Grover’s excellent idea
Posted: 30 December 2018 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]
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If you liked laurel/yanny, then you’ll love whatever this is.

Listen to the clip first, before reading on, so that you’re not primed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jen6CJr7RxQ

https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/did-grover-drop-the-fbomb-on-sesame-street/news-story/bf1efb08ab980f860bc5af4371ba830e

Briefly: Grover says “that sounds like an excellent idea” and some folks hear it as “that’s a fuckin’ excellent idea”.

There are some differences between the laurel/yanny case and this one.

Firstly, there’s full context: it’s not just an isolated set of sounds, it’s a phrase being spoken on an American children’s television program, so we know there are no f-bombs being dropped really.

Secondly, the creator of the laurel/yanny sound edited the recording in the frequency domain to cause the aural ambiguity deliberately, whereas this is a natural piece of speech with some distortion in the high frequencies due to the recording medium.

Thirdly, whereas the laurel/yanny case was mysterious and surprising because on the face of it the two interpretations seemed completely different, in this case it’s not hard to see the similarity between /ðætsaʊndzlaɪkən/ and /ðætsəfʌkən/. If the diphthonging of the aʊ and aɪ are clipped, and the nd are missed, and the z becomes an f because of the aforementioned high frequency loss, then most of the work is done.

For mine, it sounds very much like what it is ("that sounds like an") but if I force my brain it will comply in hearing it as “that’s a fuckin’”. Funnily enough, it works better for me if I pretend Grover drops briefly into an Australian accent (which is my own accent): the American ʌ is somewhat central/schwa-ish, typically, whereas the Australian ʌ is a more open, /a/-like sound.

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Posted: 31 December 2018 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I tried hard, but I couldn’t hear it as anything but ’fuckin’ excellent idea‘.  In fact I can’t imagine what else it might possibly be , so can you tell me please?

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Posted: 31 December 2018 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I initially only heard the fuckin’ version, but when primed I can now hear the sounds like a version.

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Posted: 31 December 2018 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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He says, “ That sounds like an excellent idea.” I heard both during the first couple of times I listened, but after that all I could hear was the clean one.

[ Edited: 02 January 2019 02:36 AM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 31 December 2018 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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"That sounds like an excellent idea” was all I could hear until reading further and can now make myself hear the F-bomb version. I wonder if ‘that sounds like an’ people and ‘that’s a fucking’ people split along the same lines as Laurel/Yanni.

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Posted: 31 December 2018 07:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 31 December 2018 07:20 AM

I tried hard, but I couldn’t hear it as anything but ’fuckin’ excellent idea‘.  In fact I can’t imagine what else it might possibly be , so can you tell me please?

Reread the OP.

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Posted: 01 January 2019 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Bayaker - 31 December 2018 02:27 PM

“That sounds like an excellent idea” was all I could hear until reading further and can now make myself hear the F-bomb version. I wonder if ‘that sounds like an’ people and ‘that’s a fucking’ people split along the same lines as Laurel/Yanni.

No, it’s a different phenomenon. The Laurel/yanni phenomenon had to do with pitch of a few phonemes; this one is about separating phonemes into discete words and how our brains use expectation it interpret sounds—you hear what you’re primed to hear and you don’t need to manipulate the sound file to hear the other.

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Posted: 02 January 2019 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The dress is clearly blue and black.

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Posted: 03 January 2019 03:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The problem with the X-rated version is that it would be “That sounds fuckin’ excellent idea.” Not exactly colloquial English, not even in Sesame Street.

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Posted: 03 January 2019 05:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Back in 1956, an American Rock-a-Billy singer named Gene Vincent had a controversial song that some said back then ruined his career. The song was called “Woman Love” and was a pretty big hit. One line in the song was written as follows:

“Well I’m lookin’ for a woman with a one track mind
A huggin’ and a kissin’ and a smoochin’ all the time”

But, it sounded like “A fuckin” and a kissin’...”.

I remember the song well, and I thought the word was “huggin’” until the controversy popped up. Then, and to this day, I can hear “fuckin’”. Is easy to hear “huggin’” with a gutteral pronounciation sound to it. I still wonder if he snuck that in or not.

Here it is on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLYPxSG-_hs

[ Edited: 03 January 2019 05:42 AM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 03 January 2019 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Misheard song lyrics (a.k.a. mondegreens) are rife.

My favorite is Jimi Hendrix’s “Excuse me while I kiss this guy.”

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Posted: 03 January 2019 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The problem with the X-rated version is that it would be “That sounds fuckin’ excellent idea.” Not exactly colloquial English, not even in Sesame Street.

I heard it as “That’s a fuckin’ excellent idea”, which would have sounded perfectly plausible if it had been anything but Sesame Street.

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Posted: 04 January 2019 12:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Faldage - 03 January 2019 03:24 AM

The problem with the X-rated version is that it would be “That sounds fuckin’ excellent idea.” Not exactly colloquial English, not even in Sesame Street.

Faldage, per the OP, the X-rated version is “That’s a fuckin’ excellent idea.”

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Posted: 04 January 2019 03:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I’m just saying what it sounds like to me on the 4th or 5th hearing.

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