I am an associate professor in runology and Scandinavian language history, and a Marie Curie fellow at the Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies.
My main research interests are runology and medieval epigraphy, historical sociolinguistics, bilingualism and biscriptality, and historical linguistic landscapes.
At the moment, I lead the project Language switching and script mixing: multilingual landscapes of medieval Scandinavia (LangMix), which focuses on the encounter between the runic and Latin written traditions. On the basis of inscriptions where both Latin and the Scandinavian vernaculars, Roman letters and runes are used together, I study 1) the language and script proficiency of the producers and readers of these texts, 2) the symbolic and indexical values connected to different languages and alphabets, and 3) the mutual status of the runic and the Latin epigraphic traditions.
Another of my main research interests concerns the development of historical writing systems, and the relationship between graphemic and phonological variation and change, both from a structural and sociolinguistic perspective.
In my doctoral dissertation, "Changing writing systems: a graphematic and palaeographic study of the Swedish medieval runic inscriptions", I studied the changes that the runic writing system went through during the High and Late Middle Ages in Sweden, when the runic tradition came in contact with the Latin written culture. After the Viking Age, the runic alphabet was significantly expanded, and old spelling practices and writing conventions changed substantially. My research resulted in a deeper knowledge of these changes' chronology, of different local writing traditions, and of the developments that written and spoken Old Swedish went through during the 12th and 13th century.
During my PhD, I also collaborated as a doctoral fellow in the project "Runic Writing in the Germanic Languages" at the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and in the project "Reading and interpreting runic inscriptions: the theory and method of runology" at the Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. I am also affiliated to the project Modes of Modification.
- Runology - General introduction (BA NFI1100 and MA NFI4100)
- Runic inscriptions of the Middle Ages (BA NFI2102 and MA NFI4122)
- Runic Inscriptions from the Migration Period to the Viking Age (BA NFI2101 and MA NFI4123)
- Philology in an interdisciplinary perspective
Previously, I have held courses in runology and Swedish as a foreign language at Uppsala University, as well as guest lectures and seminars at Ca' Foscari University of Venice and at L'Orientale University of Naples.
- Palumbo, Alessandro (in press): How Latin is runic Latin? Thoughts on the influence of Latin writing on medieval runic orthography. In Edith Marold & Christiane Zimmermann (ed.), Vergleichende Studien zur runischen Graphematik: Methodische Ansätze und digitale Umsetzung. (Runrön.) Uppsala: Institutionen för nordiska språk, Uppsala universitet.
- Blennow, Anna & Palumbo, Alessandro (in press): Epigrafiska områden i medeltidens Västergötland: ett samspel mellan latinsk och runsk skriftkultur. [Epigraphic areas in medieval Västergötland: An interplay between Latin and runic script culture]. Fornvännen 117.
- Palumbo, Alessandro (in press): Analysing bilingualism and biscriptality in medieval Scandinavian epigraphic sources: a sociolinguistic approach. Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics.
- Medeltida runor i Sverige (in press). In Jonas Nordin (ed.), Kodex: Boken i medeltidens Sverige. (Mediehistoriskt Arkiv.) Lund: Mediehistoria, Lunds Universitet.
- Palumbo, Alessandro & Harjula, Janne (in press): Material and Written Culture in Medieval Turku: Runic Inscriptions from an Urban Environment. In Kendra Willson (ed.), Runes in Finland. Helsinki: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland.
- Palumbo, Alessandro (in press): Medeltida runristade lösföremål från Uppsala län. In Thorgunn Snædal & Magnus Källström (ed.), Tyde den som kan.