The whistle language, also known as the bird language, of the northern village of Kuşköy has been nominated for the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Located in Turkey's Giresun province, Kuşköy's locals call it "kuş dili," a form of whistled language that helps them communicate across the region's deep valleys. The whistled language is currently used by around 10,000 people in northeastern Turkey, and it can carry messages as far as 5 kilometers. It translates the Turkish language into whistles, not a distinct language.
With a 500-year tradition, whistled Turkish has been promoted through festivals and conferences to pass the tradition down to the next generations. Moreover, the whistled language of Kuşköy has been the subject of many scientific studies, as well. A study conducted by Onur Güntürkün of Ruhr University in Germany revealed that, "Whistled Turkish uses the full lexical and syntactic information of vocal Turkish and transforms them into whistles to transport complex conversations with constrained whistled articulations over long distances."
In Turkey, this whistled language is used in the Black Sea region only. However, variations of the same technique are common practice in certain regions of France, Spain, China and Mexico. What distinguishes the bird language in Turkey from other whistled languages is its very high frequency. The maximum frequency of whistled Turkish is 4,000 decibels. Hence, the form used in Giresun can travel a greater distance than any others in the world.
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