by Jeanette Sakel
We are incredibly lucky that Petros Karatsareas decided to work with us! More specifically, he put in an application to the British Academy for a postdoctoral fellowship – to work with me within the Bristol Centre for Linguistics on immigrant languages – and he was successful in getting funded! That means, that he’ll be with us for another three years, looking at innovations in the language of Cypriot Greek speakers in London.
Most of our level 3 students know Petros, as he supervised a variety of level 3 projects (both in Linguistics and English Language).
Petros received his PhD from Cambridge University, looking at innovations in Cappadocian Greek, a variety spoken in Asia Minor, spoken in close contact with Turkish. I had known Cappadocian Greek as a language heavily influenced by language contact (which, I think, Petros would not disagree with). Yet, Petros found that some of the innovations attributed to contact were indeed features either present in the language previously, or changes found in other varieties of Greek elsewhere.
This link between historical linguistics and contact linguistics is really an important aspect of what we’re doing (of course there are other important figures working in both contact and diachrony, such as Sally Thomason). What Petros is now going to do, is using his background on ongoing (rather than historical) changes: what are the innovations in Cypriot Greek spoken by bilinguals in London – and how is the language changing? What is possible, what is impossible? What can we learn from these innovations when looking at long-term contact, i.e. grammatical and lexical borrowing?
We’re very much looking forward to work with Petros – and to welcome him in the Bristol Centre for Linguistics.