Tongue rolling, also known as tongue folding, involves curling up either side of the tongue so the edges almost touch at the tongue's centre. Tongue folding has often been used by schoolteachers as an example of how genetic traits are inherited in human beings. However, according to University of Delaware professor John H. McDonald, tongue folding as a hereditary trait is a myth that has been debunked by many research studies.
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Position a mirror against a wall or other sturdy surface. Make sure the mirror is roughly at eye level so you can observe your tongue as you try to roll it.
Stick out your tongue between your lips. Part your lips just enough so the tongue can come out. This will keep the tongue edges more firmly in place so the fold can be more clearly defined.
Bend either side of the tongue an upward direction, so that both edges turn up toward the centre of the tongue. The edges should touch, or almost touch at the centre, resulting in a clear line down the centre of the tongue.
Tips and warnings
- If you want to know if your children can roll their tongues, check each year from around age 6 to adolescence. A study of Japanese children in the middle of the 20th century, referenced by the University of Delaware website, indicated that around 20 per cent learnt to tongue roll between the ages of 7 and 12. This presents significant evidence against tongue rolling being a purely genetic trait.
- You may be able to fold your tongue a little, but not as much as your friends. This again puts pay to the black and white thinking that surrounds tongue-rolling. The University of Delaware website indicates a significant number of people fall within this category, which is not clearly defined.
- Don't exert too much effort in attempting to fold your tongue. A large portion of people will never be able to do it. Repeatedly attempting the exercise may cause your mouth to ache.
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