Anton Zimmerling was born on 3. July, 1964, in Moscow. He graduated from the Germanic department of Moscow State University (Russ. ‘Moskovskij Gosudarstvennyj Universitet’, MGU) in 1986, with the MA degree. In the university he studied Germanic philology, comparative linguistics and Nordic languages, his first publications were devoted to analysis of Old Icelandic sagas. After finishing his MA programme in 1986, he attended the PhD course in Moscow State University and defended his PhD thesis in 1990; the title of the thesis was “Subject-predicate articulation in the language of Old Icelandic Prose”. His second dissertation, the habilitation (Dr. phil. hab, Russ. ‘Doctor of sciences’, the highest academical degree in Russia) was defended in 2001 at the Russian University of Humanities, RGGU. The habilitation was entitled ‘Typological Scandinavian Syntax’ and contained a parametric description of all modern Scandinavian languages, Old Norse and Middle Mainland Scandinavian; Zimmerling’s monograph bearing the same title appeared a year later, in 2002.
Parallel to his studies in historical linguistics and linguistic typology, Anton Zimmerling was involved in teaching present-day Nordic languages (Modern Icelandic and Modern Danish) at Moscow Institute for Foreign Relations, MGIMO, where he had the position of lecturer (1988-1993): for a period of time Anton Zimmerling was the only person who taught Modern Icelandic in Russia and the former Soviet Union. From 1993 to 2002, Anton Zimmerling held the position of senior lecturer/docent at the Germanic Department of Moscow State University, MGU. At Moscow State University, he taught Modern Danish, Old Icelandic and Gothic, and offered a number of courses in different theoretical disciplines, as Introduction to Germanic Philology, Nordic Philology, History of Danish, History of Swedish, Comparative Germanic Phonology. Many of courses prepared by him, as e.g. Scandinavian Dialectology, Comparative Scandinavian Syntax, had never been taught in Moscow State University before. In 2002, Zimmerling got the position of professor at the Russian department of Moscow Open Pedagogical University, MGOPU, where he is giving lecture courses in Theoretical Grammar, History of Linguistic Ideas, Russian Grammar on Contrastive Principles (mainly for MA students and PhD students).
Parallel to his employment in Moscow State University and Moscow Open University, Anton Zimmerling held a half-time position of senior research fellow/leading research fellow at the Institute of Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (1994-2006). At the Academy of Sciences, Anton Zimmerling led a project on contacts between Slavic and Germanic languages and cultures; he was vice-director of the Slavo-Germanic Center in the Institute of Slavic Studies from 1994 to 2006.
In the 1990-s, Anton Zimmerling gave lectures at the Russian University of Humanities, RGGU; here he offered courses on Comparative Germanic Grammar, Gothic, Old Icelandic, Germanic Accentology and Syntactic Typology.
Anton Zimmerling gave guest lectures in Germany (University of Kiel, 1997; Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, ZAS, Berlin, 2007), Denmark (University of Copenhagen, 1997, 1998, 2000), Norway (University of Bergen, 2001), Lithuania (University of Vilnius, 2004, 2006, Institute of Lithuanian, 2006, 2008, Summer linguistic school, Salos 2006), University College of London, UCL (2007) and participated in many international conferences, both in his home country and abroad. He has been around in organizing workshops and other academic activities: in 1995, Dr. Sandro Kodzasov and he resumed the Prosodic Seminar at the Moscow State University and organized two international workshops on prosody and dialectology (Moscow 1996, Moscow 1997). In 2000-2002, he was a co-leader of the INTAS project 00-795 “The typology of intonation, stress and lexical tones in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic languages, TYPIST”. The chief coordinator of this project was Dr. Tomas Riad from the University of Stockholm; noted scholars from 3 Universities in Europe (representing Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden) and 3 Russian academic institutions were involved in the project. Anton Zimmerling also got individual research fellowships from the Open Society Institute, a branch of Soros foundation (CEU/RSS project 174\94 “The evolution of predicative constructions in Slavic and Germanic languages”—1994-1996, CEU/RSS project 932\99, “From oral syntax to written syntax” —1999-2001), Danish Ministry of Education (1997, 1998, 2000), Icelandic Ministry of Education and Culture (1992, 1994, 2003), Russian Foundation of Fundamental Sciences, RFFI, and Russian Foundation of Humanities, RGNF. His four books (2000, 2002, 2004, 2007) were published with financial support from Icelandic Ministry of Education and Culture.
