors. It's coincidental, but likely, that Nate Silver's tweet inspired Randall's post: he was reminded of the 2013 feature from the Times.

# Question Answers Explanation
1 How do you address a group of two or more people?
  • A) You
  • B) Y'all
  • C) I have not been around two or more people for so long that I can't remember
Reference to the first question of the Times quiz: "How would you address a group of two or more people?" (with options including "you all", "you guys", "y'all", etc.). Option C may reference the significant decrease in human interaction and social contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alternatively, it may suggest that some xkcd readers are particularly introverted.
2 How do you pronounce "Penelope"?
  • A) Rhymes with "Antelope"
  • B) Rhymes with "Develop"
Both the options for this are wrong, making it the first of many quiz questions to be impossible to answer correctly.

Neither Option A's "PEN-e-lohp" /ˈpɛnɪˌloʊp/ and Option B's "pe-NELL-up" /pɪˈnɛləp/ are a typical pronunciation of this name (beyond mispronunciations). In English, the only correct way to pronounce this name is "pe-NELL-o-pee" /pəˈnɛləpi/, which is not listed.

3 What do you call the scientific field that studies the stars?
  • A) Astrology
  • B) Agronomy
  • C) Cosmetology
The actual answer is astronomy, which is not listed, though several answers are listed that sound similar to fields that study stars. Astrology is the pseudo-scientific "study" of the influence of the stars and planets on our lives, including horoscopes, agronomy is scientific but instead studies agriculture, and cosmetology is the study of cosmetics and makeup (with a name close to cosmology, a branch of astronomy). The last may also be referring to the occasionally makeup-heavy faces of movie and television "stars".
4 How do you pronounce "genre"?
  • A) Gone-ra
  • B) Juh-neer
  • C) Jen-er-uh
Reference to a question found on some quizzes: "How do you pronounce genre? ZHAHN-ruh, or JAHN-ruh?"

A majority of (American) English speakers pronounce "genre" as either "ZHAHN-ruh" /ˈʒɑnrə/ (beginning with the "zh" sound found in "treasure") or "JAHN-ruh" /ˈdʒɑnrə/ (beginning with the "j" sound in "justice"). Neither of these are listed, and none of the quiz's pronunciation options are common. However, they are close to other words: GONE-ra /ˈgɑnrə/ sounds like gonorrhea /ˌgɑnəˈriə/, juh-NEER /dʒəˈnɪər/ is the way the second and third syllables of engineer are are pronounced, and JEN-er-uh /ˈdʒɛnərə/ is a word (genera), the plural of genus.

5 You pronounce "Google" with a high-pitched yelp on the...
  • A) First syllable
  • B) Second syllable
"Google" is not generally pronounced with a high-pitched yelp on either syllable. On the other hand, Yahoo!, a competitor of Google, has advertised its services with a high-pitched yodeling jingle, with the high-pitched yelp on the second syllable (as opposed to Goofy's iconic holler, with the high yelp on the first syllable).
6 What do you call the thing on the wall at school that you drink water from?
  • A) Gutter pipe
  • B) Drainpipe
Reference to a quiz question in the Harvard and Times quizzes, "What do you call the thing from which you might drink water in a school?" Answers included "drinking fountain", "water fountain", and "bubbler". However, the question in this comic implies that school children (or at least the quiz maker) drink out of gutter pipes or drain pipes, which are used to collect rainwater and/or should absolutely not be drunk from.
7 How do you pronounce the name for a short silent video file?
  • A) Animated give
  • B) Animated gift
Reference to the "Gif" pronunciation debate, with people split between pronouncing it "gif" (with the hard-G sound in "graphics") or "jif" (with the soft-G sound in "giraffe"). Both options presented in this quiz use the hard-G sound, but neither option uses the standard pronunciation for the ending of the word, “if”.

Both options refute the “jif” argument that a "g" followed by an "i" can result in a “j” sound, as in "giraffe" or "gin". Most people would agree that "give" and "gift" (and a fish's "gill", "girth", "girl", ...) use the hard G.

The original authors of the standard clarified they intended it to be said as if "jif". Maybe it is entirely appropriate that their product, which lacks any audio stream, was made known to most of its end-users without a sound-guide and left everyone to spontaneously derive their own way of voicing its name.

