A new study of a whistling language is changing what scientists thought they new about how the brain processes speech.
You know how to whistle, don’t you? Not like this, you don’t…unless of course, you happen to have been raised in the tiny Turkish town of Kuşköy. Here, steep mountains and deep valleys divide villagers. For centuries, a whistled language called kuş dili, or “bird language,” connected them, echoing over the rough terrain.
Whistled sound travels further than speech, so this unusual adaptation made it easier for villagers to keep in touch, As Onur Güntürkün, the lead author of a new study on kuş dili, explained to Ars Technica:
“When you’re living there, you recognise why it’s a good landscape for whistled Turkish. It’s a very mountainous region, very steep with deep valleys, and to communicate with your neighbours, you have to climb down and up again.”