Surely by now you’ve heard about the Yanny vs. Laurel debate sweeping the internet? It’s the biggest controversy to rock the world wide web since the blue vs. white dress. The current argument centers on an audio clip where some people hear the word “Yanny” while others swear they hear “Laurel.” Information about the dispute is HERE.
The Yanny/Laurel debate, though, is nothing new. As a matter of fact, the controversy has been around since the late 1800s when Emmett Lee Dickinson’s sister Pythagoria named two of her seventeen children Yanny and Laurel. Dickinson noticed that whenever Pythagoria would call for Yanny, Laurel would show up, and whenever she would call for Laurel, Yanny would come.
Dickinson wrote a brief poem about the phenomenon, “Say this Laurel on your own” (below on the left). His poem inspired third cousin Emily to pen her poem “Lay this Laurel on the One” (below on the right).
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
Say this Laurel on your Own
A linguistic Phenomenon –
Yanny – fill your deafless ear –
If you listen, you will Hear!
By Emily Dickinson:
Lay this Laurel on the One
Too intrinsic for Renown –
Laurel – veil your deathless tree –
Him you chasten, that is He!