Words by: Berrin Guzel

The Whistled language is a version of the language communicated through high-pitch whistles and melodies, commonly used in the village of Kuşköy, which translates as Bird Village. Kuşköy is in the Black Sea region and is located in the northeast of Turkey.

The Black Sea region is mountainous and hilly. Houses are on the hills far from each other. That’s why people communicate by whistling. Today, there are about 10,000 people in the region that speak it. Since 1997, Kuşköy has held the Bird Language Festival to promote the language’s use. UNESCO included the bird language in its 2017 list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Beside Kuşköy, dozens of whistled languages are found across the world, primarily in areas where steep terrain or dense forests make communication difficult over distances, such as the Atlas Mountains of North Africa, the highlands of northern Laos or The Amazon basin in Brazil. Greece, Mexico, and Mozambique.