Q:

What is the function of the human tongue?

A:

Quick Answer

The human tongue performs a crucial role in the ability to speak as well as in chewing and swallowing food. The tongue is a strong muscular organ anchored to the back of the mouth at the hyoid bone.

Know More
What is the function of the human tongue?
Credit: Michael Bentley CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

The structure of the tongue leads to an understanding of its functions. The moist pink tissue that covers the muscle of the tongue is known as mucosa. Thousands of taste buds cover the surface; these act as nerves and connect the tongue through the nervous system to the brain. All parts of the tongue are able to detect the major tastes, which include salty, sweet, bitter and sour, as it helps to chew food efficiently and pass it down the digestive tract.

The action of the tongue is different depending on its function. When eating, for example, the action of the tongue is relatively strong. In speech, however, the tongue is more relaxed, and its action is quicker. More delicate control of the tongue allows for the many nuances of speech. As such, the tongue acts in concert with the ear as it hears the sound and then the tongue can fine-tune it. The functions of the tongue are complex and require a relatively wide range of motion and control.

Learn more in Muscles
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Is the tongue a muscle?

    A:

    The tongue is mostly made up of muscle, but it also contains fat, glands and a mucus membrane. The extrinsic and intrinsic muscles in the tongue are skeletal muscles, which means that they are voluntarily controlled by the central nervous system.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Can a person swallow their tongue?

    A:

    It isn't really possible for a person to swallow their own tongue. A small fold of tissue called the frenulum linguae holds the tongue in place even during a seizure.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does it mean if you can tie a cherry stem with your tongue?

    A:

    If someone can tie a cherry stem into a knot with their tongue, that suggests they may be a good kisser due to the oral dexterity required to perform the feat. It is a common trick performed at bars due to the presence of Maraschino cherries as drink garnishes.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the little bumps on your tongue?

    A:

    Little white bumps on the tongue can be related to enlarged papillae caused by an irritation of the taste buds, states WebMD. Fungiform papillae are the small bumps, which consist of taste buds, that are found on the tongue. Although certain foods can cause an irritation, other causes for painful white bumps are an injury, stress and hormonal problems, states DermNet NZ.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore