The Whistling Language

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La Gomera [wiki] is one of the Canary Islands [wiki]. There, people speaks Spanish but some of them, when speaking from a distance use whistles to communicate. And no, this is not a fake - there's a link to the complete conversation downloadable from wikipedia in mp3 format.

In the video from Youtube below, there the narrator speaks using Gomeran whistle [wiki] and tells us some of the charasteristics of La Gomera. I've transcribed the whole text and translated it into English for you. If you're a good Spanish speaker you can figure out some of the words from the whistles because they only replace the sounds with whistles to allow speaking from far away:

Spanish:
«Las Canarias estan situadas a 12-19ºW y 27-30ºN.

Las islas occidentales son: EL Hierro, La Palma, Tenerife y La Gomera.

Entre Tenerife y La Gomera hay 30 km.

370km^2 de superficie agreste.

Seis Municipios:
- San Sebastián: Capital y puerto de 4.445 habitantes
- Hermigua: Zona agricola de 2142 habitantes
- Agulo: reserva acuifera de 1207 habitantes
- Villaermoso: zona agricola de 3141 habitantes
- Valle gran rey: zona turística de 4857 habs
- Alajeró: zona turística de 1954 habs

La comunicación es por carretera y por mar.»

English:
«The Canary Islands are located at 12-19ºW and 27.30ºN

The western islands are: El Hierro, La Palma, Tenerife and La Gomera.

Between distance between Tenerife and La Gomera is 30 km.

(La Gomera) There is 370km^2 of land.

(La Gomera is composed of) Six counties:
- San Sebastián: The capital and sea port with 4,445 habitants.
- Hermigua: A farming area with 2,142 habitants.
- Agulo: Aquiferous reserve with 1,207 habitants
- Villaermoso: Farming area with 3,141 habitants
- Valle gran rey: Tourist region of 4857 habs.
- Alajeró: Tourist region 1,954 habs.

Transportations are by road and sea.



One more link from BBC news back in 2003.

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Newest 4 Comments

I remember seeing a documentary about this language in college years ago. Very interesting.

Funny thing... Our pet canary is usually pretty active this time of day, singing & flying around his cage, but while that video was playing, he sat on his perch listening intently. Now that it's done he's singing up a storm & flying back & forth like mad! He's got to be several generations removed from the islands, but the sound must mean something to him. When we whistle to him, he just ignores us.
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Thanks for the interesting link...started playing this not realizing how loud my speakers were and both my dogs both woke up immedately and looked at the computer like it was possesed! Thanks.
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