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Yanny vs. Laurel has reached China and now it's more confusing than ever

CNET logo CNET 2018-05-17 Zoey Chong

a group of people standing next to a person © Provided by CNET Still can't decide? More suggestions are coming through from China.

Most people in China don't speak English, but that doesn't mean Chinese internet users can't weigh in on the Yanny vs. Laurel war that's eaten the internet.

On China's Twitter equivalent Weibo, internet users are scratching their heads over what's really being said in a clip known to some as the audio version of The Dress.

As many as 74 percent of internet users have pledged allegiance to Team Yanny, according to a poll online.

But besides "Yanny" and "Laurel," Chinese ears are hearing other terms such as "yaurel" and "yanrel."

Many added they hear more Chinese-sounding terms such as "ye ah yi" (Auntie Yeh), although variations such as "ye wei," "lie ah yi" (Auntie Lie), "yan yang yi" (oxygen-hating auntie), "yan rou" (marinated meat) and "yan lei" (tears) have also appeared.

a screenshot of a cell phone: yanny-laurel-sg-1 © Provided by CNET yanny-laurel-sg-1

Screengrab by Zoey Chong/CNET

Someone else suggested "ye li" -- roughly translated as "in the night" -- and wondered: "I keep hearing ye li, when is it going to be day?"

yanny-laurel-sg-3 © Provided by CNET yanny-laurel-sg-3

Screengrab by Zoey Chong/CNET

This phenomenon could have arisen because not many Chinese people are well-versed in English. Fewer than one in 100 people speak the language, according to The Telegraph. So they may not have been primed to hear either Yanny or Laurel like English-speakers are.

Another commenter also heard "luo rou" (escargot) and "ya mi" (charades) -- more the former -- and explained: "If you imagine it to sound thicker, you'll hear luo rou. If you imagine it to sound more muted and whiney, it's ya mi."

a screenshot of a cell phone: yanny-laurel-sg-2 © Provided by CNET yanny-laurel-sg-2

Screengrab by Zoey Chong/CNET

Others took the trouble to search and listen to how "laurel" is pronounced in Chinese dictionary You Dao. They claimed that while the British pronunciation (typically sounding deeper) sounded like "laurel," the American pronunciation (typically higher-pitched) was more iffy, with some hearing "yanny."

a screenshot of a cell phone: yanny-laurel-sg-4 © Provided by CNET yanny-laurel-sg-4

Screengrab by Zoey Chong/CNET

Suggestions are still coming in on Weibo but they're one day too late. The verdict's out: It's "laurel."

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