The NYU Linguistics Department was saddened to learn that one of our PhD alumni, Rahul Balusu, unexpectedly passed away last week in Hyderabad, India. Rahul was an assistant professor of computational linguistics at the English and Foreign Languages University. His dissertation at NYU was on the role of the obligatory contour principle in Telugu, while most of his subsequent work focused on the syntax and semantics of Telugu and other Dravidian languages.
A memorial website created by Diti Bhadra contains links to his research and to pictures of Rahul with friends and colleagues.
Some of the topics of Rahul’s publications are distributive reduplication; epistemic indefinites; free choice, positive polarity and negative polarity items; unconditionals; property concepts; light verbs; sluicing; wh-exclamatives; a quotative complementizer; and polar and alternative questions.
Rahul traveled frequently to present his work around the world, including Barcelona, Delhi, Seoul, Konstanz, and Paris, just to name a few. He was well-known for his expertise in Dravidian languages, his kindness toward younger scholars, and his generosity in helping his former colleagues at NYU when we reached out with requests like obtaining recordings of Indian English speakers or materials about the linguistic politics of India. We looked forward to his periodic swings through New York on his way to conferences in other parts of the United States.
Rahul was a quiet, warm, funny, and friendly person, and was much beloved by his students and colleagues at both NYU and EFLU. We mourn his passing and we send our condolences to his family and colleagues in India.