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There are a large variety of languages across the world. Some may be familiar to you, and others might use completely different sounds or structures. Here are some of the most unique languages from countries around the world. 


Turkish Bird Language, known as kuş dili in Turkish, is a language that uses high pitched whistles and melodies to communicate. This language is primarily found in Kuşköy, a village in the northern Pontic Mountains. It is 400 years old. While the origin of the language is unclear, it was used by farmers to communicate over large distances. The whistling sounds echo in the valleys of the mountain range, traveling much further than yelling. Varied pitches and melodies communicate different ideas or instructions to listeners. 

Turkish Bird Language is down to 10,000 speakers. Its use has steadily declined since the invention of the cell phone. Modern communication gives farmers an easier, quicker way to communicate. However, in order to preserve this important part of their heritage, there are many efforts to preserve this language. Immersion programs teach the Turkish Bird Languages in school. Annual festivals based on the language also celebrate its use and include competitions, artwork, and gatherings to raise awareness. 


The Canary Islands in Spain use a language called Silbo Gomero that includes similar sounds as the Turkish Bird Language. Silbo Gomero translates the Spanish Language directly from speech to whistling. It is audible from up to five kilometers away. Unfortunately, between 1960 and 1980, the language was associated with rural peasants. Middle class citizens shunned those who spoke Silbo Gomero, resulting in its decline. Today, there are many revival programs in place. All children from the island of La Gomera learn Silbo Gomero in school. 

The United States

Pawnee is a Native American language spoken by Pawnee Native Americans. Today, only about 100 people, living in northern Oklahoma, speak this language. It has two different dialects. It uses very few sounds, having only thirteen possible sounds to use in words. For comparison, English has around forty-two possible sounds. The Pawnee language, despite having few sounds, has surprisingly long words. Some have over thirty syllables. Words are given additional meanings by adding suffixes, and there is no limit to how many descriptors you can attach. 

This language is critically endangered. Descendants of native Pawnee speakers learn English as their first language. As a result, most Pawnee speakers are elderly. Fortunately, recent emphasis on the importance of preserving Native American traditions has somewhat revived the language. It is being taught in nearby schools and near Native American reserves. Adult classes are also available.


Pirahã is the language used by an indigenous people in northwestern Brazil. They live near the Maici River, a tributary of the Amazon river. Unlike the previously mentioned languages, Pirahã is not at risk of extinction. Its 300 speakers use Pirahã every day, and are mostly monolingual. Pirahã only has eight consonants and three vowels. It also does not have very many describing words. For example, there are no words to describe colors. Instead, speakers either describe it as varying shades of light or dark, or use phrases that convey the color, such as saying “blood” to describe “red”. 


Taa language, also known as ǃXóõ (no, that’s not a typo) is famous for its click consonants. Today there are 2,500 speakers. It has one of the largest lists of consonant sounds in the world. The clicking sounds allow speakers to put more information into less sounds. Most words are only a few syllables long. Different click sounds are even written out using symbols. A click using the teeth is written as “|”, while a click using the lips is written as ʘ. The exclamation point is a click from right behind the teeth. 

Identity and Culture

While these languages might seem strange or foreign to some, they are all deeply rooted in the traditions and lifestyles of these nations. Every language contains valuable history. As members of each of these communities work to raise awareness, manage revival projects, and teach these languages, they are preserving these unique cultures and allowing others to glimpse their unique ways of life. 


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