Aarhus University Seal

Hans Jørgen Uldall

Hans Jørgen (John) Uldall (1907-1957) lived an eventful life where he received his master degree in English from Copenhagen, worked as a linguist in the field in California, functioned on several occasions as a professor in English in Africa. In the 1950’s he worked on a project in Edinburgh on Scottish dialects. Uldall was one of the most important partners Hjelmslev had in his linguistic discussions.

In the correspondances between Uldall and Hjelmslev, we see a flourishing professional and academic discussion on how to present language as scientifically autonomous and based on exactness. They were also quite creative in their own terminology and even developed their own linguistic vocabulary; words such as glossem, plerems and taxems come from their own dictionary.

Hjelmslev lived in Aarhus and worked as a teacher at Aarhus University in the years 1934-1937. During this period, Uldall and Hjelmslev worked together on their glossematic language theory and contributed to the field of structural linguistics. In 1939, Uldall moved abroad and during the 2. World War, their correspondance was interrupted. The cooperation between Hjelmslev and Uldall continued in 1945 and just before Uldall and his new wife Betzy moved to Buenos Aires.

Uldall passed away in 1957 at a relatively small age of 50.