Louis Hjelmslev  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Louis Trolle Hjelmslev (October 3, 1899, Copenhagen – May 30, 1965, Copenhagen) was a Danish linguist whose ideas formed the basis of the Copenhagen School of linguistics. Born into an academic family (his father was the mathematician Johannes Hjelmslev), Hjelmslev studied comparative linguistics in Copenhagen, Prague and Paris (with a.o. Antoine Meillet and Joseph Vendryes). In 1931, he founded the Cercle Linguistique de Copenhague. Together with Hans Jørgen Uldall he developed a structural theory of language which he called glossematics, which developed the semiotic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure. Glossematics as a theory of language is characterized by a high degree of formalism, it is interested only in describing the formal characteristics of language, and a high degree of logical rigour. The theory never became widely influential, but has recently been picked up by post-structuralist philosophers as a possible alternative to the dominant saussurean linguistic paradigm.

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