LINGUIST List 7.1166

Sun Aug 18 1996

Sum: Whistled speech

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  1. George Huttar 709 2400, whistled speech

Message 1: whistled speech

Date: Sat, 17 Aug 1996 22:44:18 -0000
From: George Huttar 709 2400 <George_HuttarSIL.ORG>
Subject: whistled speech

Nearly 11 months ago (27 September 1995) LINGUIST 6-1319 included a
summary on whistled speech. Since George Cowan is one of the names
most associated with this topic, I sent him the posting for his
interest. He replied almost immediately with some information
supplementing and in some details correcting the LINGUIST posting. It
is only my own negligence that is responsible for the delay. Here is
the additional information from George Cowan (with my apologies also
for the occasional character that has been mangled by my email
software):


Comments on "Whistled Speech" in LINGUIST List: Vol-6-1319, Wed Sept
27 1995 ISSN: 1068-4875.

The following articles by George M. Cowan did not occur in the
listing:

"Mazateco whistle speech." Language: Journal of the Linguistic
Society of America (Baltimore, MD: Waverly Press) 24:28O-86(1948).
	Repub. Hymes, ed., Language in culture and society New York:
Harper & Row (l964), pp.3O5-11.
	Repub. Holmes, ed., Readings in general anthropology New York:
Ronald Press (1971), pp.268-76.
	Repub. Ruth M. Brend, ed., Studies in tone and intonation by
members of the Summer Institute of Linguistics Bibliotheca Phonetica
11, Basel: S. Karger (1975), pp.1O8-17.
 Republ. Thomas A.Sebeok and Jean Umiker, eds., Speech
surrogates: a reader; vol.l, Drum and whistle systems The Hague:
Mouton (1976), xxiv + 1456 Two volumes (Vol.23 of Approaches to
Semiotics)
 Permission to republish given in 1972 to A. Kimball Romney
in You and Others: An Anthropological Perspective Cambridge, MA:
Winthrop Publishers, Inc. but no copy ever received. 
 An adaptation published in Sign Language Unit: Hawaii
English Program Honolulu: Hawaii Curriculum Center (197O) pp.28-
31, which later included in Project Aloha materials for
California and Project Pacific materials for American Samoa,
Guam, Saipan and Palau schools in 1973.
 Reviewed and quoted at length in R.G. Busnel & A. Classe,
Whistled Languages: Communications and Cybernetics 13, New York:
Springer-Verlag (1976), 117 pp.
 Noted and commented on by Mary Ritchie Key in "Brief Review"
of Sebeok and Jean Umiker, eds., Speech surrogates: a reader;
vol.l, Drum and whistle systems in ???

"El idioma silbido entre los mazatecos de Oaxaca y los tepehuas
de Hidalgo, Mexico." Tlatoani 1:3 y 4 (l952), pp.31-33. 
 Republ. Thomas A.Sebeok and Jean Umiker, eds., Speech
surrogates: a reader; vol.l, Drum and whistle systems The Hague:
Mouton (1976), xxiv + 1456 Two volumes (Vol.23 of Approaches to
Semiotics). 

"Segmental features of Tepehua whistle speech." [A. Rigault and
R. Charbonneau, eds., Proceedings of the Seventh International
Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Montreal, 1971: Janua Linguarum
series maior 57] The Hague: Mouton (1972), pp.695-98. 
 Note: This did appear in the listing but incorrectly ascribed to
Cowan, C instead of Cowan, George M.

"Whistled Tepehua" [Thomas A.Sebeok and Jean Umiker, eds.,
Speech surrogates: a reader; vol.l, Drum and whistle systems] The
Hague: Mouton (1976), 14OO-9 (Vol.23 of Approaches to Semiotics).


"Whistled communication." Notes on Linguistics 2O:22-24 (1981). 


Also missing from the bibliographical references:

Busnel, Ren-Guy "Bioacstica de la lengua silbada mazateca" Ciencia y
desarrollo julio-agosto, 1981 (Nm.39, ao VII) pp. 178-184

WHY WHISTLE?

"It may be used for secrecy but not for games" - but see Cowan 1948
section 4 on use while playing games, and in order not to interfere
with speech going on at the same time.

WHICH LANGUAGES ARE WHISTLED?

Also to the list given can be added:
Mura-Piraha of Brazil
Desano of Colombia
Taos of USA
Sayula Popoluca of Mexico
Attie, Nyabwa, Wobe, Kabye, Yakouba and Mwana of Cote d'Ivoire
Nchumburu of Ghana
Yoruba of Nigeria
Gbaya, Doohwaayo and Mofu of Cameroun
Abau, Polopa, Telefol, and Bauzi of Papua New Guinea
 (possibly Tairora and Narak, in the latter reportedly linked with
the spirits talking)

I have heard bilingual Tepehua speakers in Mexico whistle in Spanish
and heard of French being whistled in Africa.

VARIA

I question the accuracy of the statement: "In tone languages, such as
Mazatec and Tepehua ..., some sacrifice of articulation is necessay to
preserve the tone patterns" - I do not believe Tepehua is considered a
tone language. Nor is the statement true of Mazatec, so far as my
observation goes, since Mazatec whistling does not try to preserve the
consonantal articulations.

***End of message from George Cowan***

George Huttar (huttarsil.org)
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