Professor Colin Phillips

Professor of Linguistics

I am Professor of Linguistics at the University of Oxford (from January 2024), where I am also a Professorial Fellow at Somerville College.

My research spans multiple areas of linguistics, broadly centered around psycholinguistics. I am impressed by the rich structure of human language, especially the countless details that we are not consciously aware of. I want to know how children learn this. I want to know how those structures are encoded and manipulated in cognitive and neuroscientific terms. These questions have taken me on a journey involving many different tools, languages, and fields of research, together with many wonderful students. Recent areas of focus for our team include linguistic illusions, linguistic predictions, and the relation between speaking and understanding.

I have long been an advocate for building connections across diverse areas of language study, under the umbrella of Language Science. I have devoted much of my energy over the past 20 years to supporting and promoting interdisciplinary language research, in fields ranging from education to engineering. This includes an interest in how to prepare students for interdisciplinary research and for diverse career pathways, and an interest in communicating language science to broad audiences.

Originally from the UK, I am very happy to be back in Oxford, where my undergraduate degree had a focus on medieval German. I spent the intervening 33 years in the United States, where I continue to maintain close ties with the University of Maryland.

Visit my website for more details on my interests, activities, writings, etc.

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