Hans Jørgen Uldall

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Hans Jørgen Uldall (25 May 1907 Silkeborg, Denmark – 29 October 1957 Ibadan, Nigeria) was a Danish linguist known for developing the linguistic theory of glossematics with Louis Hjelmslev.

Having studied English with Otto Jespersen at the University of Copenhagen he went to London to study phonology with Daniel Jones.

In 1929 he had a lectureship at the University of Cape Town, and then went back to London to teach phonetics in 1930. While in Cape Town, he corresponded with the doyen of American anthropology Franz Boas at Columbia, who secured him a grant of 2000 dollars to undertake field work on the Maidu language under the auspices of the Archaeological and Ethnographic Survey of California, established by A. L. Kroeber in 1901. On his way from Cape Town made a stop in Hamburg to attend the 24th congress of Americanists,[1] before he and his wife continued their journey to California.

He spent 1931-32 in California working closely together with Kroeber and Jaime de Angulo who became his close friend.[2] He became fluent in Maidu and accumulated a large body of notes and texts, but only published one article on Maidu phonetics in 1954. His texts and word lists were published in 1966 by William Shipley as "Nisenan texts and dictionary" (Univ. of California Publications XLVI). Uldall's phonetic transcriptions are considered extraordinarily detailed and accurate.[3] For his work in California, Columbia University awarded him his MA degree in anthropology in 1944.[citation needed]

When he finished his studies in the US, the couple returned to Denmark in 1933, where he sought a topic in linguistic on which to work. Discarding the idea of working on languages of the New Guinea or Southeast Asia, colleagues suggested that he study the Danish dialect of Rovsø in Jutland. He worked there in the village of Udby for a year before his wife fell ill and the two had to leave the town collecting documentation and making detailed transcriptions of the local dialect, which came to form part of the Danish dialectological corpus after his death.[4] During this period he also collaborated with his former mentor Otto Jespersen on a work on English phonology, which however name came to completion.[5] This period also saw his collaboration with Louis Hjelmslev, which first was a study of the field they called "phonematics", but which developed to become part of Hjelmslev's glossematic theory. Hjelmslevs student, Eli Fischer Jørgensen, later recalled their process of collaboration as organic to the degree that they were not always sure who had come up with which ideas.[6]

During this period he also collaborated with Danish linguist Otto Jespersen on a work on English phonology, which however name came to completion.[7] This period also saw his collaboration with Louis Hjelmslev, which first was a study of the field they called "phonematics", but which developed to become part of Hjelmslev's glossematic theory. Hjelmslevs student, Eli Fischer Jørgensen, later recalled their process of collaboration as organic to the degree that they were not always sure who had come up with which ideas.[8]

After the death of his first wife in 1937, Uldall married the phonetician Elizabeth Theodora Uldall (nee Anderson) (1913-2004), also a student of Daniel Jones. In 1939, he entered British service, and during World War II the couple worked for the British Council in locations such as Athens, Baghdad, Cairo and Alexandria, and after the war in Argentina and Paraguay. From 1949, she settled at the University of Edinburgh where she taught phonetics, while Hans-Jørgen Uldall went on to work in Nigeria until his death in 1957.[9][10][11][12]

During his time abroad, Hjelmslev had continued his own work on developing the glossematic approach, and published his main work on the matter. Uldall, writing separately on his part of the work, had drifted away from Hjelmslevs idea on several points, and when he finished his Outline of Glossematics, a Study in the Methodology of the Humanities with Special Reference to Linguistics. Part I: General Theory it was no longer in line with Hjelmslevs thinking. Hence, the two main volumes on glossematic theory by Hjelmslev and Uldall respectively, each present a separate version of the theory.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Geografisk Tidsskrift, Bind 34 (1931) 1 Den 24. internationale amerikanistkongres i Hamburg 7.-13. september 1930. dr. phil. Kaj Birket-Smith.
  2. ^ Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz. 2004. Rolling in Ditches with Shamans: Jaime de Angulo and the Professionalization of American Anthropology. University of Nebraska Press.
  3. ^ Voegelin, C. F. (1949). A decade of American Indian linguistics studies. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 93(2), 137-140.
  4. ^ http://jysk.au.dk/fileadmin/www.jysk.au.dk/historie/centrets_historie/historien/optegnere.pdf
  5. ^ Arne Juul, Hans Frede Nielsen. 1989. Otto Jespersen: Facets of his Life and Work. John Benjamins Publishing, p. 56
  6. ^ Bandle, Oscar; Braunmuller, Kurt; Jahr, Ernst Hakon; Karker, Allan; Naumann, Hans-Peter; Telemann, Ulf; Elmevik, Lennart; Widmark, Gun. 2002. The Nordic Languages. Walter de Gruyter, p. 153
  7. ^ Arne Juul, Hans Frede Nielsen. 1989. Otto Jespersen: Facets of his Life and Work. John Benjamins Publishing, p. 56
  8. ^ Bandle, Oscar; Braunmuller, Kurt; Jahr, Ernst Hakon; Karker, Allan; Naumann, Hans-Peter; Telemann, Ulf; Elmevik, Lennart; Widmark, Gun. 2002. The Nordic Languages. Walter de Gruyter, p. 153
  9. ^ http://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/betsy-uldall-teacher-1-538485
  10. ^ http://www.denstoredanske.dk/Samfund%2c_jura_og_politik/Sprog/Sprogforskeres_biografier/Hans_J%C3%B8rgen_Uldall
  11. ^ Seuren, Pieter A. M. (1998). Western linguistics: An historical introduction. Wiley-blackwell. p. 161. ISBN 0-631-20891-7. 
  12. ^ http://www.denstoredanske.dk/Dansk_Biografisk_Leksikon/Samfund,_jura_og_politik/Sprog/Filolog/H.J._Uldall
  13. ^ Kirsten Malmkjaer. 2004. Linguistics Encyclopedia Routledge, p. 209