Monday, November 17, 2003
Silbo is the most complex "whistling language" in the world. It's four vowel sounds and four consonantal sounds can be strung together to make over 4,000 words. It is found in La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa. In order to protect the language from extinction, elementary school children on La Gomera are required to learn the basics of Silbo up to the age of fourteen. You can hear a sample of Silbo dialogue here. The translation can be found in this article.