How many times have you been to a carnival or fete where filthy little urchins run around with those homicidal tendency promoting bird whistles? Me, far too many. Children no doubt waste their parents coin on these devices because they think they will be able to communicate with birds or at least sound like one. What these hooligans don’t understand is that in one of the Spanish Canary Islands they may just find their dream has been actualised. Two words are about to change your life: Silbo Gomero… Never fret, until a while ago I had no idea what it was either, but having now experienced it my life and perception of language has been forever altered.
Silbo Gomero is a language whistled in La Gomera of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic. Before you ask, it’s not that giant monster who battled Godzilla. You are mistaken. You are thinking of Gamera. Whassat? Myes it is hilarious that there is a whistled language in the Canary Islands. Have a good old chortle! Cackle, if you will. Return to us when you have sufficiently cleaned up after yourself. Now, Silbo Gomero existed before the arrival of the Spanish, but was adapted to Spanish afterwards. It utilises frequencies, and melodic shifts to express as complicated a sentence as would be expected of a modern day language. Furthermore, it was designated a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2009 and is taught in schools.
For more information about La Gomera let’s hear it in Silbo Gomero, shall we?
Never fear PETA, that bird is not undergoing electroshock treatment. It’s our friendly guide explaining the various facets of La Gomera in Silbo Gomero with subtitles in Spanish.
Or perhaps you would prefer to see its practical usages.
Oh, do go on then! Make a joke about youngsters and “tweeting”.
Consider that English really only uses two whistles: the elongated one to mean “Wow, would you look at that?” and the “Hey, baby!” cat call. Do you feel as bereft as I?
My solution: acquire this language POST HASTE! As with any language I start with the basics, “Fetch me wine!”. Thank Christ for the BBC, for I now I can.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20979099 (the second phrase)
Shall we all collectively imagine a life with Silbo Gomero? Our fights would sound like the prelude to Snow White’s song and dance number. Buses filled with confabulating plebs would sound like the Amazon. Are you able to hear your neighbours playing the “sport of venus” through your paper thin walls? Imagine how much nicer it would sound in Silbo Gomero… Rather like R2D2… Let’s not forget that we could save hundreds on phone bills when your neighbour is only a whistle away.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be whistling myself up some home delivered paella.
(Before we part I must apologise, as I did lead you on somewhat of a wild goosechase with that R2D2 statement. He unfortunately does not speak Silbo Gomero, I used him as an example to get your imaginative juices trickling… Oozing, if you will. However, if you would like to know more about how the Ewoks’ language was based on Tibetan, I suggest you pop on over to the Wikipedia site.)