I am a phonologist, interested both in theoretical and experimental aspects of spoken language.
My main domain of research lies in prosodic phonology and its interface with syntax and semantics. I have dedicated lots of work on the intonation of German and other languages. Together with Gisbert Fanselow, I have worked on similarities and differences between discontinuous nominal phrases in languages that have similar syntactic properties but different prosodic and tonal properties, and vice-versa.
Prosodic reflexes of information structure have also been an important area of my research, especially when prosody is the locus of unexpected patterns of accent and tonal scaling.
My career as a linguist started in Brussels where I studied German, English and Neurolinguistics at the Free University in Brussels. A few years later I went to Konstanz, Germany to study formal linguistics where I acquired my PhD in a formal account of German intonation. At the time it was a new topic of linguistics and the DFG financed my research for a few years in a project under the direction of Arnim von Stechow. After that, I spent a year (1989-1990) in Amherst where I learnt a lot about phonology and prosodic morphology.
I acquired my Habilitation in Tübingen in 1995 on German lexical stress in Optimality Theory. In the year 1999 I became professor for phonology in Potsdam, and founded the Research Unit on Information Structure that I also directed until 2009 when I moved to my last university, Goethe University in Frankfurt. There, I founded and directed the Graduate School ‘Nominal Modification’ until my retirement in 2019.