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Yanny or Laurel? The internet is fighting over this robot’s mysterious word


The internet has brought us the next thing to fight over, and it doesn’t involve debating the color of a dress

Instead, people on Twitter and Reddit are arguing over whether an audio recording is saying “Yanny” or “Laurel.”

Update, May 15, 7:00 p.m. PT: Here’s what science has to say about this phenomenon.

A user on Reddit shared the clip a few days ago, and people on the internet have been arguing over what they hear. 

Apparently, playing with the bass levels can help you hear both pronunciations. But even after listening to this, all I’m able to hear is “Yanny.” 

Editor’s note: Abrar is 100 percent wrong. It’s totally “Laurel.”

A YouTube video also plays with pitches to try to understand how people are hearing different things. (I was finally able to hear “Laurel” here.)

Here’s another that lets you hear both:

Cloe Feldman, the woman who posted the viral Yanny vs. Laurel tweet, said in a YouTube video that she doesn’t know who the creator of the clip is. But according to Wired (paywall), the origin traces back to — of all things — an opera singer hired by Vocabulary.com.  

People are fairly split over what the audio is saying, but team Laurel is in the lead, according to social media analytics firm Talkwalker. In fact, 53.9 percent of people hear Laurel, while 46.1 percent hear Yanny. And it’s clearly been quite a hot topic, given there have been 746,500 mentions of Yanny vs. Laurel measured over the last 24 hours, the firm said.

Regardless of what the numbers say, it’s inevitable that this’ll continue to lead to plenty of heated debates. Let the yelling matches begin. Vote in the poll below and let us know what you hear!

First published May 15, 4:00 p.m. PT
Update, May 16 at 12:21 p.m.: Adds data on who hears Laurel vs Yanny, and information on the clip’s origin. 



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