The last speakers of a language without words reside on La Gomera, one of the smallest islands in Spain’s Canary Islands. "El Silbo," a whistled communication used in rural and isolated areas, is dying out as islanders embrace digital communication and move to cities and the mainland. Even so, El Silbo has a firm place in the island's culture. Some of La Gomera's schools are teaching the language and in 2009, UNESCO declared it a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.


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  • helena

    The purity- and roots of tradition

  • Donna

    I love to whistle. It brings me joy. And I have been reading Jean Auel's books in which the main character, Ayla, communicates with her animals by whistling. I love the nature of non-verbal speech.

  • Brian

    Thanks Team. Be encouraged in U. Peace on Earth...

  • Lisa Rosenkoetter

    This is a beautiful heritage that should not be lost. They must do everything possible to keep it alive. To me this way of life seems so fulfilling and beautiful. Spending your days in nature with animals, getting exercise, having time for silent prayer or meditation. It's nice and slow, and that resonates with me. This was amazing! Thank You for sharing.🌞❤

  • Maria McLeod

    I found that this method of communication fascinating and it should be recorded and placed in archives with history. Great examples give of each whistle. Anyone knowing how do to this , thw world will be indebted for the future.

  • Fazileh

    It definitely a language that belonged to the Ancient Lost Civilization that's being spoken about in recent discoveries by Robert, Foster and Graham Hancock. Fascinating For sure animals have their own high pitched language that our own tiny minds don't accept


    I really surprise to know such language exist. In India we used to whistle for some good moments. So fantastic language. In this mobile era such language will not sustain. Good to hear that the school teach such language.

  • Kathy Kearns

    We should slow down and start whistling again-much more peaceful. I wish I had been in that place/time

  • donna

    is there some way to make this a "world heritage" event or site? - might be the first time for a language but there might be a way to truly insure its future - how exquisitely beautiful as yet another example of human/animal communication about which we are becoming more and more aware as each day passes - as the portals are opening, we humans are waking up more and more to the extraordinary ability of animals to understand us - it's time for us to start truly listening - they are trying to share with us - as all humans are connected in this unified field so are the animals - let's start truly listening...(I am a dolphin communicator but not through their water language but telepathically and it has opened my eyes to not only communicating with them but with many other species as well - and what I do know is that with an open heart and a quieted mind, WE ALL CAN develop the ability - hope you'll consider trying it - the animals will honor your efforts...

  • William

    Yes, Lulu, elsewhere under the ocean and for similar communication at a distance. Whistles dense with information. Once heard the whistling/clicking between two dolphins as they circled a tank, the experienced one communicating to a new one the instructions for a complicated series of flips and spins that they then performed for the first time in perfect synchrony. Awesome existence this and the intelligent communication that it has evolved.

  • Colleen

    I am a singer, who whistles my day away with songs in my head. I don't even realize I'm doing it a lot of the time, until someone compliments me on it! :-) This video captivated me and reminded me of when my father had surgery for throat cancer and had to relearn how to talk. In the meantime, he communicated his needs to my mom by whistling, and still communicates with us in this way when he is out of hearing distance, as his voice is still very soft. It's endearing to me.

  • Lyn

    Yesterday I learned about an Australian marine biologist who has gathered 30 years of evidence that fish talk. Today I'm learning about a wordless language native to the Canary Islands. Learning something fascinating every day!

  • Anna

    El silbo is beautifully suited for the environment. We all feel that it's worth preserving because it's primal and natural, and there's something lifeless about our shorthand commmunication. We used to have a sort of silbo going on in my house. Nothing sophisticated but there were different songs, if you will, for our most common calls (help, dinner ready, love you, come hang out, yes, no). I can revive my little silbidos which I'm so sad to reflect have been overtaken by texting! So that's one thing. But, now, preserving el silbo? The only way I see that happening if it becomes a language of the home. An intimate way to interact with someone in the next room. Because what is fading is not the language but the way of life. Who is the next generation of mountain dwellers? For all our reverence for nature and her simple ways, I don't think any one of us would love our children to do it. I agree, it's beautiful, but it will survive if it's reallocated into the home. I can imagine a silbo with teenagers: no nagging, no brooding, just straightforward playfulness.

  • Ella de Jong

    The beauty of the country, the genuine way of 'being' of the shepherd and the dog, the sadness of something so unique probably disappearing ... Thank you!

  • Connie

    What inspired you about this video? love communication with animals and others in a symbolic manner... I use telepathy with animals now.. whistling would be a great tool.. I wonder if we could get a you tube on this to train people on whistling so it would not be lost ... cultures need to thrive. this is an excellent culture and has many uses in this world.

  • Lulu

    Really extraordinary way to communicate. I wonder if this is done elsewhere in the world.

  • Diane

    What an amazing story. I have seen dogs trained to heard sheep with whistles, but I didn't know that there was a human language. But it makes such good sense for use in the deep hills and valleys that these people live and work in. Thank you for this video.

  • Deepak

    Thank you . Amazing . The language should be preserved and awareness of it spread globally .

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    Thank you! I'd never heard of this language before and how useful in the countryside. I hope it continues to be preserved for future generations.

  • cheryl

    An ancient means of communication I have watched herders communicate only with whistles and hand signals all from a distance very important for this type of language not be lost the very structure can be used in various forms to communicate thank you for this information

  • Cindy

    I had never heard about this before! Thanks for the film and story. Let's hope this language survives the 'age of communication'... So much healthier than the ubiquitous EMFs that surround us.

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  • Learn about the surprising reason for the revival of Silbo gomero.
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