Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Yanny or Laurel: It Sounds a Lot Like the Dress

Yanny or Laurel: It Sounds a Lot Like the Dress

And, in the words of Houston Texan JJ Watt, "Yanny vs. Laurel is starting some real fights", as social media users continue to debate which name they heard.

We were discussing this in the KHQ Newsroom too and it seems like everyone is split.

So what exactly is going on?

Story analyzed the acoustic features of the words
View Slideshow Story analyzed the acoustic features of the words"Yanny and"Laurel. Brad Story

People hear different sounds in different pitches, which is why the internet can not decide which word the recording is saying.

It appears Feldman picked up on the post, tweeted it, and it went viral. "They're like eight-year-old treehouse buddies with those cans on strings, gossiping about which girls they secretly paid off, or whether it's Yanny or Laurel", Noah said. Buzzfeed did some digging and was able to find out from the original poster that the clip is saying the word Laurel, not Yanny. Some people speculated the age of the listener might determine what people heard, while others changed the pitch to alter results.

Dr. Nicole Rosen, an associate linguistics professor at the University of Manitoba, said she hears Laurel, but it depends mainly on the frequency people are hearing it.

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But this time, the question is - what do you hear?

How can people hear one sound in two different ways? Listening in a foreign language, even if you are a fluent speaker, is challenging because your brain uses predictions based on both languages, but is unduly influenced by your experiences with your native language. Yanny or Laurel, not some blend.

"I'd like to declare something that is just so obvious, it is Laurel and not Yanny", he said.

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"But in this case we have an isolated sound with no context", forcing people to rely on a variety of other factors such as voices they've listened to recently.

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