Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Swimming Through Life

Friday, April 11, 2014

THE HANGY-DOWN THING * UVULA


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!

70 comments:

Karen S. said...

Okay now I'm LMAO with this very imformative but hilarious and very much side-splitting take on what lies within our mouth! I find your dogs hiding funny too...just what is my Mom trying to do to me?! All kidding aside I have wondered about that thingy too! Thanks for brightening my morning!

Blogging Loulasway said...

I loved this!!! I learned something even tried to do the click ...gag gag cough haha You almost succeeded in making coffee go up my nose LOL!

Jo said...

oh ... i'm pretty sure that i cant make those uvula noises either ... and poor Lizzy ... what that little girl wont do for research lol!

Pondside said...

Those sounds will give you a sore throat!
Thanks for that original contribution....I wonder how many of us will manage to use this in conversation?

Lola said...

So original - wonderful!

XPOXO Lola & Nora:)

EG Wow said...

Originality must be your middle name! I'm sure I NEVER would have chosen uvula. I almost did something about U-Hauls though. :))

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I don't think JDaniel would have cooperated either.

JJ said...

And to think all these years I thought only women had them!

Teresa said...

Fascinating! I especially enjoyed learning about the dog's uvula.

Mary said...

What good is it if it doesn't prevent wine from shooting out your nose??!

Ames said...

You were very thorough Judie. I'll throw this one down in my bag of things I may need to know later! :)~Ames

Judie said...

Yes, JJ, women do have uvulas. Men have those little hangy-down things.

Jackie said...

Hi Judie, I must say this was VERY INTERESTING! Thank you for your research . Uvulas are disgusting but whatev. :) I don't think I could make myself throw up . I hate regurgitating.

Akseli Koskela said...

Haha! This was a very funny post - your poor dogs must've been quite confused!

myorii said...

What a great post! I just love your blog because I learn something new every time I stop by. Now I know why we have uvulas! Now I wonder if many other animals have them too :)

J. Kwiatkowski said...

My kids were fascinated by uvulas when they were two and three. They always wanted me to open my mouth. I felt so invaded!

One of The Guys said...

All I know is that about four times a year my uvula swells up double and I can barely talk. After about 3 hours it shrinks back to size.
I know we all could take this in many directions but I won't.

5thsister said...

The things you learn on Alphabe-Thursday! I think I was able to make that clicking noise with my uvula that you spoke of...weird sensation though.

nothingprofound said...

Ever since I damaged it coaching gymnastics for 20 years, my uvula and I are no longer on speaking terms.

askcherlock said...

This is entirely creative! What a surprise that you would choose the uvula. I used to drive one of those once. Oh wait! That was a Volvo. sorry....

Cindy Adkins said...

Wow, what a clever "U" word!!! And that is so neat that you've been to Mardi Gras...it's really fun and so happy.
And I'll bet Jazz Fest will be awesome..Let me know if you're coming!
XO

Jessica B said...

Stopping by from Jenny's. Great post! My kids all know what a uvula is. Weird. LOL :)

Magyar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Magyar said...

U caught me when U mentioned shooting
UUine out of yoUr nose! Of coUrse that never happened to me! (Smile!)
__That interesting little dangly thing... Unforgetable!
_m

Donnie said...

Hubby once had uvulitis and had to have a uvulectomy because he had a really high fever and it lost tone and hung down 2" into his throat. Took 4 doctors before anyone noticed it...ugh...Cute U post.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Love old U2, love new U2, love U2...

Oh wait, I guess I kind of got listening to the music and drifted off into my own little world.

Can I just sit here a little while and listen?

No...oh well.

Lovely U post, guess I'd better move on to the next student...

Diane said...

Well, you learn something new every day! I had no idea the uvula kept food our of our noses. Thanks, Uvula! ;)

Vicki aka Jake said...

HA, Now I get it. (your comment on mine) And whoda thought that little thingy was so important? Fun comments too :) And whythehell haven't I been a follower yet? Now I gotta take a closer look. Saw an artist thing with my mom's maiden name on it, she was an orphan....I shall return. Careful with the wine:)

hip-chick said...

It sounds like something dirty. Funny word and even funnier thingy.

Life in Rehab said...

Heehee, my husband has a rare cleft uvula...he needs to read this! Humorous and informative as always, and you have to love random animal experimentation.

Gattina said...

Yikes, this picture looks awful ! makes me thing of a sore throat !

One Mama said...

So interesting! I learned something new!

City Share said...

I'm ready for trivia night! Who knew the uvula had so many functions to serve?! Thanks for all the great info.

☆☆Mumsy said...

I love your choice for the letter U. It has everything I need for today: educational, and humor! You made my day..

Sarah said...

That was educational. I wonder how dogs don't get their food out from their noses since they lack this very important piece of organ.

Jenny said...

