Video: The people of this village in Turkey communicate by whistling
May 11, 2018 | 11:08 AM
by Times News Service

Muscat: In a remote village situated on a high mountain above Turkey's Black Sea coast, villagers don't really need words to connect. Because, they communicate across valleys by whistling.

Yes, you read that right.

Kuskoy, in Giresun Province, is a relatively quiet village (apart from the whistling, that is) located amidst steep hills. The rugged topography of the region simply meant that the local population needed to find an alternative way to communicate across long distances and so the language was born.

The "bird language" practitioners are mainly agricultural communities who spend most of their lives outdoors and consider this practice to be a key reflection of their cultural identity. Most of the villagers ( who we found were warm, welcoming and generous.) here still speak the old "bird language" - Turkish words expressed through a series of whistles. But it isn't just your regular whistling, this is a highly-developed, high-pitched system of whistling to communicate in the rugged terrain where people usually cannot see each other.

Previously, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNISCO) added the “bird language” of the Black Sea villagers to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of urgent protection.

"The community is aware of the importance of this practice. Technological developments and socio-economic changes have led to a decline in the number of practitioners and areas where it is spoken. One of the key threats to the practice is the use of mobile phones," UNISCO stated.

The organisation added, "In spite of such threats, the communities have been actively promoting this linguistic practice both nationally and internationally to ensure its sustainability and this language is still being carried on from generation to generation in the context of parent-child relations through both formal and informal methods."

District authorities have started teaching this language at the primary school level since 2014 in order to instill the practice in the younger generations.

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