The tongue moves the food around in the mouth, forming the bolus of food and saliva. The tongue is also involved in speech. Some of the skeletal muscles in the tongue are used to change its shape. These muscles are not attached to bones, but are contained completely within the tongue. Other muscles, which are attached to the bones of the skull and in the neck, are used to change the tongue's location.

The surface of the tongue has projections of tissue called papillae. Some of the papillae contain taste buds that allow individuals to perceive tastes of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. At the back of the mouth, in the oropharynx, individuals perceive a fifth taste that is stimulated by an amino acid called glutamate, found in the seasoning monosodium glutamate, or MSG.

Tonsils are found on the rearmost area of the tongue and in the surrounding soft tissue of the oropharynx. The tonsils are aggregates of lymphoid tissue that screen the incoming

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