Cambridge IELTS 15, Test 4, Reading Passage 2: Silbo Gomero – The Whistle ‘Language’ of Canary Islands, Solution with Answer Key

Cambridge IELTS 15, Test 4: Reading Passage 2 – Silbo Gomero – The Whistle ‘Language’ of Canary Islands with Answer Key. Here we will discuss detailed explanation of all the questions of the passage. Here is step by step Solution with Tips and Strategies. This post is for educational purpose only. If you find difficulties in reading passage to find the right answer in the exam, just read the post carefully. Tips and strategies will help you find the right answer.


Silbo Gomero – The Whistle ‘Language’ of Canary Islands

IELTS Cambridge 15, Test 4, Academic Reading Module, Reading Passage 2



** Tips: How To Solve Yes No Not Given Question in IELTS Reading Module


14. Answer: NOT GIVEN

Key words: La Gomera, mountainous, Canary Islands

It is stated in paragraph 1 that La Gomera is one of the Canary Islands and that it is mountainous. However, there is no information regarding whether La Gomera is the most mountainous or not. Thus, the answer is NOT GIVEN.

  • Answer: NOT GIVEN.

15. Answer: FALSE

Key words: Silbo, appropriate, short, simple, messages

In paragraph 5, Carreiras contends that “’In daily life they use whistles to communicate short commands, but any Spanish sentence could be whistled”. In fact, “…silbadores are able to pass a surprising amount of information via their whistles”. So silbo, or whistles, can be used to communicate any messages, not just short ones. It’s just that short messages are more common in daily life. Thus, the statement ‘Silbo is only appropriate for short and simple messages’ is FALSE.

  • Answer: FALSE.

16. Answer: TRUE

Key words: brain-activity, silbadores, non-whistlers, different, results

Paragraph 6 mentions the results of the brain-activity study. Regarding silbadores, the left temporal lobe and other key regions in the brain’s frontal lobe responded. However, in non-whistlers, “activation was observed in all areas of the brain”. In paragraph 7, this finding is explained further:  “The non-Silbo speakers were not recognising Silbo as a language.  They had nothing to grab onto, so multiple areas of their brains were activated”. Thus, these can be seen as ‘different results’.

  • Answer: TRUE.

17. Answer: FALSE

Key words: Spanish, introduced, Silbo, 15th century

It is stated in paragraph 8 that “indigenous Canary Islanders […] already had a whistled language when Spain conquered the volcanic islands in the 15th century”. Thus, the Spanish could not have introduced Silbo to the islands as Silbo was present even before their arrival.

  • Answer: FALSE.

18. Answer: FALSE

Key words: precise, data, whistle, languages, today

Still in paragraph 8, the author said that “There are thought to be as many as 70 whistled languages still in use, though only 12 have been described and studied scientifically”.

  • in existence = in use

It can be inferred from this sentence that not all whistled languages (only 12/70) have been studied, so there cannot be precise data available regarding all whistled languages. The statement is FALSE.

  • Answer: FALSE.

19. Answer: TRUE

Key words: children, Gomera, learn, Silbo

The last paragraph mentions the attempts of Canaries’ authorities to ensure the survival of Silbo. “Since 1999, Silbo Gomero has been taught in all of the island ‘s elementary schools”. Thus, it can be understood that the Silbo language is still being taught to children until now.  The statement is therefore true.

  • Answer: TRUE.


** Tips: Notes,Table, Form, Summary, Flow Chart, Diagram Completion in IELTS Reading


20. Answer: words

Key words: high, low, frequency, tones, sounds, Spanish

With regard to high and low-frequency tones, it is stated that: “Silbo is a substitute for Spanish, with individual words recoded into whistles which have high and low-frequency tones”. Thus, it is clear that the blank should be filled with ‘words’.

  • Answer: words.

21. Answer: finger

Key words: pitch, whistle, controlled, silbador’s

In paragraph 4 again, the whistler can increase the whistle’s pitch by putting “a finger in his or her mouth”. In other words, this can be paraphrased into the passive voice as ‘the pitch of whistle can be increased using the silbador’s finger’. Thus, the answer is ‘finger’.

  • Answer: finger.

22. Answer: direction

Key words: changed, cupped, hand

Still in paragraph 4: “[…] the other hand can be cupped to adjust the direction of the sound”.

  • change = adjust

Thus, it is clear that the answer is ‘direction of the sound’. However, as only one word is allowed, the final answer is ‘direction’.

  • Answer: direction.

23. Answer: commands

Key words: everyday, use, transmission, brief

“’In daily life they use whistles to communicate short commands, but any Spanish sentence could be whistled.”

  • everyday = daily
  • transmission = communicate (communication)
  • short = brief

In other words, whistles are used in everyday life for the transmission of brief commands. The answer is ‘commands’.

  • Answer: commands.

24. Answer: fires

Key words: relay, essential, information, quickly, e.g., inform

“Silbo has proved particularly useful when fires have occurred on the island and rapid communication across large areas has been vital”.

  • quickly = rapid (rapidly)
  • essential = vital
  • relay information = communicate
  • e.g. =  such as, for example

This sentence means that silbo can be used to inform people about (communicate) essential (vital) information such as fires. Thus, the answer is ‘fires’.

  • Answer: fires.

25. Answer: technology

Key words: future,  threat, new

“But with modern communication technology now widely available, researchers say whistled languages like Silbo are threatened with extinction”.

  • new = modern
  • under threat = be threatened

It can be understood from this sentence that Silbo is threatened because of new, modern communication technology. But we can only fill the gap with one word, the correct answer must be ‘technology’.

  • Answer: technology.

26. Answer: award

Key words: Canaries’ authorities, receive, UNESCO, preserve

“The local authorities are trying to get an award from the organisation to declare [Silbo Gomero] as something that should be preserved for humanity”. The ‘organisation’ here refers to UNESCO. Thus, the local authorities are hoping to receive a UNESCO award to preserve Silbo.

  • receive = get
  • Answer: award.


Answer Key – Silbo Gomero – The Whistle ‘Language’ of Canary Islands

Silbo Gomero – The Whistle ‘Language’ of Canary Islands Reading Answers

16. TRUE
19. TRUE
20. words
21. finger

22. direction
23. commands
24. fires
25. technology
26. award



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