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He supported himself during his studies through part-time work as a schoolteacher and as a shorthand reporter in the Danish parliament. In —, he traveled to England, Germany and France, meeting linguists like Henry Sweet and Paul Passy and attending lectures at institutions like Oxford University. Following the advice of his mentor Vilhelm Thomsen , he returned to Copenhagen in August and began work on his doctoral dissertation on the English case system.
He successfully defended his dissertation in Academic life and work Edit Jespersen was a professor of English at the University of Copenhagen from to , and served as Rector of the university in — His early work focused primarily on language teaching reform and on phonetics, but he is best known for his later work on syntax and on language development.
He advanced the theories of Rank and Nexus in Danish in two papers: Sprogets logik and De to hovedarter af grammatiske forbindelser Jespersen in this theory of ranks removes the parts of speech from the syntax, and differentiates between primaries, secondaries, and tertiaries; e.
The term Nexus is applied to sentences, structures similar to sentences and sentences in formation, in which two concepts are expressed in one unit; e. This term is qualified by a further concept called a junction which represents one idea, expressed by means of two or more elements, whereas a nexus combines two ideas. Junction and nexus proved valuable in bringing the concept of context to the forefront of the attention of the world of linguistics.
He was most widely recognized for some of his books. Language: Its Nature, Development and Origin is considered by many to be his masterpiece.
Late in his life he published Analytic Syntax , in which he presents his views on syntactic structure using an idiosyncratic shorthand notation. In The Philosophy of Grammar he challenged the accepted views of common concepts in Grammar and proposed corrections to the basic definitions of grammatical case , pronoun , object , voice etc.
In the 21st century this book is still used as one of the basic texts in modern Structural linguistics. Mankind, Nation and Individual: from a linguistic point of view is one of the pioneering works on Sociolinguistics. Louis in , and in — he visited both the University of California and Columbia University. His autobiography see below was published in English translation as recently as After his retirement in , Jespersen remained active in the international linguistic community.
In addition to continuing to write, he convened and chaired the first International Meeting on Linguistic Research in Geneva in , and acted as president of the Fourth International Congress of Linguists in Copenhagen in He was an early supporter of the Esperanto offshoot Ido and in published his own project Novial. He also worked with the International Auxiliary Language Association. Andrews University in Scotland , and the Sorbonne in Paris Marburg: Elwert. London: S. Munksgaard, —49; Imprint varies: Pt.
Essentials of English Grammar