Laurel or Yanny? Laurel, the city in Maryland, weighs in on the debate

Audrey Barnes/@LaurelPIO (ABC7)

Laurel or yanny? It is the debate that could ruin your family dinner tonight.

The simple question has a not so simple answer, depending whom you ask. The entire WJLA newsroom is torn, so we decided the residents of Laurel, Maryland must be the experts on this.

It's not often the city of Laurel - with a population of about 25,000 - is trending on Twitter.

“People are going, ‘Are you watching what's going on? They're talking about Laurel,” said Laurel Mayor Craig A. Moe. “I'm like, ‘Laurel, Maryland, right?’ And they're like, ‘Yeah!”

This yanny versus laurel controversy has created a pop cultural divide across the country. And Moe hopes the viral video could result in more visitors to his city.

He encouraged city workers at the Laurel Municipal Center to use a hashtag: #WeOnlyHearLaurel. But even they are split.

“I don't see how you would get ‘yanny’ from ‘laurel.’ That's ‘laurel.’ That says ‘laurel,’” said Darnell Butler.

But his coworker Keston Decoteau said, “No, I hear ‘jammies.’”

One out of four city workers said they heard something like “yeah me” or “yanni.” The majority heard “laurel.”

Mayor Moe said he won't hold it against city employees who don't hear “laurel.”

“We might have to send them to see if they need to have their hearing checked or not,” Moe said, with a laugh.

Meanwhile, at the Laurel Shopping Center, there was even more disagreement.

“I hear ‘yurri,’” one woman told us.

“No, ‘laurel.’ That's what I hear,” said a man.

“When I heard it, I heard ‘yanny,’” said another.

Even families can’t believe what their relatives are hearing. “It sounds like ‘jerry,’” said one woman.

“I definitely hear ‘laurel,’” said her nephew.

Some even disagreed with themselves.

“I listened to it multiple times. And each time, I heard ‘laurel,’” Laurel resident Cleante Gray said. “Although now, I'm hearing ‘yanny’ right now.”

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