New Colleague: Philippa Cook

The linguistics department of the IEAS has welcomed a new member this term, Philippa Cook. She will present herself in this blog entry.

Philippa Cook
Philippa Cook

Philippa Cook
Office hour:  tuesday, 9-10 a.m.
Office: IG 3.212
Homepage at the IEAS:



Originally from Nottingham in England, I studied French, German and Linguistics at the University of Manchester (one of my favourite cities !) in the North-West of England. I really enjoyed languages at school and also loved travelling round and meeting people from different countries, so Modern Languages and Linguistics was a great choice for me to study. As part of my degree programme, I spent a year as an Erasmus student in Berlin (which also became one of my favourite cities) and I completed my PhD in Linguistics at the University of Manchester in 2001. I moved to Berlin after my PhD and worked first at the Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS) before moving to join Stefan Müller’s team at the Freie Universität Berlin. Currently, I am a member of the team led by Gert Webelhuth (IEAS, linguistics) here in Frankfurt.


I am interested in syntax and especially in how syntax interacts with information structure. For example, I look at non-canonical constructions and try to figure out under what contextual conditions a speaker would choose that structure over a different one. I am also looking at how constraints previously viewed as being purely down to syntax might actually be better explained by saying that the restrictions are due (at least in part) to information structure. This avenue seems particularly fitting when we have unclear judgements about the acceptability of a structure, when it improves with contextual support, or when it interacts with lexical semantics in a particular way. More recently I have become interested in looking at the role of collocation in syntax and in information structure and have become more and more interested in Corpus Linguistics.


In this summer term, I am teaching a Proseminar focusing on the Grammar of the English Noun Phrase. In the upcoming winter semester, I will be teaching an Introduction to Linguistics for bachelor students and a Hauptseminar (advanced level course) on the topic of Information Structure and Syntax in English.