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Louis Kessler's Behold Blog » Blog Entry           prev Prev   Next next

A Pet Peeve - Say the Words: “GEDCOM” and “GEDmatch” - Mon, 10 Jul 2017

It is very true. The English language is full of inconsistencies. And one of these inconsistences is the pronunciation of the letter “G”.

There is the hard “G”, as in: great, gallop, flying, guppy and goat.

And there is the soft “G”, as in gentle, giraffe, gem or gymnasium.

Hard “G”s usually precede the vowels “a”, “o” and “u”.

Soft “G”s often precede the vowels “e”, “i” and “y”. But because this is English, there are exceptions such as get and give and gynecology.

Okay, then how is the word “gene” pronounced. Any online dictionary will tell you to pronounce gene as [jeen], with the soft “G”.

Dictionaries also tell you to pronounce “genealogy” as [jeeneeoluhjee], with the soft “G”. And I know Australian’s like to be more emphatic as in: [jeeneeAluhjee]

Gene, genea, genus and genealogy all have Greek origins with the soft “G”.

So how then do you pronounce “GEDCOM”?

With a hard G?  as in G(oat)-EDCOM?  Yuck. Eck. Ewww. I’m peeved.

GEDCOM is an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunications. The “GE” stands for “genealogical”, so would you really want to make an exception to the general rule of soft “G”s preceding the letter e for this word? Maybe you do so because you also pronounce the word “genealogical” as g(oat)-enealogical. I have heard it said that way by a few and it sends chills up my spine.

Let’s take a turn at GEDmatch then. Hard “G” or soft “G”?

If you need the opinion of some experts, I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Bill Harten (aka, the father of GEDCOM) and Curtis Rogers, one of the creators of GEDmatch, and both pronounce their words with a soft “G”.

If by now you don’t realize that you’ll have me coughing and sputtering in disgust if you pronounce these gene-based words with a hard “G”, then good gracious you can go and grind out great greasy gobs of garbage all you want.

I say don’t let the goat get you. Please be as gentle as a giraffe with GEDCOM and GEDmatch.


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