Caroline Rowland is Director of the Language Development Department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands, Professor of First Language Acquisition at Radboud University, and Honorary Research Associate at the University of Liverpool, UK.
For over 20 years, she has been studying how young children learn to communicate with language, how the child's developing brain supports this process, and how it is affected by differences in children's environments; differences between languages, between families and between cultures. Amongst other projects, she is currently investigating why some children develop language more quickly than others, working with data from a large longitudinal project – the Language 0-5 project - that tracked the language development of 90 English-learning children from 6 months to 4;6 years. She is using these results to develop explanations why children differ in the speed with which they learn language, to study how a child’s family circumstances affect language development, and to give evidence-based advice to preschool teachers about how to help children reach their full potential.
Her textbook, Understanding Child Language Acquisition, is an introduction to some of the most important research on child language acquisition over the last fifty years, and to some of the most influential theories in the field. You can access here her recent Abralin talk, which summarises recent findings in language development, illustrating the insights they have given us into how the brain develops; and here you can hear her debate the Puzzle of Language Acquisition with Mike Frank at the 3rd Wilhelm Wundt Dialogue at Leipzig University.