Back to search

H20-MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions

Language switching and script mixing: multilingual landscapes of medieval Scandinavia

Awarded: NOK 2.1 mill.


Project Manager:

Project Number:


Project Period:

2019 - 2023


Language switching and script mixing: multilingual landscapes of medieval Scandinavia

The present project aims to investigate the encounter between the Latin and the native vernacular written culture in medieval Scandinavia, through phenomena of language and script switching in epigraphic sources. The spread of Latin is a pivotal point in the development of all European literate societies. Scandinavia represents a unique case study where Latin and the Roman script encountered and mixed itself with an 800 year old native tradition based on the local vernacular and the runic script. From being monolingual and monoscriptal, Scandinavia became multilingual and multiscriptal. Through an interdisciplinary framework to be developed in synergy with leading scholars at the University of Oslo, epigraphic methods completed by multimodal and sociolinguistic analyses within a linguistic landscape perspective will serve to determine: 1) the medieval writers’ multilingual and multiscriptal proficiency; 2) the status relationship between the Latin and runic written tradition; and 3) the ideological presuppositions and purposes of the use of different languages and scripts. For the first time, these phenomena will be studied systematically and through an unexplored combination of historical material and modern sociolinguistic methods. This will not only yield new insights in the multilingual literacy of medieval Scandinavia and on its underlying cultural and ideological aspects, but also in its significance in a European context. By embedding the Scandinavian case in the process of cultural and political formation of Europe, this project will also contribute to understand the common cultural heritage in modern European societies.

Funding scheme:

H20-MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions

Funding Sources