The Gulf Today - Panorama - - Have You Heard? -

An Ama­zo­nian tribe uses a lan­guage based on drum­ming that al­lows them to com­mu­ni­cate with peo­ple up to 20km away.

In a new study, re­searchers an­a­lysed this un­usual mode of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and found that it bears many of the hall­marks of spo­ken lan­guage, im­i­tat­ing the melody and rhythm of words and sen­tences.

The Boras are an in­dige­nous group oc­cu­py­ing the Peru­vian and Colom­bian Ama­zon, cur­rently com­pris­ing only around 1,500 peo­ple. Man­guare drums are a key ele­ment of Bora cul­ture, used for com­mu­ni­ca­tion both within and be­tween com­mu­ni­ties. Tra­di­tion­ally, ev­ery house­hold would have owned a set, and ev­ery com­mu­nity mem­ber would have un­der­stood mes­sages sent via the drums without ex­plicit train­ing. How­ever, the re­searchers noted that the Bora lan­guage’s days may be num­bered in both its spo­ken and drummed forms. Today, there are only around 20 man­guare drums still in ex­is­tence, and they are grad­u­ally fall­ing out of use. At the same time, spo­ken Bora is grad­u­ally be­ing re­placed by Span­ish.

Sources sug­gest man­guare drums can be used to com­mu­ni­cate vir­tu­ally any­thing, and mes­sages can be trans­mit­ted from house to house in or­der to pass on in­for­ma­tion far and wide.

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