Organisation och personal

Alessandro Palumbo

doktorand vid Institutionen för nordiska språk

018-471 1291
Engelska parken, Thunbergsv 3 L
Box 527
751 20 UPPSALA

Kort presentation

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Doctoral student since 2014, writing a dissertation in runology about the development of the runic alphabet and orthography in late medieval Swedish inscriptions.

Fall term 2017:

24 October: Mock defence / Slutseminarium

7-8 December: "The Influence of Latin on the Swedish Runic Orthography". Historical Spelling Variation: The Role of External Variables. Annual conference of the CEES and 61st Kreutzwald Days conference. University of Tartu and the Estonian Literary Museum, Tartu, Estonia.

Mina kurser


Detta stycke finns inte på svenska, därför visas den engelska versionen.

Research interests

  • Runology
  • Historical graphemics and phonology
  • Digital Palaeography
  • Scandinavian philology


Academic background

  • PhD student at the Department of Scandinavian Languages, Uppsala University, January 2014–
  • Research fellow in the project "Reading and interpreting runic inscriptions: the theory and method of runology", at Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Oslo, spring term 2014
  • BA, Bridging Teacher Education Programme, Uppsala University, December 2013
  • Collaborator in the project "Heliga Birgittas uppenbarelser på fornsvenska", Centre for Medieval Studies at Stockholm University and Department of Scandinavian Languages at Uppsala University, November–December 2012
  • MA, Master Programme in Swedish, Uppsala University, July 2012.
  • Trainee at Svenskt Diplomatarium at the Swedish National Archives, Stockholm, September 2011
  • BA, Foreign Languages and Literatures, German and Swedish, Università di Napoli L'Orientale, February 2010


Presentations at universities, research institutions and conferences

  • a- och æ-runor en kvistig fråga. Runråd, 12th full-day colloquium in runic studies, Uppsala, March 30, 2017.
  • Among demons and Ave Marias: runes and the supernatural on medieval amulets. North and Magic, Università di Napoli L'Orientale, November 30 - December 1, 2016.
  • Le rune: cosa sono e a cosa servono. Università Ca' Foscari, Venezia, November 24, 2016.
  • Huvudsats eller bisats? Tvetydiga subjektslösa satser i svenska runinskrifter. Svenska språkets historia 14, University of Vaasa, 9-10 June, 2016.
  • Medeltida runformer i Åbo. Runråd, 11th full-day colloquium in runic studies, University of Turku, April 18, 2016.
  • Rune vichinghe e rune medievali: continuità e riforma. Università degli studi di Napoli "L'Orientale", November 17, 2015.
  • Runic (Re)Forms in Late Medieval Sweden. International Medieval Congress, Leeds, July 6-9, 2015.
  • Utilizzi e funzioni delle iscrizioni runiche svedesi: necrologi, testamenti o professioni di fede? Università degli studi di Napoli "L'Orientale", December 2, 2014.
  • Graphonomical analysis of runic graphs and the use of runic forms in medieval Gotland. The 8th International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions, Nyköping, September 1–6, 2014.
  • Grafonomi och runor. The 27th Meeting of Field Runologists, Oslo, April 4-6, 2014.
  • Establishing graph-types and graph-type variants in Swedish medieval runic inscriptions. Graphonomy Workshop at Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Oslo, February 17, 2014.


Departmental service


Research project

In my dissertation, I study the development of the orthography of Old Swedish attested in the runic inscriptions from the Late Middle Ages. After the Viking Age, the runic alphabet was still in use in many regions of Sweden. During that time, the introduction of Latin and of the Roman alphabet influenced the runic script and contributed to considerable changes in the runic writing practices. Firstly, the Viking-Age fuþark was expanded from 16 runes to around 30: new runes were created, at the same time as some Viking-Age runes were retained but with different sound values. This implied also that old spelling practices changed significantly.

The purpose of my research is to trace these changes during the 12th, 13th and 14th century, to study their chronological and geographical distribution, and to determine the reasons behind them. Through a graphemic analysis, I aim to establish which spelling fenomena can be given a phonological explanation and attributed to changes in the spoken language, and which ones are to be explained as new orthographic conventions. Moreover, to which extend do the medieval innovations depend on developments of Old Swedish or on the influence of Latin? Finally, the dating and provenance of the runic inscriptions are also taken into account in the graphemic analysis, in order to ascertain whether it is possible to establish a more accurate chronology of the medieval runic inscriptions and of the changes mentioned above, and to draw conclusions on possible local writing traditions.

Supervisors: Henrik WilliamsUlla Stroh-Wollin


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