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Turkey’s Endangered ‘Bird Language’ Enters UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List

Image: UNESCO

The Whistle Language Dates Back to The Ottoman Empire

By India.com Buzz Desk

January 3, 2018 – Villagers in the remote and mountainous region of northern Turkey have a reason to rejoice. Their unusual but efficient ‘whistle’ language has entered the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The whistle language is used by the villages as a means of communication. The whistle language is a highly-developed, high-pitch system of communication that is reportedly used by close to 10,000 people residing in the district of Canakci in Giresun province. They resort to whistling to communicate as most of the times, they can’t see each other in the rugged terrain. And UNESCO has accepted the “bird language” of Black Sea villagers as an endangered part of world heritage.

The Xinhua reports that the bird language is in need of urgent protection, according to the UNESCO. Whistling as a language was dates back to 500 years ago, during the Ottoman Empire. Back then, the whistle language was widespread across the Black Sea regions. However, over the past fifty years, this language has been losing its relevance owing to the rapid progress of technology and more recently, the progress of cellular mobile systems. An Economic Times article states that whistle languages have existed through the ages across the world like in Spain’s Canary Islands, in Mexico or in Greek villages, but the Turkish one seems to be the most high-pitched and lexical extended, with more than 400 words and phrases.

READ MORE: Desk, I. (2018). Turkey’s Endangered ‘Bird Language’ Enters UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List; The Whistle Language Dates Back to The Ottoman Empire. India.com. Retrieved 29 January 2018.

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