Sunday, July 26, 2020

Remembering Rahul Balusu

I have just learned that Rahul Balusu has passed away. 

We overlapped at NYU, but I did not really interact with him until LISSIM 2015 in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh in India. I gave lectures on negation, and I remember the audience being particularly sophisticated including Rahul, Utphal Lahiri and Hedde Zeijstra.

We all divided up into working groups with the students, and I somehow found myself in the Dravidian group where there were representatives of Malyalam and Telegu. Of course, Rahul was also in this group. I remember having a great time with them discussing the properties of negation and NPIs in the Dravidian languages at tea breaks, at lunch and after the classes late into the night. It was a syntactician’s dream.

I found Rahul to be very friendly, smart and eager to discuss various approaches (even though I ultimately do not think I convinced him of mine). After LISSIM, I felt we were not only colleagues, but friends. I wish in retrospect I had tried to get to know him earlier when we were both at NYU. I am very sad that we have lost him so early in his career.

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