Also a reference to how some people dislike the use of the word "gift" as a verb, and think that "give" should be used instead.

8 What do you call the baseball-sized garden bugs that, when poked, glow brightly and emit a warbling scream?
  • A) What?
  • B) Lawn buddies
There are many different varieties of common insects with distinctive traits and behaviors, some of which even have multiple names; the (as-of-yet undiscovered) "lawn buddies" combine three of these traits into one peculiar and somewhat frightening creature.

1. The Harvard and Times quizzes actually include the question: "What do you call the small gray bug that curls up into a ball when it’s touched?" (options include "roly-poly," "pill-bug", "potato bug", "doodle bug", etc.).

It is also worth mentioning that "potato bug" itself can refer to three completely different kinds of insect; besides the aforementioned "small gray bug," it can also refer to the Colorado potato beetle or to the Jerusalem cricket. A dialect quiz such as this one might ask the quiz-taker to identify what kind of insect they associate the term with.

2. The Lampyridae family of insects do glow (although not exactly "brightly"). These insects emit their light spontaneously, as a mating signal, though they often do emit light when shaken or presumably poked. These are variously called "fireflies," "glowworms," or "lightning bugs;" a dialect quiz might reasonably ask the quiz-taker's preferred term.

3. Cicadas and cockroaches can be large for insects, though nothing approaching the size of a baseball, and can make very loud noises indeed, although it would be a bit of a stretch to describe any of their associated sounds as a "warbling scream."

9 What do you call the misleading lines painted by disgruntled highway workers to trick cars into driving off the road?
  • A) Prank lines
  • B) Devil's Marks
  • C) Fool-me lines
  • D) Fauxguides
  • E) Delaware lines
Reference to the fact that some quiz questions ask about road features, such as "verge/berm/parking strip/curb strip" and "roundabout/traffic circle/rotary". However, these particular road lines, if they have ever been made, aren't common enough to warrant different names. The Delaware Line was a formation within the Continental Army. Devil's Marks may be a takeoff of Devil's Strip.

Misleading lines on the road were also mentioned in 1958: Self-Driving Issues.

10 What do you call the blue-green planet in the outer Solar System?
  • A) Uranus
  • B) Neptune
This question references the fact that Uranus and Neptune are quite similar in appearance, as well as the two common pronunciations of Uranus: "YURR-ə-nəss" and "yoo-RAY-nəss" (which sounds like the phrase "your anus", a favorite joke of little kids). The original pronunciation is "oo-ra-noos", both u's pronounced the same way, but this is not a common pronunciation among the general public. It also references the fact that Uranus and Neptune are both blue-ish colored planets in the outer solar system and are often confused by people who don't know much about them. Uranus is closer to being the correct answer - it could plausibly be described as cyan, a color intermediate between blue and green - while Neptune is a deep, unambiguous blue.
11 What do you call this tool?

CloveHammer.png
(image of a claw hammer)

  • A) Banger
  • B) Nail axe
  • C) Wood mage wand
  • D) I'm familiar with this tool but have no specific word for it
  • E) I have never seen it before
The only name most people would ever call this tool is a "hammer".

The last two options reference options in many quiz questions along the lines of "I'm familiar with this but have no specific word for it" and "I am not familiar with this" (such as on the pill-bug/roly-poly question on the real quiz). These may appear as options to questions that ask about something that might not exist everywhere, or something which many may not have a word for (for example, some areas of the United States have a name for "sunshowers," while most don't). However, it's a bit absurd for these options to be present for this question (and this question alone), as virtually all users in an English dialect test would be expected to know what a hammer is. This also serves as a bit of reverse perspective on the saying, "When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

12 What do you call a long sandwich with meats and lettuce and stuff?
  • A) A long sandwich with meats and lettuce and stuff
  • B) A longwich
  • C) A salad hot dog
Reference to a common dialect quiz question: "What do you call a long sandwich?" with options typically including "sub", "hoagie", "hero", etc.

The hot dog answer could refer to the common online discussion: "Is a hot dog a sandwich?"

13 What do you call the scaly many-legged animal often found in attics?
  • A) Lightbulb eater
  • B) I have no special name for them
  • C) I've never looked in my attic
Another reference to the frequent appearance of quiz questions asking what users call various creepy crawlies.

