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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


Sana Kidwai


Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Fitzwilliam College

PhD thesis: Reanalysing the Urdu Case System

Research interests
1. Hindi-Urdu syntax
2. Case systems
3. Code-switching
4. South Asian languages

My PhD focuses on the Urdu case system. I am re-evaluating previous work and developing a new proposal for case assignment in Urdu under a minimalist framework. Previous literature on this topic is riddled with assumptions and gaps. To overcome this, I am systematically going through the case distribution, taking special care to consider different clausal environments. Some of the phenomena that I am considering are split-ergativity, differential-object-marking, differential-subject-marking and case alternations. My goal is not only to develop a neat and elegant proposal for Urdu case but to avoid using any language-specific machinery so that my proposal can be extended to other languages which show similar case behaviour.


Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?
I was inspired to pursue my research interests by my undergraduate supervisor. He was the one who first introduced me to syntax and I absolutely fell in love with it. My research style has been heavily influenced by him. When the time came, he was the one to push me to apply to PhD programmes. I was initially hesitant, but his encouragement gave me the confidence I needed and I went for it.