uvula
Definition - A small fleshy extrusion that hangs from the back of the soft palate. It plays an important role in generating speech sounds. For example, in languages such as Arabic, French, and Hebrew, it is used to create guttural sounds.
Note: English speakers, however, don't use this type of uvular consonant very often; instead, the uvula is used to prevent air from escaping through the nose when English speakers make sounds like /b/.






Example -
If you speak standard French, you use the uvula to produce the r sound — called the uvular trill — by vibrating the back of your tongue against it.

Etymology -
The word derives from the Latin uvola, small bunch of grapes, the diminutive of uva grape.

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from around 1400:
"Aboue þis instrument is vuula þat is þe palet of þe mouþ & helpiþ for to make soun."
(Translation: Above this instrument is [the] uvula that is the pallet of the mouth and helpith for to make sound.)
(Lanfranc's Cirurg. 261 )



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