Frans Plank studied at the Universities of Regensburg, York, Edinburgh and Hannover before becoming Professor of Linguistics at Universität Konstanz in 1983.
He was a cofounder of the association for Linguistics in 1994 and edited its publication, and served as the editor of Linguistic Typology from its foundation in 1997 until 2018. He became a member of the council of the Philological Society in 2018. He has been associated with Faculty for Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at Oxford since 2010.
His research interests include morphology (inflection and word formation), syntax, prosody and lexicon; typology and historical linguistics; Germanic; and the history of linguistics (17th century & after).