Ever wondered what the strangest language on Earth could be? If you were a resident of La Gomera in The Canary Islands, you may, in fact, have an idea.
Silbo Gomera is a loud whistling language used to send across messages over great distances, in particular, the vast valleys and deep ravines of La Gomera. It is usually used to convey public invitations, distress calls or public announcements on laws across distances of up to 7 km.
This video can give you an idea of how the language works and how it acts as a transposition language from Spanish.
This bizarre language has been used by the natives of the island much before the Spanish came to The Canary Islands in the 16th Century. It is said to have been introduced by the Guanches who spoke the language extensively.
For the past 400 years, however, the language has been used as a transposition of Spanish speech to whistling.
Since the 16th Century, Silbo Gomera was quite popular on the island as well as surrounding areas of Gran Canaria, el Hierro and Tenerife. Due to the language being associated with labourers in the early 1900’s, Spanish was favoured over this strange sounding language by the middle classes and hence Silbo Gomera was almost wiped out.
This was until the early 90’s where language revitalisation started becoming a need of the hour, and the whistling language was recognised and revived by the younger generation. The elders made a strong effort to update the youth on their history and the extensive usage of the language.
The language that sounds like a birds chirp looks (or sounds) like it is here to stay for a while and the citizens of La Gomera will try their best to make sure to preserve their rich heritage and culture.