Zaliznyak was born in Moscow and studied in the Moscow University before moving to the Sorbonne to further his studies with André Martinet. He was admitted into the Soviet Academy of Sciences as a Corresponding Member in 1987. Ten years later, he was elected a full academician.
Zaliznyak's first monograph, Russian Nominal Inflection (1967), remains a definitive study in the field. Ten years later, he published a highly authoritative Russian Grammar Dictionary, which went through several reprints and provided a basis for Russian grammar software.
In 1982, Zaliznyak turned his interests towards the birch scrolls which have been unearthed in Novgorod since the 1950s. He has co-edited all publications of newly discovered birch scrolls since 1986. As the number of these ancient documents exceeded 700, Zaliznyak summed up his findings in the monograph Old Novgorod dialect (1995), which comprised the texts and comments of every birch scroll discovered. In particular, he demonstrated how the phonetics of the Old Novgorod dialect can be reconstructed from the typos in the birch scrolls.
In 2003, Zaliznyak published the first comprehensive study of the Novgorod Codex, the earliest extant East Slavic book, which had been sensationally discovered three years earlier.
In 2004, he published a study of the Tale of Igor's Campaign which examined all the significant linguistic arguments concernings its authenticity. Zaliznyak contends that no 20th-century (let alone 18th-century) forger could have reproduced the grammatical subtleties of the 12th-century Old East Slavic language.
As of 2005, Zaliznyak lectures in the Moscow University, University of Geneva, and University of Paris. For more data on his work, see Old Novgorod dialect, Novgorod Codex, and the Tale of Igor's Campaign.
- In 1997 Zaliznyak received the Demidov Prize for his linguistic works.
- He was awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation in 2007.
- Solzhenitsyn Prize, 2007
- Andrey Zaliznyak. Russkoe imennoe slovoizmenenie. Moskva, 1967.
- Andrey Zaliznyak. Grammaticheskij slovar' russkogo jazyka. Moskva, 1977, (further editions are 1980, 1987, 2003).
- Andrey Zaliznyak. Grammaticheskij ocherk sanskrita. Appendix to Russian-Sanscrit dictionnary, ed. by V.A. Kochergina, Moskva, 1978.
- Andrey Zaliznyak. Drevnenovgorodskij dialekt. Jazyki slavjanskoj kul'tury: Moskva. 2004.
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