Are you and your loved (and liked) ones suffering the fallout of the Laurel-Yanny debate yet? If not, then give it time.
Over the past 48 hours, social media has been on fire with its latest debate, a follow up to the “What color is this dress?” debacle that we thankfully left in 2015. This time, it’s a recording of an automated voice, and while some hear the name ‘Laurel,” others think it says “Yanny.”
Amid one of the most competitive NBA playoffs in recent years, the NBA on TNT team found themselves in the middle of the debate. Shaq reveals that he can hear both Yanny and Laurel, while Ernie and Kenny Smith both say they heard Laurel. But leave it to Charles Barkley to hear what no one else has: doughnut.
“I thought I heard doughnut. I’m telling y’all the truth. I swear to you, I thought I heard doughnut. I’m not joking,” Barkley says.
The crew plays it for him again, but alas he still hears doughnut. “Y’all don’t hear doughnut?!” he exclaims, realizing no one knows how he came to that conclusion. It turns out the crew was playing a trick on him so that only he heard the word doughnut in his earpiece.
Well played, TNT. As frequently as Shaq and Chuck play jokes on each other, it wouldn’t be surprising if it was his idea.
According to The New York Times, which contacted an audio expert to get the bottom of the issue, it’s because the words are somewhat similar.
“The acoustic patterns for the utterance are midway between those for the two words. The energy concentrations for Ya are similar to those for La. N is similar to r; I is close to l,” Jody Kreiman, a principal investigator at the voice perception laboratory at UCLA declared.