Dr Petros Karatsareas
Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics
I hold a Ptychion (equivalent to BA Hons) in Greek Philology from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, an MPhil in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in Linguistics also from the University of Cambridge, which I was awarded in 2011.
I joined the University of Westminster in 2015 as a Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics. I am the Course Leader for the MA English Language and Linguistics and MA English Language and Literature. I am the Module Leader for Discourse Across Time, Language Contact and Change, and English Language and Linguistics Tutorial 2. I also teach seminars for Exploring Language, English Worldwide, and London Lives: Migrant London.
My research expertise lies in multilingualism with a focus on the languages of the UK’s minority ethnic communities, which are known as community, heritage, minority, or immigrant languages. I investigate how new forms of language emerge among urban ethnolinguistic minorities with Cypriot Greek in London as a case-in-point. In this context, I also explore issues of intergenerational transmission and maintenance, attitudes towards non-standard forms of heritage languages as well as issues of heritage language teaching and learning, and public engagement.
In the past, I worked in the fields of dialectology and historical linguistics focusing in particular in the study of morphosyntactic variation and change in sociolinguistic settings of language contact. In my Ph.D. dissertation, I pursued this avenue of research from a historical perspective looking at diachronic variation and change in the Modern Greek dialects of Asia Minor.
My research on Cypriot Greek has received the financial support of the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust through a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (2013), a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (2017), a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant (2017). I have also been awarded small grants from the Being Human Festival (2018) and the ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’ AHRC-funded OWRI programme.
In 2008, I won the R. H. Robins Prize of the Philological Society for the best submission to the Transactions of the Philological Society by a graduate student in the UK.
I have published findings of my research in leading journals including Diachronica, the International Journal of Bilingualism, Language Sciences, the Journal of Historical Linguistics, STUF – Language Typology and Universals, and the Journal of Greek Linguistics.
I am the Course Leader for the MA English Language and Linguistics and MA English Language and Literature. I am the Module Leader for Discourse Across Time, Language Contact and Change, and English Language and Linguistics Tutorial 2. I also teach seminars for Exploring Language, English Worldwide, and London Lives: Migrant London.
I am the primary supervisor of Giulia Pepe’s Ph.D. dissertation on translanguaging among post-2008 Italian migrants in London.
In the past, I have taught modules on historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and the history and varieties of English at the University of Cambridge and the University of Salford; on Greek linguistics at the Open University of Cyprus; and, on language contact in the history of the Turkish language at the University of the Aegean.
I have also supervised a number of undergraduate and master's dissertations on a variety of topics in the abovementioned areas.
I work on multilingualism focusing on the languages of the UK’s minority ethnic communities, which are known as community, heritage, minority, or immigrant languages.
I am interested in
― the contexts in which community languages are used in the UK;
― how new forms of language emerge among these communities as a result of their contact with English and of the distance from the countries of origin;
― why these languages are important for the communities who speak them but also society as a whole; and,
― how academic researchers can engage with the public and non-academic stakeholders (national and local government, policy makers, communities, media) to ensure that the value of the UK’s multilingualism is recognised.
In that context, I explore the factors that play a role in whether community languages will be passed on from the older to the younger generations. I am specifically looking at
― ideologies of monolingualism (the idea that people in the UK should only speak English);
― attitudes towards multilingualism (the idea of a language hierarchy whereby some languages like French and German are considered first rate languages whereas other are viewed second rate); and,
― attitudes towards non-prestigious forms of language (the idea that standard languages are correct and non-standard dialects are incorrect or improper).
I am also investigating issues of community language teaching and learning, that is, how community languages are taught in complementary schools (also known as supplementary or Saturday schools) and the role these schools play in language maintenance and ideology.
I address these issues based on my research and specialisation on London’s Greek Cypriot diaspora.
In the past, I have worked on various aspects of the history of Greek and its dialects. Drawing my data primarily from areas of inner Asia Minor (mostly Cappadocia and Pontus, both found in what today is Turkey), I have carried out extensive research on
― the diachronic development of gender agreement;
― the restructuring and simplification of noun inflection;
― the morphological realisation of direct objects;
― the cyclical development of the adpositional system; and,
― the synchronic status of determiner spreading in the language.
For more details on my research as well as for samples of my work, please visit the ‘Publications’ section above this text.
I welcome proposals from prospective Ph.D. candidates in any of the above areas.