Silbo Gomera – one of the endangered Canary Islands languages in which people communicate with La Gomera, off the coast of Morocco. The language is unique in that it is a whistle-like chirping birds. It is organized so that you can pass the usual language – in this case, Castilian Spanish communicate by whistling.
Long before the invention of the telephone islanders needed a certain method of communication, especially in an emergency or during hunting. This problem was solved by silbo where shepherds began to converse over long distances, through ravines and gorges. But even now, after the mobile phone whiz loses its relevance, because the island has a lot of places where there is no connection.
Homer and other Canary Islands whistling language brought the first settlers from North Africa. Their descendants have not learned how to talk. Current gomer speakers mastered human speech, but not forgotten how to whistle virtuoso.
Despite the fact that in the world at different times, there were other whistling languages silbo Homer – the only one among them which was fully developed and which still speaks an entire community. It is so well organized that any vowel or consonant may be replaced by a certain whistle. Depending on the height and the number of interrupts, these sounds can be distinguished from each other.
A few years ago, this unusual language, which is the cultural heritage of the island, is under threat of extinction. That’s when the government decided to make learning silbo Homero compulsory in school. Since then the situation has changed dramatically. Now almost all the natives understand the language and know how to whistle it.
Tourists coming to Homer, can make sure that silbo is used wherever possible. The locals like to arrange for guest funny show, demonstrating the capabilities of their native language.
“Even the dogs and sheep understand silbo – said the indigenous Homer dweller Jose. – I call them with a whistle, and they come running to me. With animals, we are whistling in a different way that to people.”