Millipedes best fit the description. They have many legs, though rarely if ever a thousand of them, as their name (from the Latin word for "thousand feet") suggests. The hard rings that separate an individual's body into segments give the animal a scaly appearance. And of the thousands of species, only a few have common names, hence "no special name for them". The reference to "lightbulb eater" is obscure, but may refer to the tendency of millipedes to congregate in large numbers in dark crevices, or perhaps Randall is simply conjuring more frightening creatures. Perhaps Randall found some in empty (no bulb) light fixtures in his attic.

Or maybe it is just the sort of spooky monster that lives in the dark and makes you afraid to check the attic (or basement).

Normally, questions about uncommon things would include an "I've never seen one" option, like option E in the hammer question. Instead, this question has "I've never looked in my attic" as an option, implying that these creatures are present in all attics, and anyone who doesn't know them is either unaware of the monster dwelling in their own attic or too afraid to go look.

14 What do you say when someone around you sneezes?
  • A) "What was that?"
  • B) "Oh, wow."
  • C) [Quietly] "Yikes."
Reference to a question on some quizzes about which of several words/phrases you say in response to a sneeze, with usual answers including "bless you", "God bless you", and "Gesundheit" (from the German word for 'health').

This question may also be referencing the COVID-19 pandemic in answer C (and possibly answer B). Sneezing isn't a primary symptom of COVID-19, but most people are hyper-aware of possibly contracting the disease from the people around them so sneezes are treated with suspicion and it's seen as rude to sneeze openly.

It is also possible that a person who has been able to catch a sneeze-producing condition has also caught COVID-19 and, while the sneeze itself isn't caused by it, the air and various airway fluids so forcefully projected are a possible infective vector with that little extra frisson of concern, given the current situation.

Title Text Do you make a distinction between shallots, scallops, and scallions? If you use all three words, do they all have different meanings, all the same, or are two the same and one different? Phrased similarly to questions like one on the Times quiz, "How do you pronounce the words Mary, merry, and marry?" Options included "all three are pronounced the same", "all three are pronounced differently," or all three combinations of two being the same and one different. Also refers to the naming confusion around scallions and shallots - also known as 'eschalots' - but with the unrelated but similar-sounding scallops substituted in the middle.

'Shallots', 'scallions' and 'eschalots' are names used in different dialects, for various species and cultivars of onion used in cooking, either as a small bulb (especially Allium cepa var. Aggregatum) or as a long green leaf (especially Allium fistulosum). In many dialects, the green leaf type is called a 'scallion' and the bulb a 'shallot'. In at least one dialect (NSW Australia) the green leaf type is called a 'shallot' and the bulb an 'eschalot'. This causes confusion in recipes posted online. The word 'shallot' is also pronounced with emphasis on either the first or second syllable, as referred to in question 5. Despite the answer options offered, there is no evidence of dialects which use all three terms, or where 'shallot' and 'scallion' are interchangeable. Many people call scallions "green onions", as was joked about in Stan Frieberg's Christmas Dragnet parody.

Scallops are invertebrate marine animals similar to oysters and clams, frequently harvested for food. In some regions of the UK and Australia potato fritters are also called 'scallops'. The word 'scallop' itself can be pronounced either as /ˈskɒləp/ or /ˈskæləp/, and its spelling has varied over time in a similar way to that of 'shallot'. However, these are difficult to confuse with shallots or scallions.

Transcript[edit]

[Box with title at the top]

Dialect Quiz

[Smaller subtitle underneath]

Compare answers with your friends!

[Quiz is divided into two columns. Answers to questions are indicated by a letter followed by a closed parentheses, such as A). These letters are greyed out]

[Column 1:]
How do you address a group of two or more people?

A) You
B) Y'all
C) I have not been around two or more people for so long that I can't remember

How do you pronounce "Penelope"?

A) Rhymes with "Antelope"
B) Rhymes with "Develop"

What do you call the scientific field that studies the stars?

A) Astrology
B) Agronomy
C) Cosmetology

How do you pronounce "genre"?

A) Gone-ra
B) Juh-neer
C) Jen-er-uh

You pronounce "Google" with a high-pitched yelp on the...

A) First syllable
B) Second syllable

What do you call the thing on the wall at school that you drink water from?

