Bianchi Marco, Runor som resurs, Vikingatida skriftkultur i Uppland och Södermanland [Runes as a resource : Viking Age written culture in Uppland and Södermanland], Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. H. Williams, A.-M. Karlsson, Université d’Uppsala)
The Viking Age rune-carvers and their readers used runes as a semiotic resource to convey and structure the messages on rune-stones. An analysis of the ways in which this resource is used together with other resources gives us a deeper insight into the relationship between writers and readers and into the written culture in which the rune-stones were produced.The present study treats runic carvings as multimodal texts in which different semiotic modes produce meaning by visual and verbal means. The roles played by runes in such texts are studied from three different perspectives. The empirical study in chapter 3 investigates how the verbal messages of the inscriptions interrelate with ornamental compositions. The most important convention found is that runic inscriptions usually start in the lower left part of the ornamental band in which they are inscribed. A second result is that there is a certain correlation between the visual and syntactic structure of runic texts. In chapter 4, Södermanlandic inscriptions employing more than one writing system are investigated. These carvings can be tied to a context of high social ambition in which at least two different, socially stratified discourses are expressed by means of the runes as a visual semiotic mode. Chapter 5 is devoted to non-lexical inscriptions, showing that such carvings are indeed runic texts despite their lack of verbal message.Different types of readers can use runic resources in different ways. Firstly, runes carry meaning independent of any verbal message, giving them significance even to illiterate readers. Secondly, literate readers can appreciate certain conventions of runic composition and, thirdly, one and the same runic text can be part of different discourses and hence be aimed at different kinds of readers.