Anton Zimmerling published in Russian, English, German and Danish. He also speaks Modern Icelandic and reads scientific literature on most Germanic, Romance and Slavic languages. He is a member of the International Saga Society and Sankt-Petersburg Linguistic Society.
The main research findings of Anton Zimmerling are made in the following fields:
1. Syntactic typology and general grammar.
Zimmerling aims at combining the advantages of generative and functional approaches to syntax. He demonstrated that recent versions of Chomsky’s grammar (GB, the Minimalism) undergenerate some types of syntactic structures and proposed a different formalism that can account for context-free and some types of mildly context-sensitive rules. He studied the phenomena of inversion and movement and found empirical evidence that left-to-right movement patterns really exist in natural languages. A number of Zimmerling’s publications are devoted to clitic typology and Wackernagel’s law. He proved for the first time that this law which places clitics in clausal second position was instrumental in a number of Germanic, Indo-European and Non-European languages and worked out a testing procedure for languages with Wackernagel’s law. He advanced an original hypothesis for the transition from word order systems with clitic-second constraint (as in Old Greek, Modern Czech or Pashto) to word order systems with verb-second constraint (as in German, Dutch or Swedish). He also developed a version a non-Chomskyan Barrier Theory, which explains late placement of clitics, splitting of clitic clusters and instances of clitic doubling in pure syntactic terms.
The research findings where presented in the guest lecture given by Zimmerling at the Linguistic Circle of Copenhagen (2000), guest lecture given at the University of Bergen (2001), guest lectures given at the University of Sankt-Petersburg (2003, 2006, 2007), guest lectures given at the University of Vilnius (2004, 2006, 2008), papers given at the annual conferences of the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies, BASEES (Cambridge, UK, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007), Conferences of the Slavic Linguistic Society, SLS 1, SLS 2, SLS 3 (Bloomington 2006, Berlin 2007, Columbus 2008), international workshops on computer linguistics and its applications (Kazanj 1998, Moscow 1999, Moscow 2000, Bekasovo 2006, 2007, 2008), winter typological school (Istra 2002) etc.
2. Germanic studies.
In his monograph “Typological Scandinavian syntax”, Zimmerling offered a complete parametric description of clausal syntax in 5 modern Scandinavian languages (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Faeroese), Old Norse and Middle Mainland Scandinavian and traced the change in parameter values during the last 1000 years. The first part of this monograph is devoted to issues in word order, the second part — to predicate-argument relations. The monograph was published in the Russian version in 2002. It reflected the current state of discussion and even today, in 2009, remains the most comprehensive publication on the subject, its volume being about 900 pages.
3. Slavic studies.
The focus of Zimmerling’s interest in this field is on the problem of the so- called Category of State forms in Russian and the typology of lexical statives, i.e. non-verbal predicates denoting events and results. Zimmerling prepared a syntactic dictionary of these elements in Russian and studied similar forms in Czech and Bulgarian. Zimmerling presented his findings in the papers given at the First Conference on Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics, FDSL 1 (Leipzig 1995) and at the FDSL 7 Conference (Leipzig 2007), in guest lectures he gave at Slavic departments at the universities of Kiel (1997) and Copenhagen (2000), in papers given at the conference of the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies (Cambridge, UK, 2002) and at the International Congress of Russian Linguistics (Moscow, 2002). In spite of the claims made by some Slavic linguists that Russian Category of State is typologically unique for this language, Zimmerling discovered in Germanic languages (Old Icelandic, Old Swedish, Middle English) a class of pure predicative elements which lack adverbial /adjectival correlates in Germanic languages and are exact counterparts of Russian Category of State forms. Zimmerling gave papers on this subject in Copenhagen in 1998 and 2000 (at the Department of Old Norse Dictionary) and offered a plan for marking Old Norse statives in the dictionary.
