Here is the pronunciation for the French word Giclée
The easy way to learn how to pronounce Giclée is to hear it spoken in a sentence.
In English, it sounds most like: “gee-clay,” some use “zhee-clay.” In Wikipedia, it looks like this: Giclée (/ʒiːˈkleɪ/ zhee-KLAY)
Click on the word to hear another version of how Giclée is pronounced and used in a sentence.
Modern Usage for Giclée
The word was serviceable in the 1990s, at the time of its origin, to refer to computer-generated prints. As its use became more widespread it lost its cachet. When marketers began using it to describe “giclee lampshades” and “giclee duvets,” for example, the art print publishers stopped using it. Today, you hear “digital fine art print” and “digital fine art reproduction” among other variations to describe prints made with ink-jet printing technology.
The Term Still Gets Mangled
Despite increasing awareness, widespread use and ubiquitous display at shows such as ArtExpo New York and ArtExpo Las Vegas (now defunct), there is still confusion about how to pronounce Giclée.
My apologies to French speakers who find my American accent foreign to their ears. It’s nevertheless a far improvement from “gick lee” and “gee-clay” and other abominations that are excruciatingly foreign to just about anybody’s ears except for those who mangle the pronunciation.
More About Giclées
The Wikipedia entry for Giclée:
Giclée (/ʒiːˈkleɪ/ zhee-KLAY) is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. The name originally applied to fine art prints created on a modified Iris printer in a process invented in the late 1980s. It has since been used loosely to mean any fine-art, most of the times archival, inkjet print. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops to suggest high-quality printing but since it is an unregulated word it has no associated warranty of quality.
Much of the terminology for art prints relate to the French language, which is not surprising since the art form evolved in France. For instance, artist’s proofs are known as Épreuve d’Artiste or E.A.; a Pochoir is a print made using a stencil; a Bon à Tirer proof translates to “good to print”; and Hors Commerce meaning “before the sale” are print impressions annotated H.C. which are “not for sale.” While using foreign language terms, especially French ones, adds elegance and hint of romance to the use for many Americans, the terms in their native French are merely serviceable words used to describe various aspects of the fine art printing business accurately.
The early pioneers of digital printing therefore naturally gravitated to the use of a French word to help describe what might otherwise have been called a digital print or computer-generated print or other distinctly non-romantic techie terms. Digital artist and digital art are more commonly accepted as fine art these days. These, however, were not terms one wanted to describe a new fine art printing technique in the early ’90s before Windows 95, AOL, the Mosaic browser and other transforming technologies became commonplace along with the rise of the World Wide Web.
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