School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr Carolyn Letts

Senior Lecturer



My work is driven by a fascination with mechanisms of language acquisition and language impairment in children. This motivates me to explore what language acquisition in typically developing children can tell us about factors underpinning language impairment, and to search cross-linguistically and across bilingual populations for evidence of these factors. I take an emergentist view of language acquisition, i.e. that different emerging skills underpinning language interact with each other and with characteristics of environmental input to influence outcome. I am particularly interested in how typical language development occurs in children in different linguistic and socio-economic contexts.


Qualified Speech and Language Therapist with interests and experience in paediatrics

Roles and Responsibilities

Degree Programme Director MA in Education Research, School of ECLS

Areas of expertise

Bi- and monolingual child language acquisition
Child language impairment


BA French/Linguistics
MRCSLT (Diploma)

Previous Positions

Lecturer, University of Reading


Member of Royal College of Speech and language Therapists
Member of Health Professions Council


Some knowledge of German

Google scholar: Click here.


Research Interests

Early characteristics of language impairment.
Assessment of children's language.
The assessment and treatment of language impaired children from bilingual backgrounds.

 Typical trajectories of language acquisition in bilingual children.

Current Work

Developing research on factors influencing early second language acquistion in children.

Specific aspects of bilingual language acquisition.

Socio-economic status and child language. 

Postgraduate Supervision

Language assessment in children.
Language impairment in children.
Bilingual language development and impairment in bilingual children.

Assessment and impairment of language in children with first language other than English.



gl-assessment: 'The New Reynell': Redevelopment and re-standardisation of the Reynell Developmental Language Scales (4th Edition). £134,000 (2009-11)


Undergraduate Teaching

Clinical Linguistics; 
Child language impairment: case-based problem solving;
Child language acquisition;
Research supervision at undergraduate, masters and MPhil/PhD levels.

Postgraduate Teaching

As above, for MSc in language Pathology