A) Gutter pipe
B) Drainpipe

How do you pronounce the name for a short silent video file?

A) Animated give
B) Animated gift

What do you call the baseball-sized garden bugs that, when poked, glow brightly and emit a warbling scream?

A) What?
B) Lawn buddies

[Column 2:]
What do you call the misleading lines painted by disgruntled highway workers to trick cars into driving off the road?

A) Prank lines
B) Devil's Marks
C) Fool-me lines
D) Fauxguides
E) Delaware lines

What do you call the blue-green planet in the outer Solar System?

A) Uranus
B) Neptune

What do you call this tool?
[Image of a claw hammer]

A) Banger
B) Nail axe
C) Wood mage wand
D) I'm familiar with this tool but have no specific word for it
E) I have never seen it before

What do you call a long sandwich with meats and lettuce and stuff?

A) A long sandwich with meats and lettuce and stuff
B) A longwich
C) A salad hot dog

What do you call the scaly many-legged animal often found in attics?

A) Lightbulb eater
B) I have no special name for them
C) I've never looked in my attic

What do you say when someone around you sneezes?

A) "What was that?"
B) "Oh, wow."
C) [Quietly] "Yikes."

Trivia[edit]

  • The xkcd Twitter account posted a series of Twitter polls asking the questions in this comic.
    • How do you address a group of two or more people?
      • You (31.2%)
      • Y'all (33.5%)
      • Can’t remember anymore (35.3%)
    • How do you pronounce “Penelope”?
      • Rhymes with “antelope” (58.6%)
      • Rhymes with “develop” (41.4%)
    • What do you call the scientific field that studies the stars?
      • Astrology (34.5%)
      • Agronomy (18.5%)
      • Cosmetology (47%)
    • How do you pronounce "genre"?
      • Gone-ra (24.7%)
      • Juh-neer (18.8%)
      • Jen-er-uh (56.5%)
    • Do you pronounce "Google" with a high-pitched yelp on the...
      • First syllable (63.6%)
      • Second syllable (36.4%)
    • What do you call the thing on the wall at school that you drink water from?
      • Gutter pipe (32.9%)
      • Drainpipe (67.1%)
    • How do you pronounce the name for a short silent video file?
      • Animated give (29.6%)
      • Animated gift (70.4%)
    • What do you call the baseball-sized garden bugs that, when poked, glow brightly and emit a warbling scream?
      • What? (48.6%)
      • Lawn buddies (51.4%)
    • What do you call the misleading lines painted by disgruntled highway workers to trick cars into driving off the road?
      • Prank/fool-me lines (14.8%)
      • Devil's marks (22%)
      • Fauxguides (22.5%)
      • Delaware lines (40.6%)
    • What do you call the blue-green planet in the outer solar system?
      • Uranus (51.7%)
      • Neptune (48.3%)
    • What do you call this tool? 🔨
      • Banger (29.7%)
      • Nail axe (22%)
      • Wood mage wand (29.1%)
      • Don't know/not familiar (19.2%)
    • What do you call a long sandwich with meats and lettuce and stuff?
      • That description verbatim (43.1%)
      • A longwich (33.2%)
      • A salad hot dog (23.7%)
    • What do you call the scaly many-legged animal often found in attics?
      • Lightbulb eater (29.5%)
      • Don't have a name for it (19%)
      • Never looked in my attic (51.5%)
    • What do you say when someone around you sneezes?
      • "What was that?" (8.6%)
      • "Oh, wow." (17.1%)
      • [quietly] "Yikes." (74.3%)
  • Shallots, scallops, and scallions ran against each other in 1529: Bracket


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Discussion

Fun fact: shallots, scallops, and scallions ran against each other in 1529: Bracket. (This will probably end up in the Trivia tab when one is created.) 172.69.10.135 20:50, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

Apparently "scallops" is used in the UK for 'potato fritters', but in my youth in family camping trips the term was used for (fried) potato slices - like 'chips' (UK type) in thickness, but cut only in one dimension, not two. Often in the same pan, at the same time, as the sausages for the first night's meal, so with the distinct taste of lard and sausage-fat. I assume there's other names for this (greasy, possibly slightly charred/sausage-char-coated in places) delicacy. Similar slices (from boiled tatties, which might have been the preprepared state of the slices fried as above) were also ate un(re)heated in a salad/generic packed-lunch context. 162.158.158.247 18:23, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
My (US) experience is the phrase "scalloped potatoes" These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 23:27, 17 October 2020 (UTC)

