I am an associate professor in runology and Scandinavian language history, and a Marie Curie fellow at the Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies.
Background and academic interests
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, and on inscriptions where both Latin and the Scandinavian vernaculars, Roman letters and runes are used together.
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.
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.
- Palumbo, Alessandro & Harjula, Janne (in press): Material and Written Culture in Medieval Turku: Runic Inscriptions on Stave Vessels. In Kendra Willson (ed.), Runes in Finland. (Runrön.) Uppsala: Institutionen för nordiska språk, Uppsala universitet.