In a culture-shattering announcement, inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, claims that final “t” in the word “Internet” was never intended to be pronounced. Regarding the pronunciation, Berners-Lee said, “The first website ever built was made for CERN, which was inside the French border. I thought it appropriate to be kind of ‘French-y’ with it to make it sound fancier. I also remember there being a lot of wine.” With the final consonant dropped, the pronunciation sounds similar to “inter-nay.”
I thought it appropriate to be kind of “French-y” with it.
The announcement comes not long after the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the World Wide Web around the world. Berners-Lee claims it was this recent surge of attention to the early Interne(t) that spurred his announcement via Twitter yesterday. “I kept hearing people talking about it on television, and they were pronouncing it all wrong. It sounded so brittle and American. Oddly enough, I can’t say for sure I’ve heard anyone else say it before. And I can’t believe no one has picked up on my pronunciation of it … I mean, I speak a good deal about the Interne(t).”
It’s not clear what effect this will have on the Interne(t) community. “I, for one, am glad the truth is out there,” says Aaron Shepherd, a Minneapolis-based Ruby developer. “In fact, that’s the way I’ve always said it in my head.” Aside from the basic question of day-to-day pronunciation, there are significant implications for companies that have invested in what is becoming known as the “hard T” pronunciation. SlideShare.net has already declared in an official statement that they will not be converting branding materials to “SlideShare dot nay.” Comcast also holds one of the most popular .ne(t) domains, but their representative did not seem aware that they had any involvement with the Interne(t) when contacted.
“I just care about standards,” said Berners-Lee, “so we should at least get the bloody name right. And don’t get me started on ‘dot com’ versus ‘full stop com.'”
Al Gore attempted to be reached for comment.