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Title: Here we don't speak, here we whistle : mobilizing a cultural reading of cognition, sound and ecology in the design of a language support system for the Silbo Gomero
Author: Matos, Sonia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2691 2729
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis presents the study of a whistled form of language known as the Silbo Gomero (Island of La Gomera, Canarian Archipelago). After fifty years of almost total extinction this form of communication has been revived, shifting from the fields where it was once used by peasant islanders and into the space of the classroom. Here, it is integrated into the curriculum of the island’s schools while providing children with a rich cultural platform that instigates linguistic and auditory experimentation. As a response to this transformation, the need to develop didactic materials is presented as one of the main challenges encountered by the community. Taking this condition as the driver of its research, this body of work draws on phonological, bioacoustic and cognitive theories to develop a formal understanding of the Silbo Gomero in a way which aims to complement the whistler’s own experience and mastery of the language by also developing an ethnographic reading of this indigenous body of knowledge and its characteristic auditory perceptual ecology. The investigation has culminated in the design of a digital application, El Laberinto del Sonido, and its active use within the educational community of the island. Finally, emphasising the practice-based nature of the research, this thesis attempts to relocate the question of intangible heritage from a focus on cultural safeguarding and transmission to one of experimentation, where an indigenous body of knowledge not only provides new exploratory paradigms in the design of didactic materials, but also contributes towards the sustainability of culturally situated forms of apprenticeship within contemporary educational contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available