An audio snippet with just two syllables has ignited an internet meltdown, dividing social media users into staunchly opposed camps: do you hear “Yanny” or “Laurel?”
The collective sensory experiment causing a Twitter tizzy mushroomed from a short audio clip originally published by a high school student on Reddit, The New York Times said Wednesday.
Roland Szabo, 18, said he recorded the seemingly innocuous audio from a vocabulary website while doing a project for his school in the US state of Georgia.
What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/jvHhCbMc8I— Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018
He played it for his peers, who disagreed over whether the syllables formed “Yanny” or “Laurel.”
Intrigued, Szabo sent it to a friend who posted the clip on Instagram and created a poll that quickly went viral, triggering a mass debate that has spread internationally.
Input from celebrities has inflamed the frenzy: “It’s Yanny,” horror writer Stephen King said in a deadpan tweet.
“It’s so clearly laurel,” quipped supermodel Chrissy Teigen. “I can’t figure out how one would hear yanny.”
it's so clearly laurel. I can't even figure out how one would hear yanny.— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) May 15, 2018
In perhaps the most vexing element of the debate, the majority of listeners hear beyond doubt one of the two words, with few waffling between the two.
A straw poll carried out among staff in AFP’s Washington bureau counted 17 for Yanny, and 14 for Laurel. Just three were caught in between -- hearing first one, then the other when played again, or a mix of the two sounds.