Sometimes my uvula doesn't do that good of a job because if I laugh really hard my food feels like it is going to shoot out of my nose.

But that is just gross, isn't it?

Sorry.

Judie, this was an unbelievably cool link this week.

I am so going to impress my friends and relatives with this knowledge.

You are cool!

A+

Tammy said...

My neighbor's daughter was born without one. I always thought it was one of those useless things, like a an appendix or my ex husband. Interesting.

BEAR's Mom said...

U know i had to get right
over here when i read the
title
'hangy down thing'
OMG LMAO Judie ~~~
very informative
but doesn't the name
sound nasty!!!!
still LMAO....

how happy were you
with the OSCAR results
last week
i.e. C.Bale & King's Speech

BEAR HUGS
~victoria~

Su-sieee! Mac said...

I tell you, the human body is a very fascinating and well-made machine. I can hardly wait to tell the husband what I learned about the uvula. Thanks, Judie.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

hahaha!!!! Great post! I've known about the "protective" purpose of the uvula...but how cull to know that it is also used for those amazing "click" sounds in some African languages! (I have always wanted to be able to do that "click" talking! haha...really!)

Blessings & Aloha!
Thanks my friend for popping over! I always love when you visit :o)

Theresa said...

for some reason I'm thinking of Tom & Jerry cartoons and the vibrating Uvula:)

THE SNEE said...

UVUL-Ahhh.....a post written for a speech language pathologist. Were you thinking of me when you wrote this Judie? FYI, you needed my son for canine research. He could've modeled uvula touching, and possibly gotten your puppies to come out of hiding. It's a favorite gross out trick of his. Now, I'm wondering about other animals like dolphins? They click and whistle too. Here I come Uncle Google! Fun post. You make me laugh.

Splendid Little Stars said...

very fun! The comments were almost as enlightening as your post!

Anonymous said...

New Guinea Singing Dogs. by Bushcat
Learning that only the New Guinea Singing Dog has an uvula is enlightening to me.
I read that the NGSD had a split uvula which enabled it to yodel whistle and make unusual sounds.
It can also roar like a lion and appear to use this as a long distance communication.
However I learn that other dogs have no uvula. I will start peering down dog's gullets to make sure.
Believe me there are NGSDs running wild in the Big Desert, Vic & SA.
Skull that I sent to America was identified as such, This reinforces the conclusions I had come to earlier from studies of these dogs in the bush. The NGSD looks altogether different from an Aust Dingo.
I hope to spend time in that country later this year to do a survey of the dogs, in company of an American biologist, who also has an interest.

lissa said...

I did not know that, the drawing is unsettling to me but thanks for the knowledge.

have a great day.

Ames said...

Good grief I am gagging as I type! No really here is a fascinating piece of information for your Uvula post. My grandson has an abnormally large Uvula, which hangs down his throat, and constantly gags him. I don't know what the doctor did to give him relief from this anomaly but he went to school and shared his amazing anatomy at Show and Tell. He was popular for a day.

My husband annoys the snot out of me by making those hidious clicking noises so I assume his Uvula is well endowed. Sounds so dirty doesn't it. ~Ames

BECKY said...

You are one wacky woman, Judie!! :)

Naperville Now said...

too funny! excellent uvulations on the letter U.

Lola said...

So informative - *U*la la!!

XOXO Lola:)

Bruce Coltin said...

When you get a few moments, please post a video of you shooting wine out of your nose. I would like to watch it on my cell phone when I need a light boost.

Pondside said...

Certainly one of our oddest body-parts!

Splendid Little Stars said...

(and so now I'm reading it again)

If I was sipping on wine right now I'd be snorting it out my nose!

anitamombanita said...

you could have written about unusual ugliness, as in the language of politics these days...heehee... :)

Judie said...

If only I could walk and chew gum, I could take that video, Bruce. Are you ever going to write again???? We miss you!!!

Gattina said...

It also helps people to snore ! I have a nice example here at home ! Sometimes I think I am married to a chainsaw !

Annesphamily said...

How did I miss this???? Gee, I must have been blocking crazy Republicans attacking my daughter for her "Another Mama for Obama" magnet on her car! Gee, I thought the law changed and we were no longer free! Sigh!
I work for the ENT doc and this is my least favorite thing about the practice. I can look at anything but this! But the post is so interesting and you have such a thing for writing and making the words really come alive.
I hope you will read my V post. I wrote in honor of a sweet little girl who was brutally murdered here in Colorado.
Judie you are a gem! I so love knowing you!
Have a beautiful week! The weekend is coming!
Hugs Anne

Jenny said...

You are unbelievably clever!

I loved this re-do!

And it made me laugh just as hard this time...

You're a gem Miss Judie!

A+

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Gattina said...

After having read this post I will watch my uvula if it works when I switch from German to French !

PS. There is a crazy "Anonymous" raging himself out on your post. What a coward !