In the beginning, the laurel-or-yanny clip said laurel and nothing but laurel. Here is the original version of the clip, recorded by an opera singer working for Vocabulary.com. Chances are, you'll hear it as laurel too. Let's compare it to the viral clip and we'll see exactly what changed, and why half of us hear the viral clip as yanny.
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We all listened to Oprah's acceptance speech for the Cecil B. de Mille Award? Yes? Good. Did you notice how even though she's Oprah, and could probably make us cry by reading a takeaway menu backward, she put a ton of work into her speech? And how through that work, she took a celebration of her accomplishments, respected that premise, but turned it into a rallying cry for the forces of good? Next time you speak in public, would you like to be a little more like Oprah?
Grammar prescriptivists -- who believe rules should be followed; "descriptivists" believe correct grammar is whatever works -- love to appeal to logic. If "he could care less," then he could care less -- you have to say "he couldn't"! It's the rock we cling to against the rising tide of literally-means-figuratively-now. Well, it may be time to loosen that grip, because the evolutionary forces of language extremely do not care.
Here’s the scene: A sea of roaming eyeballs and some powerful fluorescent lights, all focused on you. Does this freak you out? If you’ve ever struggled with public speaking, this incredible infographic runs you through the ways you can prevent public speaking anxiety and ensure you’re giving presentations the audience will remember.
Actor and voice coach Amy Jo Jackson has consulted on productions of Venus in Fur, Henry IV, and the Broadway production of Kinky Boots. An experienced actor herself, whose credits include The Laramie Project, Into the Woods, Twelfth Night, and The Rocky Horror Show, Jackson teaches actors and non-actors how to reduce unwanted accents or gain desired ones. We talked to her about her process, the challenge of increasing intelligibility without devaluing diverse dialects and heritage, and resources outside of personal coaching.
We all fear speaking in front of people. Some of us are just better at squashing those anxieties -- probably by not following flimsy advice like, "Imagine everyone in the room naked." Instead, they prepare thoroughly and thoughtfully and learn what keeps people interested. Here's how you can, too.
Chrome/Windows/Mac/Linux: If you've ever had a phrase on the tip of your tongue, you probably took to Google to search for the right wording. Writefull does this work for you. It's a free, helps improve your writing, compares phrases, shows you how they're worded depending on the context and suggests synonyms.
If you, uh, have a tendency to use filler words like "um" or "like" when you talk, it's not the end of the world. Turns out they can actually be a good thing -- as long as you use them right.
There are a lot of great ways to calm your nerves before you step into the spotlight, but it might also help to refashion what you're feeling instead of trying to suppress it.
Using "like" a lot in sentences is moderately acceptable in social situations (even though you might end up sounding like a bratty teenager) but it can kill your credibility in a workplace. If you want to ditch your love of "like" to appear more professional at work, read on for some practice advice on how to do so.