a characteristic of an organism that results from increased use or disuse of an organ or the effects of the environment and cannot be inheritedSee also Lamarckism
Learning To Speak More Than 12 Languages
Have you ever dreamed of being able to speak dozens of languages? A new book, Babel No More by journalist Michael Erard, traces the history of people who can do just that: hyperpolyglots, people who speak 11 or more languages. Obviously, hyperpolyglotism is a trained skill. No one just wakes up speaking multiple languages, but there may be factors that make it easier. As Erard …
Do babies speak with an accent?
We all know that infants don’t actually speak with an accent because they don’t really speak at all. But for a long time scientists presumed that infants’ brains could not process sounds at all. Professor Patricia Kuhl, the director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Learning at the University of Washington, wanted to test this notion. Kuhl studied infants between six and eight months …
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
A nonhereditary change of function or structure in a plant or animal made in response to the environment. Acquired characteristics include bodily changes brought about by disease or by repeated use or disuse of a body part (as in the building or atrophy of muscle tissue). The heritability of acquired characteristics was advocated by certain biological theorists like Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and rejected by Charles Darwin in his formulation of the theory of evolution.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.