Bird Language Of Black Sea Villagers In Turkey

Endangered Bird Language Of Turkey
Endangered Bird Language Of Turkey

The Whistling Language or the Bird Language is an unusual part of Black Sea Villagers’ culture. With the advent of cellphones in their lives, it is now on the verge of extinction. UNESCO has added this unique culture to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Is the Whistling Bird Language Real?

According to the UNESCO, around 10,000 people in remote areas of Northern Turkey can use this language. Most people from the district of Çanakçı in the province of Giresun can effectively communicate using the bird language. It probably took hundreds of years for people to learn and create this language. They use it to communicate across the steep slopes. In the recent years the use of this language has constantly declined. With technology came new and more efficient methods of communication, cellphone being one.

Cellphones took a higher precedence over the whistling language in the recent years. This is something that UNESCO realised and expressed a need to “urgently safeguard” this culture before it perishes completely.

Gradual progression and decline of the language

During the Ottoman Empire, some 500 years ago, people across the Black Sea region used the whistling language to communicate. This bird language was taught to the next generation in their early years. Gradually over the period of time, the new generation also made their contribution to this unique whistling language. As a result it grew with time. But for last 50 years or so, this language has suffered the most. With the telephones, people started opting that mode of communication.


The newer generation was not much keep to learn this language either. Not only that, their contribution towards building the vocabulary has ceased too.

The impact of the Cellphone

The only purpose of language is to communicate. During olden times when there were no cellphones and simple messages were difficult to pass through, these people developed this mode of communication. It was effective and useful back in the day.

Now a days, the newer generation are better equipped. A simple text message or a quick call has taken over the medieval language. Now one could communicate across the steep slopes without everybody listening to it for the first time. Due to this the younger generation is neither interested in learning this language, nor it has any interest in contributing towards the language to grow it further.

The Tourism Ministry  is making efforts to preserve the heritage of the country by holding Festivals and teaching the young the bird language.