Monday, Jul 16, 2018
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SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS

Do you hear what I hear? Debate rages about Laurel or Yanny

It’s another argument on social media which could tear apart the fabric of our society.

Do you hear Laurel or Yanny?

The drama started Monday night when YouTube and Instagram “influencer” Chloe Feldman posted the now-famous tweet, asking users whether they hear a voice say Laurel or Yanny in an audio recording.

The audio comes from Reddit, where the original post has over 1,000 upvotes and nearly 800 comments.

As of Wednesday morning, Feldman’s tweet had nearly 43,000 retweets and more than 96,000 likes. The video has been viewed more than 9 million times. Many replies to the tweet and Reddit post deal with the disbelief someone could hear anything different than what they hear.

Apparently, the discrepancy comes from the pitch. At lower pitch, the word Yanny becomes more apparent, while at the high pitch, the word Laurel becomes more pronounced.

Mark Reiter, owner of Level 2 Audio in Perrysburg, admitted he thought the voice was saying “Yerry.” He equates the difference in what people are hearing to mishearing song lyrics, where if the lyrics are difficult to understand, listeners fill in what their minds say it should be.

“I would say the same type of thing is happening here. It’s not a great recording and may not even be a human voice. To me, that makes it easy to get confused, and our minds just fill in the blanks,” Mr. Reiter said via email.

He also wondered if listeners weren’t given a choice of words beforehand if they would hear Yanny, Laurel, or something different entirely ... like Yerry.

“I find this when recording young children that may not have a developed speech pattern, or may not speak with much diction. If I know what they are trying to say before they say it, I automatically hear it,” Mr. Reiter said. “But if I am just listening, with no pre-conceived idea of what they are trying to say, I may not hear anything close to what it’s supposed to be.”

But there’s no way to put that toothpaste back in the tube, so it’s either Yanny or Laurel, Laurel or Yanny. Everyone comes down on one side of the debate or another.

And then there’s other folks who simply want to watch the world burn.

 

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