When one thinks of language, the thousands of different tongues spoken in the world may come to mind. However, the human voice cannot travel very far. In remote regions, such as thick forests and mountains, whistling is used instead to communicate across long distances. One may think of herders▼ whistling fervently▼, sending their messages across ravines▼. It is also found in Star Wars, particularly when R2-D2 whistles to other droids▼. However, the best-studied whistled language is Silbo Gomero, which is found on one of the Canary Islands called La Gomera.
First used by the island's inhabitants as an ancient language of the Canaries, Silbo Gomero, or simply Silbo, became the whistled form of Spanish after settlers arrived in the 16th century. Since there are only four consonants▼ and two to four vowels▼ of Silbo, well-versed▼ silbadores, or whistlers, depend on deduction skills to understand each other. Usage decreased in the 1950s due to a growing system of roads, economic decline, and the development of telephones. To combat this, the government of the Canary Islands began an initiative to preserve Silbo in the 1990s by teaching it as a required subject in elementary school. In 2009, UNESCO added Silbo Gomero to its list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, ensuring its survival.
Another well-known whistled language exists in a village nestled▼ in the mountains of northern Turkey called the "Village of the Birds," or Kuskoy. Though the language is dying, as gossip is best shared by phone, whistled Turkish is interestingly processed using both hemispheres▼ of the brain while spoken languages, even Silbo, are typically processed in the left hemisphere. It may be a pipe dream, but this research is a glimmer of hope for stroke▼ victims who may learn to communicate through whistles.
1. How did whistled languages likely develop?
(A) By people living in areas where travel was not as convenient.
(B) Because people wanted to have some privacy.
(C) By villagers who were against using phones.
(D) When Star Wars fans decided to adopt R2-D2's language.
2. What is true about Silbo Gomero?
(A) It was mainly used by Spanish speakers before the 1600s.
(B) Spanish settlers forced La Gomera's inhabitants to use Silbo.
(C) La Gomera's people used Silbo to speak an old language before the 16th century.
(D) It was developed to fight against the Spanish settlers.
3. What was done to protect Silbo Gomero?
(A) The government of the Canary Islands banned people from speaking Spanish.
(B) UNESCO suggested that the language be given more consonants and vowels.
(C) The people of La Gomera started learning Silbo over the Internet.
(D) The language was added to UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
4. Why is northern Turkey mentioned?
(A) A high number of stroke victims live among the Turkish whistlers.
(B) It is a well-known fact that people share the juiciest gossip in Kuskoy.
(C) Whistled Turkish uses both parts of the brain, giving a sliver of hope to stroke victims.
(D) An entire village is composed of rare and exotic species of birds.