Language of the Day: Turkish Bird Tweets

Villagers whistle long, elaborate songs to pass on information long-distance.

A mountain village nestled in the Pontic Mountains on the Black Sea has re-imagined the tweet. Villagers there whistle long, elaborate sequences that carry meaning across distances. The practice is called "bird language," and is about 400 years old. According to a reporter at Eurasianet:

Like other forms of whistled communication, kuş dili arose in a region where the rugged ground and sparse population made travel difficult even over short distances. A whistle can reverberate for more than a kilometer, according to Ibrahim Kodalak. "If you can't make your voice heard over a long distance, you could also make a chain with different people relaying the message."

This short video by Alexander Christie-Miller combines audio interviews and still images. Thanks to The Atlantic for bringing it to our attention.

About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.