1932

Abstract

Whistled forms of languages are distributed worldwide and survive only in some of the most remote villages on the planet. They are not limited to a given continent, language family, or language structure, but they have been detected only sporadically by researchers and travelers, partly because they can be taken for nonlinguistic phenomena, such as simple signaling. Whistled speech consists of speaking while whistling to communicate at a long distance. The result is a melody that imitates modal speech and that remains intelligible for the interlocutors. This review proposes a typology of this special, little-known, natural speech type and takes socio-environmental and linguistic aspects into consideration. The amazing potential of this phenomenon to provide an alternative point of view into language diversity and speech offers a unique occasion to revisit human language with original insights embracing the adaptive flexibility that characterizes speech production and perception.

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2021-01-04
2024-04-15
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