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U of A linguists dissect viral ‘Laurel’ and ‘Yanny’ audio clip
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 4:17PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 16, 2018 6:37PM MDT
One audio clip, two possible names. The internet is divided on what the robotic voice is saying, with some hearing the name “Laurel,” while others hear “Yanny.”
The viral clip first appeared on Reddit Monday, before social media influencer Cloe Feldman posted the question: “What do you hear? Yanny or Laurel.”
What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/jvHhCbMc8I— Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018
Some linguists at the University of Alberta gathered to dissect and try to come to an agreement on what’s being called an audio "illusion."
While some online say they firmly hear one or the other, linguist Terry Nearey said there is no right answer, because it depends on how our brains process the audio frequencies.
“When you have signals that are weak, that are near threshold, then even minor changes like equalization or quality of the headphones could make a difference,” linguist Terry Nearey said.
Ben Tucker said the Reddit post is set up so people are forced to pick one of the two options.
“You can see the Reddit post, and you have Yanny or Laurel, so it kind of biases you to hearing one of the two things,” Tucker explained.
On Wednesday, the Reddit user, whose post has polarized the internet, explained the audio is from Vocabulary.com of "Laurel."
“The video is recorded in real life with sound coming out of my speakers. It is the Vocabulary.com audio,” user RolandCamry said.
As people continue to dispute whether they hear “Laurel” or “Yanny,” Tucker said he is excited that people are talking about sound in general.
“The language that we produce is actually really complex, and I think it’s good for people to think about that and to realize how complex language is.”
With files from Jeremy Thompson