Dr Petros Karatsareas

Dr Petros Karatsareas

I am Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and Course Leader of the English Language and Linguistics MA and the English Language and Literature MA. I hold a Ptychion (equivalent to BA Hons) in Greek Philology from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2006), an M.Phil. in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge (2007), and a Ph.D. in Linguistics also from the University of Cambridge (2011).

I am Co-Director of the London branch of the Bilingualism Matters network. In the past, I have served as Co-Convenor of the Special Interest Group on Multilingualism within the British Association for Applied Linguistics, Co-Director of the Cyprus Centre at Westminster, and Trustee of the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education.

I specialise in the sociolinguistics of multilingualism. I explore language practices and language ideologies in contexts of migration and transnational mobility with a focus on the UK and primarily London. I am especially interested in ideologies around, and attitudes towards, non-standardised varieties or otherwise minoritised and hierarchised linguistic resources and repertoires. Working on·with·for minoritised groups of migrant origin, I examine the role language plays in processes and experiences of discrimination, precarisation, deskilling, and downward occupational mobility among people on the move. I am also interested in community language education in diasporic settings and the role different educational initiatives play in shaping language practices and ideologies. To this date, I have pursued these avenues of research through ethnographically-oriented investigations of different groups of speakers of Greek in London, including people who migrated to the UK from Albania, Cyprus, and Greece at different times in recent history and under varying social conditions.

I am currently leading three externally-funded research projects:

“Makers, advocates, and users of language policy as co-creators of sociolinguistic research: onward migrants in London”. This project examines the linguistic challenges that three groups of onward migrants in the UK face in their everyday lives (people who, before migrated to the UK, had migrated from Albania to Greece; from Brazil to Italy; and, from Colombia to Greece); the linguistic needs that they have; and the extent to which these are known and met by existing policy makers and policy advocates.

“Migrant food, languages, and identities in the dawn of the post-Brexit and COVID-19 era”. This project examines how migrants who work in Greek and Italian hospitality businesses in London use the languages they speak, the knowledge they have about Greek and Italian food, and their social networks of other migrants in order to respond to the challenges created by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Trajectories of Albanian migration: social and linguistic dynamics in Albania, Kosovo, Greece, Italy, and the UK”. This project seeks to develop an international network for the study of Albanian migration. The main activities include (a) networking with academic specialists in Albanian migration and non-academic stakeholders who support Albanian migrants, and (b) ethnographic fieldwork in sites and contexts that are crucial for the understanding of Albanian migration both as a larger sociohistorical and economic phenomenon, and as a lived experience for tens of thousands of people in Europe.

In the past, I specialised in the study of contact-induced language change. In my Ph.D. dissertation, I looked at diachronic change in the morphosyntax of the Modern Greek dialects of inner Asia Minor (Cappadocian, Pontic, Pharasiot, Silliot). I 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. 

My research 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), and a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant (2017). I have also been awarded flexible funding from the ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’ AHRC-funded OWRI programme, the Policy Support Fund and the Participatory Research Fund of Research England, and the Additional QR and Additional RCIF Grant Allocations of UKRI.

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 the International Journal of the Sociology of Language, the International Journal of Bilingualism, the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, the International Journal of Bilingual Education and BilingualismLanguages, Society & PolicyDiachronicaLanguage Sciences, the Journal of Greek LinguisticsCahiers du Centre d’ Études Chypriotes; the Journal of Historical Linguistics and STUF – Language Typology and Universals as well as in edited volumes published by Cambridge University PressJohn BenjaminsBrill and Multilingual Matters. I have forthcoming chapters Routledge and UCL Press; a special issue on community language education in the UK in the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism co-edited with Katie Harrison; entries in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, the Encyclopedia of Greek Language and Linguistics, the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of World Englishes, the ; a monograph on Greek complementary schools in the UK co-authored with Alexandra Georgiou, which will be published by Palgrave Macmillan; and, an edited volume on language repertoires, practices, and identities in minoritised Greek-speaking settings co-edited with Matthew John Hadodo and Elena Ioannidou.

Public and Community Engagement

I am actively involved in a range of initiatives raising awareness about the value and importance of multilingualism for multilingual individuals, diasporic communities and society as a whole.

In 2023, together with Rexhina Ndoci, we hosted “Speak Alb!” as part of the Difference Festival of the University of Westminster. This was a panel where Albanian voices deconstruct the powerful xenophobic narratives that demonise, homogenise, and dehumanise Albanian-speaking migrants in the UK, and which are widely reproduced in British society including in the media and even by the UK government drawning on research findings, evidence-based argumentation, engagement with civil society, community contribution, cultural creativity, and the sharing of migrants’ own lived experiences of migration.

In the same year, together with the project team of the “Migrant food, languages, and identities in the dawn of the post-Brexit and COVID-19 era” project, we organised the interactive event “Greek and Italian migrant foodways in London: a sensory experience” as part of the Labour Migration Research Group showcase event at Regent Cinema. We transformed the cinema bar into a Greek taverna and an Italian trattoria, where attendees had the opportunity to immerse themselves into diverse dining experiences shaped by stimuli for all the senses of the human body. Attendeed tasted both familiar and more adventurous Greek and Italian dishes, while members of the team guided the audience through negotiations and contestations of authenticity and food entrepreneurship. 

In 2019, Dr Anna Charalambidou (Middlesex University) and I launched the Grenglish Projecta public engagement initiative that brought together members of the UK’s Greek Cypriot diaspora in a crowdsourcing effort to collect linguistic material that reflects the community’s linguistic history. 

In 2018, I was awarded a small grant with Athena Mandis (QMUL) to organise a tour of Greek Cypriot London as part of the AHRC/British Academy-funded Being Human festival. The tour traced the contribution of the Greek Cypriot diaspora to London’s multiculturalism following the route of the 29 bus, a path that is emblematic of the diaspora’s historic northward expansion. 

Sustainable Development Goals
In brief

Research areas

Sociolinguistics, Multilingualism, Migration, Diaspora, Historical Linguistics and Greek Language

Supervision interests

Sociolinguistics, Multilingualism, Migration, Diasporas, Ethnography, Historical Linguistics and Greek Language