Andrey (azangru) wrote,

Little did I know, admiring John Bercow in my previous post, that what I was seeing in that video was the zealously discussed laurel and yanny of the day, that is the argument over what Jeremy Corbyn muttered under his breath — was it stupid woman as his opponents claimed, or stupid people, as he said.

Now, this is far from the Trump moment, who claimed he meant to say the impossible "I don't see why it wouldn't be Russia" when he said "I don see why it would be Russia". Both woman and people are two-syllable words with kinda-sorta similar articulative basis, i.e they both start with a consonant (or an approximant) that is formed by the lips; they both have stress on the first syllable, and they both have the second syllable that starts with a plosive bilabial consonant (p or m). You have to be pretty damn smart to make it up. So I thought that I could follow the movements of his lips to guess the sounds they were producing, and clipped the relevant part from the recording of Prime Minister's Questions of December 19, 2018 (, at 18 min 21 sec).

I thought it was going to be an easy guess, but after trying to read his lips I am almost as unsure of what he said as before. I recorded my pathetic attempt at lip reading using OBS for screen capture (the first time I tried this piece of software; and I must say I am really impressed with it), because I doubt this can be shown on still images:

The media, feasting on that episode, never, to my knowledge, showed the analysis of a professional lip reader; although it's said they have been consulted. In all the clips that I saw, Corbyn's lip movements are shown at real-time speed, once or at best twice per segment, followed by minutes of heated debate of how disgraceful this is.

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