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    Fabianinkatu 24 (P.O. Box 4)
    00014 University of Helsinki

    Tel. +358 2 941 21735



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Ilya Sverdlov

PdD (Theoretical & Applied Linguistics, Germanic Philology), Moscow State Lomonosov University

Room 333

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. Box 4
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

Tel +358-(0)2941 22503
Email ilya.sverdlov (AT) helsinki.fi




Research interests

  • Old Norse Language & Literature
  • Old English Language & Literature
  • Comparative & Historical Linguistics
  • Germanic Philology

Current research

The Birth of Poetic Language. Syntax & Meter through the Ages and between Cultures in Medieval Scandinavia and England: a New Digital Humanities Research Tool

Dr Sverdlov studies the survival of a key corpus of Old Norse texts, skaldic poetry, flourishing in Medieval North ca.900-1400, from linguistic, social, and poetic points of view. Skaldic poetry is a unique oral tradition that revels in linguistic acrobatics; more surprisingly, it survives as quotes in prose texts: family and kings' sagas. Dr Sverdlov's research is in the contrast of speech registers and syntaxes between skaldic poetry and saga prose. The former is seen as so complex, only professional poets, skalds, had the skills to compose and understand it. If so, it should have become garbled after centuries of transmission by untrained native speakers inside simple saga prose; yet skaldic texts remain uncorrupted.

This means that Old Norse speech registers were transparent and that non-skalds could parse skaldic syntax. Dr Sverdlov aims to uncover the nature of these parsing skills, and then to apply the Old Norse results to Old & Middle English alliterative poetries, skaldic poetry's contemporaries that feature lines that uncannily resemble those of skaldic metre drˇttkvŠtt in order to determine the comparative history of these literary traditions and further contribute to typological & historical syntax of languages of Baltic/North Sea region.