The Team

Ioanna Sitaridou

Principal Investigator

 Ioanna Sitaridou is Professor of Spanish and Historical Linguistics at the University of Cambridge where she also served as Head of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese from 2019-2021; Co-Director for the Cambridge Centre for Greek Studies; Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies in Linguistics and Modern and Medieval Languages at Queens’ College, Cambridge; and Co-Editor-in-Chief for the linguistics journal Glossa Contact.

Prior to her Cambridge appointment in 2004 Prof. Ioanna Sitaridou worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Research Centre on Multilingualism at the University of Hamburg, investigating word order in Old Romance and the licensing/loss of null subjects in the history of French and Occitan (2002-2005), with Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Meisel.

She received her PhD in Romance linguistics at the University of Manchester (2002) under the supervision of Prof. Nigel Vincent. She holds an MA in Linguistics from University College London (UCL) (1998). She also holds a BA in French Philology from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1997), part of which was spent under the Erasmus scheme at the University of Lisbon (1997) studying Portuguese and Romance linguistics with Prof. Ana Maria Martins.

Her main areas of research are comparative and diachronic syntax of the Romance languages, in particular 13th Century Spanish, as well as dialectal Spanish, and dialectal Greek, especially Pontic Greek. The areas in which she carries out research are the relationship between syntactic change and acquisition, language contact and sociolinguistics, micro-variation and change, heritage languages and change, and phylogenies. She has published many papers in Glossa, Lingua, Diachronica, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, among others. She is known to take ‘orthodoxies’ and turn them upside-down thanks to meticulous consideration of data coupled with cutting-edge linguistic theory. She is one of the key advocates for a holistic approach to language contact incorporating findings from syntactic theory, variation, language acquisition and sociolinguistics and she has proposed that there is no need for a specialised theory of language contact. She has been awarded numerous fellowships at Princeton, Oslo, Harvard, UFB in Salvador, Brazil and CNRS-Inalco Paris. She has lectured all over the world delivering over 250 talks and lectures.

She has extensive experience field-working and researching endangered and low prestige languages in socio-politically sensitive contexts such as Romani-speaking communities in Dendropotamos, Thessaloniki; Vlach-speaking communities in Trikala; Spanish in La Palma, Canary Islands with the COSER team; and Llanito in Gibraltar. Undoubtedly, most of this experience has been gained out of 16 years of field working in Turkey where she took Romeyka out of oblivion (e.g., the Today programme in BBC Radio 4, The Independent, Der Spiegel, Sabah, etc.) and turned into a topic of global discussion by publishing papers in international peer-reviewed journals, while putting forward a new phylogeny of Greek positing the existence of more than one Greek language. She used this research and the resulting publicity to educate on bilingualism, promote linguistic self-esteem, especially for female speakers in remote/underprivileged areas, with the aim to promote heritage languages and cultures as a way of maintaining social cohesion in direct counterpoint to the ideology underpinning nationalism.



Current Collaborators

Erol Sağlam

Collaborator & Co-author
Dr Erol Sağlam is a social anthropologist working on masculinities, bureaucracies, statecraft, and societal violence as well as on collective memory and intangible cultural heritage in contemporary Turkey. After his undergraduate and MA studies in political science at Bogazici University in Istanbul, he completed his doctoral research at Birkbeck, University of London in 2017. After his PhD, Dr Saglam worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Stockholm University and Freie Universität Berlin. He is currently a lecturer at Istanbul Medeniyet University as of 2020 and a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge. His collaboration with Dr Sitaridou focuses on heritage Romeyka-speakers in urban contexts to come up with potential preservation-revitalisation pathways.

Dimitris Michelioudakis

Collaborator & Co-author

Dr Dimitris Michelioudakis is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He  holds a BA in Greek Philology from the University of Athens and a MPhil and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge. His doctoral research, supervised by Prof. Ian Roberts and Prof. Ioanna Sitaridou, focused on the syntax of dative arguments, including a micro-comparative study of inherent Case in contemporary and historical varieties of Greek. In the past he worked as a post-doctoral researcher on the ERC-funded project LANGELIN (‘Meeting Darwin’s last challenge: toward a global tree of human languages and genes’, PI: Prof. Giuseppe Longobardi) at the University of York. As part of his micro-comparative research, he has co-authored, with Prof. Ioanna Sitaridou, several papers on different aspects of the syntax of Romeyka and Pontic Greek, such as dative substitutes, person restrictions in pronominal constructions, and multiple wh-fronting.

