Laurel Yanni? We find out what the problem is with the recording, which the whole Internet is talking about

This story, like most of everything that happens on the Internet, began with a post on Reddit: Ronald Zabo, a student from Lawrenceville, Georgia, published an audio recording from, an English dictionary site. People who heard this recording could not agree on what word the voice pronounced: “laurel” (English laurel - “wreath”) or “Yanni” (proper name, the most famous carrier - Greek musician Yanni Chrisomallis). According to other information, the voice from the dictionary site pronouncing this word was recorded not by Zabo, but by other guys, but this is no longer important; On May 15, the record appeared on Twitter Chloe Feldman, and she has more than 200 thousand subscribers, and away we go; in less than a day, the voice saying “Laurel / Yanni” became known to the whole world, hundreds of media and dozens of celebrities wrote about it, including Stephen King (he hears “Yanni”). But the Google translator claims that on the record - "Laurel."

What do you hear ?! Yanny or Laurel

- Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018

Jodi Kraiman, head of the University of California Los Angeles Sound Perception Laboratory, explains: “Acoustic patterns are very similar in both words. The energy of the wave carrying the combination of sounds “I” is very close to the energy of the wave, which we hear as “la”; “N” in this sense is similar to “p, ” and “and” to “l.” Linguist Patricia Keating adds: “It all depends on which frequency you perceive better, but I have no idea why some people hear better higher frequencies and others lower. Perhaps it’s about age - or the sum of the minutes these people spent chatting on the phone. ” With age, a person loses sensitivity to the sound waves of certain frequencies; The difference between people under the age of 25 and those over thirty is especially noticeable, Keating notes. Physiologist Elliot Freeman from City of London University explains that the brain can tune to different frequency ranges “like a radio.” “What a particular person hears depends on the playback device — say, on whether you turned on the recording from the smartphone speaker or listen on the headphones — and on the individual characteristics that determine sensitivity to different frequencies, ” the scientist says.

Those who hear the word “Laurel” can try to make the sound quieter and set the bass to a minimum - then there is a chance to hear “Yanni”, but this does not work for everyone. But for almost everyone, the tool developed by The New York Times works. We strongly recommend playing with him, it is incredibly interesting. Moving the slider along the scale, you will hear both “Laurel” and “Yanni” (the center of the scale is the original recording). And if you try to find the border to which you hear “Laurel, ” and then “Yanni, ” then you won’t succeed: the border always moves back and forth on the scale, depending on which word you heard last. This is probably due to the fact that in just one or two listenings the brain “tunes” to the desired frequencies.


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