In This Town In Turkey, People Talk By Whistling! It Is Their Language!

In Kuskoy, Turkey, people whistle – yes, you read that right. People whistle and talk and they perfectly understand what they are saying to each other. It is just like we see in the movies, how it used to happen in the ancient days.

The name Kuskoy literally translates into ‘bird village’. It is located in the region of the Black Sea coast.

Kuskoy is a remote town located on a hill where people have a ‘bird language’ that originated more than four centuries ago. Incredible isn’t it? The other Turks think that the people who live in Kuskoy are a bit weird. But they are actually unique!

Navigating through the village is difficult due to its rough terrain and so is getting messages across. The sound of whistles is much louder than speaking which makes it easier to get the messages across without the need of travelling all the distance.

Also, their nearest neighbour stays hundreds of feet away, due to a number of reasons travelling that much to talk wouldn’t be possible every single time one has something to say. The sounds of a whistle can travel as far as 1km.

Villagers whistling to communicate | Photo:

Whistling languages are not new to the world. Centuries ago, they were rampantly in use. The Canary Islands is yet another place where the whistled language is still in use.

A report in The New Yorker states, ‘In 1964, a stringer for the Times reported that children in Kuşköy were learning to communicate by whistling before they started school and that both men and women regularly gossiped, argued, and even courted via whistle.’

However with cell phones now in the picture, the use of bird language is decreasing rapidly. The same report states, ‘In recent years, the town has organized a whistling contest to encourage both tourism and cultural preservation, but the bird language is rapidly disappearing from daily life. In a small town filled with nosy neighbours, texting affords a level of privacy that whistling never did.’

So how does the language work? It is simple yet complex. Since the villagers otherwise speak Turkish, each Turkish syllable corresponds a sound, a tone. So while whistling, the villagers have to get the perfect tone to communicate their message across effectively.

“We are unbelievably lucky that such a language indeed exists. It is a true experiment of nature,” Onur Gunturkun, a professor at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany, said to the media once. He had gone to the village to study this unique language and then published his famous study.

Still, don’t believe something like this is possible? Listen to it for yourself:

And one more:

Preview Photo: Onur Güntürkün

Heer Khant
Heer Khant

Traveller | Writer | Photographer | Maverick | Social Worker | Lawyer | A freedom-loving woman for whom words are like wings to her soul. She believes in aliens, hates boundaries and lives like the first human on Earth.

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