4. Semantic analysis.
A number of Zimmerling’s articles, published in the series “Logical Analysis of Natural Language” in 1995 – 2004 (ed. by Prof. Nina D. Arutyunova), discuss criteria for defining taxonomic predicate types in Russian and beyond. Following the footsteps of Scherba, Arutyunova and Bulygina, Zimmerling distinguishes different types of non-agentive 1-place predicates and introduces special parameters and syntactic tests for identifying Predication of Inner and Outer States (Stage-level predicates), Evaluation, Possessive and Existential meanings.
5. Prosody and phonetics.
In 1997-2002, Zimmerling was involved in several projects on Germanic dialectology and prosody. In 1997 and 2000, he got research fellowships to Denmark and studied word prosody in Standard Danish and Danish dialects at the Institute of Danish Dialectology and Institute of General and Applied Linguistics, University of Copenhagen. Zimmerling defends the late dating of both Swedish-Norwegian tonal accents and Standard Danish stød (glottalisation) and derives tonal distinctions in Danish dialects of North Jutland and the island of Funen from the opposition stød: no-stød. The results have been reported at the International Conference on Nordic Dialectology (Karis, Finland, 1998), International workshops on prosody (Moscow 1996, Moscow 1997) and in the lecture courses on Comparative Germanic Phonology, that were given by Zimmerling in 1999-2002 at the Moscow State University.
In 2000-2002, Zimmerling took part in the INTAS project on prosodic typology. He offered a contrastive analysis of phrasal prosody in Danish and Russian and aimed at finding generalized tonal contours that are linked with different communicative meanings (the topic, the focus, the focus of contrast). The results were reported at the INTAS workshops (Stockholm 2000, Moscow 2001) and guest lectures given at the Universities of Sankt-Petersberg (2002), and Vilnius (2004).
In 2006, he proposed a new rendering of Verner’s law, Holzmann’s law in Early Germanic languages and provided a proof that Germanic verbal stems with Holzmann’s law and the reinforced glides correspond to genetically identical Balto-Slavic stems from the mobile accentual paradigm. He argues that in this perspective, Baltic, Slavic and Germanic languages shared an accentual class with flexible paradigmatic accent, where word accent regularly fell on a post-root syllable. Germanic-internal variation concerning the reflexes of Verner’s law and Holzmann’s law, according to Zimmerling’s hypothesis, can be explained by differences in timing.
6. Saga studies.
Anton Zimmerling prepared and issued as chief scientific editor and translator 2 volumes of the academic edition of Old Icelandic sagas in his own Russian translations (Moscow 2000, Moscow 2004). All sagas included in the edition have never been translated into Russian before. The first volume appeared in 2000 (it was reprinted in 2002). It contains 14 sagas, including Fóstbræðra saga, Heiðarvíga saga, Hœnsna-Þóris saga, Droplaugarsona saga, Böglunga sögur. The second volume appeared in summer 2004: it contains 4 sagas (Eyrbyggja saga, Bandamanna saga, Færeyinga saga, Arons saga Hjörleifssonar) and 14 minor texts, so called ‘þættir’. Both volumes are provided with an extended apparatus. Each saga is followed by a special paper devoted to issues in its text criticism, history and language. The final section in both volumes is devoted to poetics of the skaldic stanzas, that are included in the translated prosaic texts: problems of their authenticity and dating are discussed. In 2007 he published a commented translation of Sturla Þórðarson’s Íslendingasaga. and prepared for the publication other works by Sturla Þórðarson, as well as some sagas from the Sturlunga compilation.
In Saga Studies, Zimmerling is a modest proponent of the ‘free prose theory’ (Heusler, Steblin-Kamenskiy); he admits oral roots of saga narratives, but finds necessary to reconstruct protographs of literary sagas and doesn’t ascribe variation in manuscripts to the impact of the alleged oral tradition. His research findings in saga and skaldic studies were presented at the International Saga Conferences (Akureyri 1994, Trondheim 1997, Bonn 2003; Durham 2006), in papers given at the Arni Magnusson’s Institute, University of Copenhagen (1998, 1999) and elsewhere.