[Ads-l] gig = 'jig'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Sep 9 11:46:14 EDT 2018


In the other direction, there are a number of hits for “the jig economy”, but a quick glance suggests that most if not all of them are puns (band names, reviews of Riverdance, self-descriptions of woodworkers, etc.).  I vaguely recall being under the misapprehension at one time that the actor Gig Young (whose birth name was Byron Barr before he renamed himself after a character he played in one of his earlier movies) pronounced his name /dZIg/, but I see that that was indeed a misapprehension, since he was /gIg/ all along.  He ended his and his (fifth) wife’s lives in a murder-suicide, at which point the Gig was up.  (Sorry.)


> On Sep 8, 2018, at 9:35 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> "The gig is up!" clearly meaning "The jig is up!" is used by Dr. Clayton
>> Forrester in the 1993 Mystery Science Theater presentation of _Radar Secret
>> Service_.
> 
> Here is an instance in 1919 of "knew the gig was up" with a sense that
> matches "knew the jig was up". I do not know how the author intended
> the word "gig" to be pronounced.
> 
> I found an earlier instance of "gig was up" but the meaning was ambiguous.
> 
> Date: January 9, 1919
> Newspaper: The Holton Recorder
> Newspaper Location: Holton, Kansas
> Article: Notes From a Red Cross Worker in France
> Quote Page 2, Column 4
> Database: Newspapers.com
> 
> [Begin excerpt]
> "How did the Boches feel when they found the Americans line up against
> them?" I asked.
> 
> "Well, when the Boche saw that the Americans were coming over in
> force," they replied, "it simply took the heart out of him. The
> Germans knew the gig was up. And when they saw the American doughboys
> coming over the top, they were simply struck with terror.
> [End excerpt]
> 
> Ben Zimmer remarked in his August 7, 2015 Wall Street Journal article:
> 
> [Begin excerpt]
> Musicians latched onto "gig" as both a noun and a verb as early as
> 1921 to describe the "one-nighters" or other short-term playing
> engagements with which they scraped out a livelihood.
> [End excerpt]
> 
> So the music-engagement sense of "gig" had not yet emerged in 1919.
> 
> Here is a link to the beginning of an ADS mailing list thread about
> the music oriented sense of "gig" with subject "gig, gigging, gigger
> (1921)":
> 
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2015-August/138430.html
> 
> Garson
> 
> 
> 
>> On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 3:29 PM Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 
>>> On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 6:33 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>>> The Clinton campaign announces that with the revelation of T---p's 1995
>>> tax
>>>> return, "The gig is up."
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> In a moderately-similar vein, while browsing around the Web, earlier today,
>>> I came across a page with a title like, "[Some Random Number of] Words That
>>> You Didn't Know You Were Mispronouncing."
>>> 
>>> Among them was the semi-word, _gif_ < "graphics interchange format."
>>> Apparently, its developer, Steve Wilhite, in a fit of pique, has decreed
>>> that _gif_ be pronounced "jif,"
>>> 
>>> Wikipedia:
>>> 
>>> The creators of the format pronounced GIF as "jif" with a soft "G
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G>" /ˈdʒɪf/
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA_for_English> as in "gin". Steve
>>> Wilhite <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Wilhite> says that the
>>> intended pronunciation deliberately echoes the American peanut butter
>>> brand,
>>> Jif <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jif_(peanut_butter)>, and CompuServe
>>> employees would often say "Choosy developers choose GIF," [punning on] this
>>> brand's television commercials.[8]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-olsen-8>
>>> 
>>> An alternative pronunciation with a hard "G" (/ˈɡɪf/
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA_for_English> as in "graphics," for
>>> which it stands) is in widespread usage.[9]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-BBC20130522-9> The *American
>>> Heritage Dictionary
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Heritage_Dictionary>*[10]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-10> cites both, acknowledging
>>> "jif" as the primary pronunciation, while *Cambridge Dictionary of American
>>> English*[11] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-cambridgedict-11
>>>> 
>>> offers
>>> only the hard-"G" pronunciation. *Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merriam-Webster%27s_Collegiate_Dictionary>*
>>> [12] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-12> and the *OED*[13]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-oxforddict-13> cite both
>>> pronunciations, but place "gif" in the default position ("\ˈgif, ˈjif\").
>>> The *New Oxford American Dictionary
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Oxford_American_Dictionary>* gave only
>>> "jif" in its 2nd edition[14]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-14> but updated it to "jif,
>>> gif" in its 3rd edition.[15]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-15>
>>> 
>>> The disagreement over the pronunciation led to heated Internet debate. On
>>> the occasion of receiving a lifetime achievement award at the 2013 Webby
>>> Award <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webby_Award> ceremony, Wilhite
>>> rejected the alternative pronunciation,[9]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-BBC20130522-9>[16]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-16>[17]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-LAT20131204-17> and his
>>> speech
>>> led to 17,000 posts on Twitter <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter> and
>>> 50 news articles.[18] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-18>
>>> The White
>>> House <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House>[9]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-BBC20130522-9> and the TV
>>> program *Jeopardy! <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeopardy!>*[17]
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#cite_note-LAT20131204-17> also waded
>>> into the debate during 2013.
>>> --
>>> -Wilson
>>> -----
>>> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
>>> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>>> -Mark Twain
>>> 
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> --
>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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