The village of Antia located on the Island of Evia, in Greece, has a language that is in grave danger. Their language known as Sfyria is a whistling language that is in danger of becoming extinct. There are only six people left that can “speak” it. It is known as one of the most endangered languages. It is a unique language that needs saving.
Experts believe the language dates back to ancient Greek times. One theory is that it was created by Persians 2,500 years ago after they were defeated in the great naval Battle of Salamis. Survivors washed up on the shores of Evia whistled to each other to avoid detection from vengeful ancient Greeks.
The language is known as “sfyria” and it is one of the rarest and most endangered languages in the world – a mysterious form of long-distance communication in which entire conversations, no matter how complex, can be whistled. For the last two millennia, the only people who have been able to sound and understand sfyria’s secret notes are the shepherds and farmers from this hillside hamlet, each of whom has proudly passed down the tightly guarded tradition to their children.
The Antia villagers speak a unique language of whistles, in which each tone of whistling corresponds to a letter of the alphabet. By putting whistles of different tones in order, they form words. This way, they can talk and understand each other simply by whistling. Children learn the language at the age of 5 or 6
The language was discovered by mass media as late as March 1969, when a group of rescuers was searching for the remains of a missing pilot whose plane had crashed in the mountain area and they came across the unique sounds.
Hidden deep in the south-east corner of the Greek island of Evia, above a twisting maze of ravines that tumbles toward the Aegean Sea, the tiny village of Antia clings to the slopes of Mount Ochi. There are no hotels or restaurants within 40km, and the hamlet is so remote that it doesn’t exist on Google Maps.