Kids keep whistling language alive

  • 11 January 2013
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Watch the children of La Gomera learning the special whistling language

Children on a Spanish island are keeping an ancient whistling language alive.

Silbo gomero is a whistled version of Spanish which can be heard up to two miles away!

Before phones and roads were invented, whistling was a way the islanders could communicate through the valleys of the Canary Island of La Gomera.

But the whistling language is still going strong, thanks to lessons at a local school.

Skill

You have to be able to whistle with a finger in your mouth which takes a lot of practice.

No one knows its origin, but language experts think it probably came from Africa, which has other whistling languages.

Most islanders think it is important that children learn the skill even when they can get in touch instantly using smartphones.

As well as the classroom, it can also be heard in restaurants that provide whistling demonstrations for tourists.

And it is hoped the unique sound will stay on La Gomera for many years to come.