Cosmetology both sounds like "Cosmology" but it's also the fancy word for people who study cosmetics. --172.68.174.92 21:22, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

Aren't stars the people we took cosmetics advice from before there were influencers? Or are they the same thing? Robert Carnegie [email protected] 162.158.155.102 00:55, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

I mean the water fountains might as well be gutter pipes 21:49, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

@kswoll: Pretty sure this is a direct parody of the NYTimes quiz here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/dialect-quiz-map.html

The Google pronunciation question might be a reference to a reference to a scene from the second-to-last episode of Halt and Catch Fire. 162.158.79.165 23:35, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

My guess is it is a reference to Yahoo another search engine that had commercials with high pitched yelp and some might put emphasis on either the "Ya" or the "hoo"

While I agree that most people know what a hammer is, this is not hammer - or rather, may not be considered "standard" hammer. Personally I would call it "Hammer with that thing for pulling nails out", but I could be easily convinced that it has some other name which doesn't include the word "hammer", instead of (presumably correct) claw hammer. -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:55, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

My feeling is that claw hammers are the type of hammer that most people are familiar with, and would consider the archetype of hammer. If you go to hammer the first picture is a claw hammer. Barmar
Objection, your honor! In German, this would be called a "Zimmermannshammer" (carpenter's hammer, which IS a claw hammer). But the Plato hammer has a simple wedge on the other side. Maybe a German almost never has the need to pull out nails again, /schweinhund/! :-) 162.158.158.103 08:08, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

(talk) 06:02, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Well, this quiz is about English dialects, so German words aren't very relevant, and that term includes "hammer" as part of it anyway, as with most terms an English speaker would call this type of hammer, as people would indeed recognize it as a type of hammer and understand anyone referring to it as just "hammer" even if they might have a more specific name for the variety of hammer it is. People would not normally use the terms listed here for it.--162.158.74.109 08:49, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I was thinking it was a claw hammer, also. I do have a friend that pronounces the word jen-er-uh, even though I have specifically said the word correctly around him after he has used it. SDSpivey (talk) 00:40, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
"genera" is a word. I typed it into Google, marvelled at the incomprehensible phonetic version, and tapped a speaker button. My computer said "Genera" and a box popped up that reads "Learn to pronounce", which I consider to be rude. But after all, I pressed the button. Robert Carnegie [email protected] 162.158.158.225 00:51, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
Russian probe sent to Venus? And I'm so confident about that, that I shall not even check before posting. (No idea how it's said in Russian, but the Anglophone versios doesn't differ between anglophonic countries as much as "Moscow" does.) 162.158.155.72 01:34, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, yeah, so I now know I merged two different Russian space-thingies. 162.158.159.140 01:40, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Ok, who’s the joker that put “Citation needed” at the end of “ "Google" is not generally pronounced with a high-pitched yelp on either syllable.[citation needed]”

I was about to do the same myself (i.e., put "Citation needed" about pronunciation of 'Google') until I read the note about Yahoo. But isn't 'Citation needed' used as a bit of a running joke in Explain xkcd, placed after bold claims that nobody would actually challenge because they're obviously correct?[citation needed]162.158.166.43 02:10, 17 October 2020 (UTC)

"Many-legged scaly creature" makes me think of silverfish, centipedes or millipedes, though they have exoskeletons rather than scales, and certainly don't eat light bulbs. It seems to me that a segmented exoskeleton is reminiscent of scales, though. 162.158.154.167 07:37, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Question 8 sounds like a hybrid, to me, with another part coming from a glow worm / firefly question. 141.101.68.12 10:19, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
I don't think he had an specific real animal in mind there, as though people are saying segments can resemble scales, they aren't really the same thing, and nothing with many legs is truly "scaly", and the things people are coming up with, though it's possible they could be in an attic, they don't primarily live just in those to the point that is one of the characteristics people would describe them with (any such thing can be found elsewhere as well, and probably seen more often outside of attics as many people don't enter attics often.)--162.158.75.160 09:11, 17 October 2020 (UTC)

