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Silbo Gomero
Posted: 06 February 2011 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]
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How many phonemes exist in this whistled language? Is it a “complete” language?

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Posted: 07 February 2011 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Ethnologue classifies it as a dialect of Spanish.

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Posted: 07 February 2011 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hmm. Would you concur?

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Posted: 07 February 2011 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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As this study (The Gomeran Whistle - Linguistic Analysis) explains, even though it is loosely described as a language (and the study itself so uses the term), it is substitutive in nature, ie it is whistled Spanish.

............ it is not a language, rather it is a transposing mechanism. In the same manner that one whistles Spanish, one could whistle Portuguese [or English], for example.

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Posted: 07 February 2011 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’d never heard of Silbo Gomero before, and spent a fascinated couple of hours at Jeff Brent’s website. The whistled examples in the BBC interview are remarkable. At the conclusion of the interview, Ortiz says ”Buenas tardes, para todos los oyentes de la BBC de Londres”, and then whistles the message - and the whistling seems strangely comprehensible: I almost felt I could make out the words!

It’s a code, not a language. When I was a radio operator in the IDF long ago, we used Morse code, and after a certain amount of training and practise, the dit-da sounds made sense and spelt out words (in Hebrew, in my case - I never learnt Morse code in English).

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Posted: 07 February 2011 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hmm. Would you concur?

I wouldn’t know. This is the first time I’ve heard of it.

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Posted: 07 February 2011 05:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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It’s my understanding that the talking drums of West Africa work on a similar code.  The languages of the drummers are tonal, high and low.  The drum patterns using the two drums, one high-pitched and one low-pitched, are stock phrases that fit the specific tonal pattern of the given phrase.

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Posted: 10 February 2011 04:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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At the conclusion of the interview, Ortiz says ”Buenas tardes, para todos los oyentes de la BBC de Londres”, and then whistles the message - and the whistling seems strangely comprehensible: I almost felt I could make out the words!
---

Would be more impressive if he whistled it first and you were able to work it out.

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Posted: 11 February 2011 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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OP Tipping - 10 February 2011 04:43 AM

At the conclusion of the interview, Ortiz says ”Buenas tardes, para todos los oyentes de la BBC de Londres”, and then whistles the message - and the whistling seems strangely comprehensible: I almost felt I could make out the words!
---

Would be more impressive if he whistled it first and you were able to work it out.

This reminds me of the report that someone had built and programmed a piano to mimic human speech.  He analyzed the harmonic structure of various lines of spoken English and built a device to hit the appropriate strings of the piano at the appropriate times to produce similar wave forms.  Listening to the sound files you could clearly hear all the English words.  As long as you had the subtitles to read from.

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Posted: 11 February 2011 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Now that reminds me of an article, I believe from Dave’s blog, in which an experiment was discussed where a series of seemingly random electronic sounds was played. If you would listen to it a couple of times, you would gradually begin to make out words. IIRC It was something about a picnic with the children in the park. I tried to look it up, but can’t trace it.

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Posted: 11 February 2011 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/site/comments/audio_pareidolia/

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Posted: 11 February 2011 06:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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In that Dunning sample, I was able to hear the sentence clearly on the second listening (without reading what the sentence is supposed to say).

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Posted: 12 February 2011 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Rather worryingly, I heard the words clearly the first time. Maybe I’ve been listening to “Sparky’s Magic Piano” too much …

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Posted: 12 February 2011 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I wonder if other Brits of a certain age find themselves reminded (as I am) of the Clangers by this thread? Sample of Clangers speech in video clips on this BBC page.

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Posted: 12 February 2011 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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"Rather worryingly, I heard the words clearly the first time. Maybe I’ve been listening to “Sparky’s Magic Piano” too much … “

Surely it is a recording of speech that has been altered in someway, rather than a case of people hearing speech in noise.

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Posted: 13 February 2011 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Yes, The Clangers, as Dr Fortran said. When this was marketed at a European TV fair a Swedish buyer said “They are speaking fluent Swedish” to which a German said “No, they are speaking German”. This must gave been a humorous exchange as they knew Oliver Postgate had based the swanee whistle dialogue on “the rhythm and intonation of a script in the English language”.
How would Chinese listeners have heard it? Seeing the Clangers performing the dialogue in ‘scenarios’ on TV must be key to understanding it unlike with Silbo Gomero.
Is this a bit of a stretch? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OvefhhMbbg

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