Switzerland Nominates Yodeling for UNESCO Cultural Heritage

February 4, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. intangible /ɪnˈtæn dʒə bəl/ (adj.) – cannot be held or touched
Example: Peace, hope, and love are intangible.

2. heritage /ˈhɛr ɪ tɪdʒ/ (n.) – traditions or beliefs that are important to a group’s identity
Example: Cultural heritage such as folklore and legends should be preserved.

3. pitch /pɪtʃ/ (n.) – the state of being low or high of a sound
Example: He sang in an unusually high pitch.

4. safeguard /ˈseɪfˌgɑrd/ (v.) – to protect something
Example: Our country has laws that safeguard the rights of indigenous people.

5. generation /ˌdʒɛn əˈreɪ ʃən/ (n.) – a group of people who are born at the same period of time
Example: My grandmother hopes to pass on her recipes to our family’s younger generation.


Read the text below.
Switzerland wants to have yodeling—along with seven other practices—listed as part of UNESCO’s intangible cultural world heritage.

UNESCO recognizes that cultural heritage is not limited only to buildings, monuments, and remarkable places. As such, it includes intangible culture, like traditions, in its list. Included in the current list are Japan’s Washi and Washoku, Indonesia’s Saman dance, and the Mongolian calligraphy.

Switzerland hopes UNESCO will accept its application, as Alpine yodeling is one of the well preserved practices in the country. Yodeling is done by singing in quickly alternating pitches. It started in the Swiss Alps, where people use it to communicate from one mountain peak to another.

Aside from yodeling, Switzerland also nominated seven other practices and events. Among these are mechanical watchmaking, graphic design and typography, and Vevey’s Winemakers’ Festival.

Once listed as an intangible cultural heritage, yodeling will be safeguarded. Generally, safeguarding involves preservation of a practice or tradition by making sure that it gets passed on from one generation to another.

To achieve this, the members of the community must be involved in the safeguarding process, especially in the planning and implementation stages. The members must also be open to transferring their knowledge about their practices. However, UNESCO acknowledges that some parts of a community’s practice or tradition must be kept secret.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What types of practices or traditions do you think should be included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage? Please discuss your answer.
·         If given the chance, what practice or tradition in your country would you nominate for this list? Kindly explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Why is it important to protect and preserve traditions and cultural practices?
·         How do you think traditions and cultural practices can be preserved?

February 4, 2015