13 seems to be referring to these to me. 173.245.52.169 12:30, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Please feel free to edit/condense my rambly explanation of shallots/scallions. Debating removing the second and third detailed paragraphs entirely. I'm from NSW and have seen confusion on recipes posted online so not exactly impartial. 103.22.201.134 16:40, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

I'm half remembering in the original Thunderbirds series, an old NASA colleague of Geoff Tracey who 'poses' as an generic ¿Deep South? country-bumpkin/local-yokel (grown up in the area, though obviously smart enough to get into NASA and then later 'retire' to become a trusted International Rescue local agent... or so I may extrapolate) calling Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, with whom he was clearly familiar, "Penn elope" (to "rhyme with antelope"). I shall have to dig up my complete VHS tapes to confirm... and probably spend a couple of days just watching them all, for old times' sake ...but clearly the script called for an uneducated (mis)pronunciation of her name - maybe feigned as part of his act/through habit. So if it aint an actual misconception/affectation by someone, that the scriptwriters (or voice-actor) used, then it needs far more explanation. 162.158.155.72 02:43, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

When I was very very young, I did believe that Penelope rhymed with antelope. But The Perilous Perils of Penelope Pitstop soon put paid to that. --141.101.98.52 10:27, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

Re: "genre" - what about the Alex Trebek pronunciation? QoopyQoopy (talk) 03:52, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

Anecdotal, I know, but I've never heard someone pronounce "genre" the same way they pronounce "Alex Trebek".

Also it was only a few months ago I figured out that Scallions weren't Scallops, so they can indeed easily be confused (in discussion, not when actually present, hopefully!) PotatoGod (talk) 06:56, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

In Question 9, "Devil's Marks" may also be a reference to the question about rain on a sunny day in the Harvard study and NYT quiz. One of the answers is "The Devil is beating his wife" Thaledison (talk) 17:58, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

In slightly expanding the "animated video file" entry I left out the following (related, but possibly slightly too unrelated) information. In Louis Carol's Jabberwocky, the phrase "Gyre and Gymble" (in its initial version, with "y"s in there where all "i"s would later be, but also "ye" for "the", or rather the y-like character it would take too long to conveniently copy into here) was undoubtedly doubly a hard-G. "Gimbling" was apparently derived from the action of punching holes for "gimlets" (possibly a feeding behaviour, the slithy toves (slimy+lithe creatures that are part badger, part lizard and part corkscrew) presumably poking their noses into the ground). "Gyring" is spinning like a "gyroscope" (to further send their helical snouts deeper). Both are authoritatively intended to be hard-Gs as even "gyroscope" was, at that time, so mouthed. Though I've heard many a "jire and gimble" in modern recitation (the reader missing the likely opportunity for aliteration), as well as the double-hard-G approaches. Interestingly also the occasional "jire and jimble" version, presumably the reader doubling-down on their soft-G choice for the former and respecting the repetition intuitively intended. Me, I'm probably inclined to doubling the hard version, but it's been so long since ever I had to recite it that I can't even remember what I might have initially cold-read it as. ;)

Additionally additionally, the product "Jif" (bathroom cleaning cream) which was supposed to be the homophonic inspiration for the "gif" file's soft-G, was changed (in the UK market) maybe two decades ago to "Cif" - apparently to match the mainland Europe marketing name ("J" varies from soft-G to a 'hard-Y' over there, possibly even to other sounds). But there was much derision at the time by those who pointed out the new issue of whether it was a hard-C ("kif") or soft-C ("sif"), whatever the TV ads announcing the change said (soft!). ((Not sure when exactly that happened, especially in relation to the Opal Fruits->Starburst and Marathon->Snickers renamings, etc, but I think there was also eye-rolling at the changing of a long-recognised major (localised) brand-name for perhaps rather crass 'business' reasons.)) 141.101.98.154 19:44, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

Mad props to Randall for running the survey questions on @xkcd twitter. 172.68.141.14 23:24, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

In my childhood dialect, "give" is very weakly voiced and the hard-G gif pronunciation is very similar. I now voice it much more strongly, but that question took me back to growing up in Merseyside, England. Po8crg (talk) 13:03, 17 October 2020 (UTC)