Universiteit Leiden

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Hossam Ahmed


Dr. H.I.A.A. Ahmed
+31 71 527 4417

Hossam Ahmed is a Lecturer at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies and coordinator of the Arabic language courses in Leiden University. His research interests include (Arabic) computational linguistics, Minimalist Syntax, Digital Humanities, and Teaching Arabic as a foreign Language. He received a Comenius Teaching Fellowship from NRO in 2020 and is a member of the Comenius Network.

More information about Hossam Ahmed

Fields of interest

  • Syntactic Theory
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Digital Humanities
  • Case Theory
  • Arabic linguistics
  • Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language
  • Arabic Language and Culture


I am a linguist who is interested natural language syntax.   In particular, I am interested in the theoretical and computational implications of sentence derivation within the Minimalist Program of syntactic theory.  Specifically, I have been interested in the locality of syntactic operations and how it affects the design of derivational algorithms, especially label-free grammar and phase-based derivations.
My future research agenda entails building upon the groundwork laid in theoretical linguistics in testing the computational implications of the Minimalist Program.  I engage with the extensive body of scholarship that reduces the derivational machinery to simple operations (merge, spell-out). One of the main tenets of the Minimalist Program is that grammar design is computationally efficient.  Computational efficiency is used in many core components in the research program such as Phase Theory, Minimal Link Condition, and others.  Although computational efficiency is a commonly used motivation in general terms, computational implementations of various components of MP is an active research area.
In pursuing computational efficiency, I examine components of a label-free minimalist grammar are essential in parsing.  By focusing on syntactic interpretation rather than derivation, I extend the coverage of generative syntax, whose goal is to account for language competence, to performance.  Implementing the theoretical questions computationally improves the quality of state-of-the-art in natural language parsing.  Faster and more accurate parsers are essential in most Natural Language Processing technologies such as question answering systems.

Teaching and Research Interest

  • Arabic Digital Humanities
  • Arabic as a Foreign/Second Language
  • Arabic stylometry



  • PhD in Theoretical Linguistics, University of Utah (2015)
  • MA in Theoretical Linguistics, University of Utah (2007)


  • Lecturer, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, Leiden University (2014 - )
  • Instructor (lecturer), Department of Languages and Literature, University of Utah (2009 – 2014)
  • Teaching assistant, Department of Linguistics, University of Utah (2004 – 2007)

Grants and awards

  • NRO Comenius Teaching Fellowship Grant (2020 – 2021): “Including Heritage Learners in Arabic language Courses.”
  • EC Erasmus Mundus Scholarship (2007 – 2008): Language and communication Technology.
  • Fulbright Pre-doctoral Scholarship (2004 – 2007): linguistics, University of Utah.

Key publications

Ahmed H.I.A.A. (2020), Embedding Critical Thinking in International Studies Language Programs. In: Urrea C. (Ed.) Proceedings of the MIT LINC 2019 Conference. no. 3: EasyChair. 1-11.

Ahmed H.I.A.A. (2019), Sample Size in Arabic Authorship Verification. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Natural Language and Speech Processing.: Association for Computational Linguistics. 84-91.

Ahmed H.I.A.A. (2019), Distance-Based Authorship Verification Across Modern Standard Arabic Genres. In: Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Arabic Corpus Linguistics.: Association for Computational Linguistics. 89--96.

Ahmed H.I.A.A. (2018), The Role of Linguistic Feature Categories in Authorship Verification, Procedia Computer Science 142(214): 214-221.

Ahmed H.I.A.A. (2017), Dynamic Similarity Threshold in Authorship Verification: Evidence from Classical Arabic, Procedia Computer Science 117: 145 - 152.


  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies

Work address

Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden
Room number 2.51


  • No relevant ancillary activities
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