Dr Saurov Syed

MA PhD University of Southern California, MA MPhil The English & Foreign Languages University Hyderabad


Academic Positions

Feb 2018 - Present: Lecturer, University of Auckland.

Aug 2017 - Jan 2018: Lecturer, Harvard University.


I am a Lecturer in the Linguistics department at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. I was previously appointed as a Lecturer at Harvard University, and I finished my Ph.D in Linguistics in 2017 from the Department of Linguistics at the University of Southern California. My research interest is in theoretical syntax, and everything that comes its way. I have investigated theoretical issues in several Indo-Aryan languages, where the focus of my study has been the syntax of numerals and phase theory, argument-structure of the noun, the syntax of negation, and the syntax of the yes/no particle. Currently I am interested in investigating typological patterns from different languages and language families, and extending theoretical notions to account for these cross-linguistic patterns. 

Research | Current

  • Theoretical syntax
  • Structure of noun phrases
    • Numerals and phase-theory
    • argument structure of the noun
    • cyclicity inside noun phrases
  • The syntax of the yes/no particle across languages 
  • Cross-linguistic distribution and co-occurence of non-article determiners

Teaching | Current

LINGUIST 200 Syntax

LINGUIST 300 Advanced Syntax

Postgraduate supervision

*I am currently seeking motivated post-graduate students to work on various topics in theoretical syntax. I particularly welcome enquiries from prospective researchers interested in topics related to my areas of expertise and my ongoing projects*. 

Ongoing Post-graduate projects that I am supervising:

Nouns and nominal system in Nasioi 

Possessors and word-order alternations in Madurese

The 'is-is' construction in English, and its usage over time


2016-2017: University of Southern California Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship 

2016-2017: University Outstanding Teaching Assistant, University of Southern California

2016-2017: Excellence in Teaching in the category of Linguistics Award, University of Southern California

2015-2016: Excellence in Teaching in the category of Linguistics Award, University of Southern California

2014-2015: University of Southern California Advanced Graduate Merit Award

2010-2011: University of Southern California Graduate Merit Award

Areas of expertise

  • Theoretical syntax
  • Cross-linguistic structure of noun-phrases
    • including but not limited to the syntax of adjectives, determiners, demonstratives, numerals, quantifiers, arguments, relative clauses
  • Information structure in the syntax
  • Cross-linguistic distribution of non-article determiners
  • Syntax of yes/no questions

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Hsu, B., & Syed, S. (2019). Variation in the co-occurrence of indexical elements: Evidence for split indexical projections in DPs. In R. Stockwell, O'Leary M, Z. Xu, Z. L. Zhou (Eds.) Proceedings of the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 188-197. Somerville, MA, USA: Cascadilla Press. Related URL.
  • Syed, S., & Simpson, A. (2017). On the DP/NP status of nominal projections in Bangla: Consequences for the theory of phases. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 2 (1)10.5334/gjgl.186
  • Syed, S., & Simpson, A. (2017). On the DP/NP Status of Nominal Projections in Bangla: Consequences for the Theory of Phases. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 2 (1), 1-24.
  • Syed, S. (2017). The structure of noun phrases in Bengali: What it tells us about phases and the universality of DPs University of Southern California. University of Southern California.
  • Syed, S., & Simpson, A. (2017). On the existence of DPs and bi-phasal nominals in Bangla. Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 509-518. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Menon, M. M., & Syed, S. (Eds.) (2017). Formal approaches to South Asian Languages: Proceedings of FASAL 6. University of Konstanz. Pages: 140.
  • Syed, S., & Dash, B. (2017). A unified account of the yes/no particle in Hindi, Bangla, and Odia. In M. Y. Erlewine (Ed.) Proceedings of GLOW in Asia XI, 1, 201-212. Cambridge, MA: MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
  • Syed, S. (2016). Decomposing definiteness: Arguments for a Split-D domain in Bangla. In K. Kim, P. Umbal, T. Block, Q. Chan, T. Cheng, K. Finney, M. Katz, S. Nickel-Thompson, L. Shorten (Eds.) Proceedings of the 33rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 390-397. Somerville, MA.

Contact details

Primary office location

ARTS 2 - Bldg 207
Level 2, Room 212
New Zealand