Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Yanny vs Laurel - a (sort of) explanation of a cultural phenomenon

I know everyone is talking about it, and I'm way behind the curve as usual, but it IS pretty cool. As an internet phenomenon, it is already on a par with the gold-and-white/blue-and-black dress from a couple of years ago.
Have a listen to the audio clip and see whether you hear "Yanny" or "Laurel". Apparently, it's all to do with how well you hear higher frequencies. I can only hear Laurel (unless I really concentrate), which I think just means that I'm an old codger and I don't hear higher frequencies well. Except ... when I hear it speeded up (i.e. with higher frequencies stressed), all I could hear was Yanny.
A linguist (sort of) explains it all here.

Aarghh! Now HuffPost has ruined it for everyone by revealing that someone has traced the recording to a sound clip of the pronunciation of the word ... "laurel". So, the 50% or so of people hearing "Yanny" are just plain wrong.

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