The Rogue Speaks:
Yes, o.k., I know this looks familiar. NO! Not me with my mouth open! Although that is familiar, too. I have been so busy with my new life this week that I just couldn't come up with a bizarre "U" post, so I thought I would just post a redux. "They liked it before," I mused. "Maybe they'll like it again! Or in the case of some, maybe they forgot and think it's all brand new!" And just so you know, in honor of Halloween, next week I will be posting another redux, but with some new photos added. You'll love the new pics, so please check it out.
THE HANGY-DOWN THING
It's a strange little piece of soft tissue, that little hangy-down thing in the back of the throat, and I wondered just exactly why it is there. So I did a little research, and here's what I came up with. Yes, I know what a burning question this has been for all of us, but wonder no more, my friends!
One of the functions of the uvula is to keep food from going up our noses from the inside of our mouths. When we swallow, it folds back against the nasal passages. It DOES NOT prevent me from shooting wine out my nose when I hear something absurdly funny, however!
I began wondering if dogs have uvulas, so I decided to use my own two dogs as research animals. I first grabbed Lizzy and tried to pry open her mouth so I could look down her throat. She was very uncooperative, so I asked her nicely to just "say ahhh!" but she merely looked at me like I had two heads and hid under the bed. Mulligan noticed that something was up, so he hid as well. So I had to google my question and I discovered that the only dog who has a (rudimentary) uvula is the New Guinea singing dog, a relative of the wild dingo.
The uvula is important to the gag reflex, so when you are hanging over the toilet and you stick your finger down your throat, you throw up! I don't think you really cared to know that function of the uvula, though.
In the articulation of the sound of our voices, the uvula helps to form the sounds of speech. Working with the back of the throat, the palate, and air coming up when we exhale, it creates the guttural sound and other sounds as well. The uvular consonants are found in several languages such as German, French, and Portuguese, but not in most English dialects. Those click consonants in certain African languages are also produced by the uvula. I have been sitting here trying to make those clicks with my uvula, but I only succeeded in gagging myself a little. Those consonants are obviously something one must learn from birth.
Well, even though it is rather short, that is my offering for Alphabe-Thursday. I could have chosen other U's, like U2, or U-Hauls, or U Thant, the Burmese Secretary General to the United Nations from 1961 to 1971, but of course I wanted something that was not mundane, and that was, hmm, guttural!!! Yes, that's it!