Update: The Laurel vs. Yanny case may officially be cracked thanks to an investigation by The New York Times. The publication tracked down the original poster of the audio clip, a high school student named Roland Szabo, who first shared the baffling question on Reddit. Apparently, the real word is "Laurel" — sorry, team Yanny (myself included). Szabo was reportedly working on a project and recorded the pronunciation of "Laurel" on a vocabulary site. He said that people disagreed about what they were hearing, then the debate started, and . . . here we are. The Times spoke to several linguistics experts, one of whom explained, "It depends on what part (what frequency range) of the signal you attend to," which is why people hear distinctively different words.
Original story: Remember the dress color debate? An equally divisive debate is here, and its name is Yanny . . . or is it Laurel? Here's the deal: an audio clip of a robot has made its rounds on the internet and people are losing their damn minds based on whether they hear "Yanny" or "Laurel." Some people swear they hear nothing but Laurel, while others can't fathom hearing anything but Yanny. And some hear Yanny at first and then Laurel, and then they can never go back to Yanny — talk about a quick way to divide you and all your coworkers! I'm sorry in advance for all the fights you're about to have.
Even my fellow POPSUGAR editors and I can't find common ground, and it's tearing us apart. Here's a little snapshot of how our conversation went upon listening for the first time:
- "Laurel till the day I die. TAT IT ON MY FACE."
- "I did hear Yanny for a hot sec though when I took one headphone out."
- "Does anyone in here hear Yanny somehow??"
- "Oh no . . . I hear Yanny . . . packing up my desk — goodbye."
- "Omg, that blows my mind how people can hear such diff things."
- "Guys, who is hearing Laurel? We all hear Yanny. You're punking us."
- "WHAT DA FERQQQQ."
The way you hear it apparently has to do with the frequencies: if you're listening for the higher tones, Yanny is clear, but once you hear the lower tones, you're team Laurel for life. Are you tired of reading the words "Yanny" and "Laurel" yet?!? I invite you to be tempted to pull out your hair as you listen closely and see how people are reacting to the greatest debate of 2018.