London, June 4 (ANI): A linguistic analysis has confirmed that Neil Armstrong missed out an “a” and did not say “one small step for a man” when he set foot on the Moon in 1969.
According to a report by BBC News, the researchers show for the first time that he intended to say “a man” and that the “a” may have been lost because he was under pressure.
They say that although the phrase was not strictly correct, it was poetic, and in its rhythm and the symmetry of its delivery, it perfectly captured the mood of an epic moment in history.
In the recording of Neil Armstrong’s iconic phrase, he says, “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind”. However, “man” and “mankind” mean much the same thing in this context.
But, on returning to Earth, he explained that he thought he had said “one small step for a man”.
Explanations offered for the discrepancy are that perhaps transmission static wiped out the “a” or that Commander Armstrong’s Ohio accent meant that his “a’s” were spoken softly.
In 2006, an analysis by an Australian entrepreneur added credence to these explanations, as it found there was a gap for the “a”. However, subsequent analyses disputed this conclusion.
To settle the argument, Dr Chris Riley, author of the new Haynes book Apollo 11, ‘An Owner’s Manual’, and forensic linguist John Olsson carried out the most detailed analysis yet of Neil Armstrong’s speech patterns.
Using archive material of Neil Armstrong speaking, recorded throughout and after the mission, Riley and Olsson also studied the best recordings of the Apollo 11 mission audio ever released by NASA.
They have been taken from the original magnetic tape recordings made at Johnson Space Center, Houston, which have recently been re-digitized to make uncompressed, higher-fidelity audio recordings.
These are discernibly clearer than earlier, more heavily compressed recordings used by the Australian investigation.
These clearer recordings indicate that there was not room for an “a”. A voice print spectrograph clearly shows the “r” in “for” and “m” in “man” running into each other.
The researchers said that the Australian analysis may not have picked up the fact that Armstrong drawled the word “for” so that it sounded like “ferr” and mistook the softly spoken “r’s” for a gap.
“It’s perfectly clear that there was absolutely no room for the word ‘a’,” Olsson explained.
There is also new evidence that Armstrong’s inspirational first words were spoken completely spontaneously, rather than being pre-scripted for him by NASA or by the White House. (ANI)