Silbo gomero is a whistled language that has always been used on the island of La Gomera to communicate over long distances. It is not a set of pre-established codes designed to express limited content, but an articulated, reductive, non-conventional language that allows an unlimited number of messages to be exchanged by whistling the sound properties of a spoken language can be reproduced.
The depth and distance between the gorges allowed the emergence of a language that is unique in the world and that deserves the protection of UNESCO, which declared it an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in September 2009.
It is of exceptional value as an example of human creative genius. Not only is it a system adapted and designed to facilitate survival in a given environment, but its users have endowed it with great technical and aesthetic complexity.
The Silbo Gomero is an expression of the popular culture of La Gomera, is deeply rooted in the island’s population, has served as a cohesive factor for the community for years and represents a sign of the identity of La Gomera and the entire Canary Archipelago.
It is both a cultural product and a process that defines a culture. Since it is a language that reproduces another language, it has coexisted with Spanish in a non-exclusive and non-competitive way.
The Silbo Gomero has been passed on from one generation to the next as part of the intangible heritage of the community. This transmission, which for centuries took place through direct contact between master and student and generally within the family, takes place today thanks to the protective measures taken by the Canarian government through formal classes in the educational centers of La Gomera.