There’s a Whistling Language?

What is a whistling language? 

A whistling language is used to mimic speech and communication. Primarily used for long distances. These sorts of languages are most often found somewhere very remote or mountainous. 

Whistling languages are rare compared to spoken language, but there are still quite a few communities that do speak it. Some examples are: Eastern Turkey, on the Greek island of Evia, some parts of Africa, and one of the smallest Canary islands, La Gomera.

In La Gomera comes the Silbo Gomero or the Gomeran whistle language. This is the most widely studied whistle language, but the origins are unknown. It is thought the language may have originated from Africa where there are records of other whistling languages.

But in the 1940’s and 50’s the Gomeran whistle went to near extinction due to inhabitants of La Gomera moving to look for better opportunities.

But the Gomeran whistle didn’t go extinct. The secret? Immersion in schools and a focus in tourism.

While many may argue the rise in tourism over the language could change it to a cliche, others believe that any sort of preservation of the language is important.

So important that UNESCO went on to declare it as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”

Check out the documentary here that UNESCO made :


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