Dec 10 2017

‘Bird language’ of northern Turkey may go extinct

For centuries, people who live in the valleys and mountains of the Black Sea region used a whistle language to communicate across long distances, and UNESCO has just put it under spotlight, online magazine Atlas Obscura reported.

But the language made it to the UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, magazine wrote, because younger generations are no longer interested in learning it.

Mobile phones are to blame, UNESCO said in a statement:

Technological developments and socioeconomic 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. The new generation’s interest in whistled language has diminished considerably and there is a risk that the element will be gradually torn from its natural environment, becoming an artificial practice.

In Kuşköy (literally “Bird Village”) of Giresun, where locals hold annual Bird Language Festival celebrated the UNESCO’s decision, Atlas Obscura said. “A dream come true,” said the head of the local Bird Language Cultural Association.


“The world's 70 whistling languages are slowly becoming extinct. Kuşköy in Turkey is defending the tradition,” German public broadcaster DW had reported in 2010.