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Francis J. Whitfield

Francis J. Whitfield (1916-1996) was an American professor of Slavic languages and literature, at the University of California, Berkeley. His interest and competence was extensive, from poetry to truly many languages. In 1951 a review of Hjelmslev’s Omkring Sprogteoriens Grundlæggelse made him buy it immediately and set out to translate it into English. The following year he went over his translation with Hjelmslev, and in 1953 it was published as Prolegomena to a Theory of Language. Since then he would occupy himself intensively with Hjelmslev’s theory and explain and defend it in a number of articles. After Hjelmslev’s death in 1965 Whitfield went through his archives, and he continued to translate and publish Hjelmslev’s other works, such as Résumé of a Theory of Language, 1975.