Abby Hears “Yanny” Michael and Gazelle Hear “Laurel”
Remember the great Blue Dress/Gold Dress controversy of 2015 that nearly tore the nation apart? There's a new one that is breaking the internet today, but it is in the form of audio. The Yanny/Laurel debate will be remembered forever. Which do you hear?
The internet is melting over the past 24 hours over this debate Listen to the audio below. Abby hears "Yanni"...or "Yammi". Michael and Gazelle are hearing "Laurel". How in the world could two words that are so entirely different be heard from the same recording? Take a listen and tell us what you hear.
There is an extremely scientific and detailed explanation for all of this outlined in an article in The Atlantic.
First of all, the clip is, according to Sanker “not prototypical” of either laurel or yanny. It’s somewhere in the middle. Sanker said the l/y discrepancy might come from the fact that the sound there isn’t velarized—the speaker’s tongue isn’t touching the back of their soft palate (the velum), as many American English speakers do when they say an l. The middle consonant is definitely not an n, Sanker said, but you might hear one because the vowel in front of it sounds particularly nasal. People who hear laurel are hearing a syllabic l in the second syllable, which has some similarities to the vowel sound at the end of yanny. Both are sonorants—you could go on singing them until you run out of air, as opposed to an obstruent like p or t." --Rachel Gutman, The Atlantic
Ummmm. Your guess is as good as mine as to what this means in plain English. The bottom line is that there doesn't appear to be one "right" or "wrong" answer. People are hearing both "Yanny" and "Laurel"...and they are both right.
Additional Reporting By Abigail Pelissier