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photo Tara Benwell Listen to News with Tara Benwell - Instructions:
1. Preview the vocabulary and read the gapfill text.
2. Play the news report and try to fill in the blanks.
3. Answer the comprehension questions by writing full sentences.
4. Use the discussion question to write an essay or discuss the story with other students.
5. Click "show Answers" to see the full text.
6. Pretend to be a news anchor by reading each story out loud.

dateline: 16 May 2018

Internet Divided Over “Yanny” and “Laurel”

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • raging debate: a very active/heated discussion or disagreement
  • laurel: a type of tree, sometimes a wreath worn on the head
  • comprehend: to understand
  • high frequency: a high-pitched radio wave
  • camp: group
  • reminiscent: causing one to think of something from the past
  • go viral: to become popular quickly

Internet Divided Over “Yanny” and “Laurel”

People all over the are engaged in a raging debate over a recording from Vocabulary.com that sounds very different to different people. Some people hear the recorded word “laurel,” while others hear the word “yanny.” For those who clearly hear one or the other, it is difficult to comprehend that others could hear something completely different. Some scientists that those in the “yanny” hear higher frequencies than those in the “laurel” camp. This debate is reminiscent of a similar one that went viral a while back when people all over the world looked at the same picture of a dress and about whether it was blue and black or white and gold.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Where is the original recording from?
  2. Why do some people probably hear “yanny”?
  3. Why does the report mention a dress?

Discussion Questions

Which word do you hear? Now listen to the same recording using another device or source (e.g., BBC News). Do you hear the same word? What colour is this dress?

show Answers

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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