Stavroula Tsiplakou

Collaborator & Co-author
Dr Stavroula Tsiplakou received her BA in Greek Philology from the University of Athens, a MPhil in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in Linguistics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Prior to her appointment as Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Open University of Cyprus in 2010, she taught at the University of Hull in the U.K. (1995-1998), at Simon Fraser University (1998-2001) and at the Department of Education of the University of Cyprus (2001-2009). Her current research focuses on syntax, language acquisition, pragmatics and language variation, and bi/dialectalism. She has co-authored the new National Curricula for Language Arts in Cyprus and in Greece. In the Romeyka project she works on sociolinguistics and language attitudes.

Past Collaborators

Peter Mackridge


Peter Mackridge is Professor Emeritus of Modern Greek at the University of Oxford and a visiting professor at King’s College London. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens. His groundbreaking research on Pontic Greek spoken in Turkey has led directly to the current scholarly activity on the topic. His books include The Modern Greek Language (1985), Dionysios Solomos (1989) and Language and National Identity in Greece, 1766-1976(2009). He is co-author of Greek: A Comprehensive Grammar of the Modern Language (1997) and Greek: An Essential Grammar of the Modern Language (2004). All five of these books have also been published in Greek. He is co-editor, with Eleni Yannakakis, of Ourselves and Others: the Development of a Greek Macedonian Cultural Identity since 1912 (1997) and Contemporary Greek Fiction in a United Europe: From Local History to the Global Individual (2004).

A collection of his essays in Greek on Greek poets entitled Εκμαγεία της ποίησηςappeared in 2008, and he has published almost 100 academic articles and book chapters in English and Greek. He has edited Greek editions of novels by Kosmas Politis (1982 and 1988) and edited both the Greek text and the English translations of The Free Besieged and Other Poems by Dionysios Solomos (2000).

Nicolaos Neocleous

PhD student & Co-author

Dr Nicolaos Neocleous holds a  PhD in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and Linguistics, University of Cambridge. ‘Word order and information structure in Romeyka: A syntax and semantics interface account of order in a minimalist system‘.(

Stergios Chatzikyriakidis

Research Assistant & Co-author

Dr Stergios Chatzikyriakidis holds a BA in Greek Philology from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, an MSc in Computational Linguistics and a PhD in Linguistics from King’s College London. He is currently a research fellow at the University of Gothenburg, working at the Centre for Linguistic Theory and Studies in Probability, and a visiting research fellow at King’s College, London. He got a three-year post-doctoral research at Royal Holloway, working on the project ‘Lexical Semantics in Type Theory with Coercive subtyping’ under the supervision of Professor Zhaohui Luo. After that he was a researcher at the University of Montpellier 2, LIRMM, CNRS, working for the ANR project, Polymnie. His work concentrates on the use of Modern Type Theories in representing Natural Language semantics as well as the implementation of these semantics in interactive proof assistants like Coq or Plastic.

He is also a teaching assistant at the Open University of Cyprus. Prior to his post at Royal Holloway, he has worked extensively on the syntax of weak object pronouns in a number of Modern Greek dialects (Southern Italian, Cypriot and Pontic Greek) using the parsing-oriented Dynamic Syntax framework. His interest in various aspects of the Pontic Greek clitic system has developed into an ongoing specific interest in the clitic system of Romeyka, and also to a more general interest concerning the syntax of the dialect as a whole.  His current research with regards Romeyka is an in-depth examination into the person restrictions found in the clitic system of Romeyka, and a comparison of these findings with equivalent data from Pontic Greek.

Adam Gibbins

Research Assistant

Adam Gibbins graduated from Queens’ College, University of Cambridge in Linguistics in June 2013. Aside from devoting two years on top of his studies to acquire Modern Greek, Adam focused heavily on the linguistics of the Greek language, including an undergraduate dissertation on the diachrony of negation and modality in Greek, supervised by Dr Ioanna Sitaridou. Adam has played a part in the organisation of several workshops on Greek linguistics at Queens’ College, and continues to work closely with Dr Sitaridou as a Research Assistant.

Laurentia Schreiber

MA Student & Co-author

Laurentia Schreiber wrote her Master’s thesis on the sociolinguistic situation of Romeyka under the co-tutelle supervision of Prof. Dr. Horst Simon and Prof. Ioanna Sitaridou.

Helen Whimpanny

Research Assistant

After graduating in Spanish and Portuguese from Newnham College, University of Cambridge in June 2012, Helen Whimpanny has been working with Dr Ioanna Sitaridou as a Research Assistant. Her interests include Romance syntax, specifically clitic climbing and the null-subject parameter in Ibero-Romance varieties, which formed the topic of her undergraduate dissertation. Whilst studying as an undergraduate, she assisted in the organisation of the Second Workshop on ‘Romeyka and Asia Minor Greek’ at Queens’ College on 1st April 2012.

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