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The whistled language of La Gomera

The whistled language of La Gomera


The whistled language of La Gomera, in the Canary Islands, the “Silbo Gomero”, was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, by UNESCO in 2009. This whistled language is included on the Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The inclusion of the Silbo Gomero on this list aims to devise measures to protect and conserve this unique whistled language.

The Garajonay National Park is also declared a national park in 1981 and is included on the World Heritage by UNESCO since 1986.

The whistled language of La Gomera has been used for centuries. However, in 1950 many inhabitants from this island had to emigrate looking for better opportunities. Emigration and social changes originated that this language was about to disappear.

The geography of the island and the oral transmission of the Silbo Gomero from generation to generation have played an important role in the survival of this whistled language.

This ancestral language is currently used by nearly all the gomerans. Since 1999 the Silbo Gomero is taught in the schools in La Gomera. Also the whistled language is very integrated into the feast and gomeran culture.

The Department of Culture of the City Council of La Laguna (Tenerife) organises from 14 October 2013 till 31 October 2013 “The second workshop of introduction to the whistled language”.

Many initiatives are taking place to conserve and promote the use of the whistled language, such as workshops, congresses, courses and inaguration of the Insular School of the whistled language.

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