If you have gone the past 24 hours without being asked, “what do you hear?” Then, well, I’m jealous.
The latest thing to divide our post-The Dress internet is the audio illusion of Yanny vs. Laurel. Believe it or not, a simple clip of a voice reading a word is tearing the internet apart. But the post, which was originally posted on an Instagram story and then shared to Reddit was eventually inescapable, but it didn’t just come out of nowhere.
According to Redditor RolandCamry, who originally posted the clip on Saturday, the recording comes from vocabulary.com’s page. Look up “laurel,” click the audio button next to the word, and you’ll hear the truth. It’s laurel, folks. Sorry, team yanny.
However, the low quality audio on the original recording tricks some people’s brains into hearing the word yanny, probably due to however it was filmed.
You can listen to how it sounds originally here, and if you’re a yanny-truther out there, I offer up my sincerest apologies.
UPDATE: May 16, 2018, 10:55 a.m. PDT New details of the origin of the clip have emerged from Wired. According to the magazine, Katie Hetzel, a freshman at Flowery Branch High School in Georgia, was studying for her literature class, and looked up the word “laurel” on Vocabulary.com. When she clicked the audio button, she heard the word “yanny” instead.
“I asked my friends in my class and we all heard mixed things,” says Hetzel. She then posted the audio clip to her Instagram story. Soon, a senior at the same school, Fernando Castro, re-published the clip to his Instagram story as a poll. “She recorded it and put it on her story then I remade the video and posted it,” says Castro. “Katie and I have been going back and forth and we both agree that we had equal credit on it.”
Reddit user RolandCamry, a friend of Castro’s, says he then took the video from Castro’s Instagram and posted it to r/blackmagicfuckery. “I originally saw it on an Instagram story,” says RolandCamry. “From there I put it on Reddit.”
While many have assumed the voice was computer generated, the clip was actually recorded in 2007 by an opera singer, according to Marc Tinkler, the CTO and cofounder of Vocabulary.com. Tinkler did not reveal the singers name, but noted that they hired opera singers to record 200,000 words because they had strong pronunciations.