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Hans Jørgen Uldall Papers on the Nisenan Language

Collection number: SCL Uldall
Primary contributors:  Hans Jørgen Uldall (researcher), William Joseph (consultant)
Additional contributors:  Jack Folsom (consultant), Artie Griffith (consultant), Jessie (consultant), Mrs. Harrie (consultant), Caroline Bisocin (consultant)
Dates: approximately 1931-1960
Extent: 26 folders and 2 boxes
Historical information: Hans Jørgen Uldall (1907-1957) was a Danish phonetician and a leading proponent of the Glossematic theory of linguistic structure. Early in his career, Uldall spent two years as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley (1930-1932), during which time he conducted research on a number of California languages, notably Nisenan (a.k.a. Southern Maidu) and also including Achumawi, Eastern Pomo, and Karuk. This research led to the publication of descriptions of the phonetics and phonology of Achumawi (1933) and Maidu (1954). After leaving Berkeley, Uldall spent a year as an instructor in phonetics at Columbia university before returning to Denmark. In the late 1930s he worked closely with Loius Hjelmslev to lay the foundation for Glossematic theory. Uldall subsequently worked for the British Council, holding appointments at Edinburgh University (1951-1952) and the University of Ibadan (1954-1957).
Scope and content: The Papers document Uldall's research on languages of Northern California based on fieldwork conducted while a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley from 1930-1932. Although the word "Maidu" appears in the titles of many items in the collection, Uldall worked primarily on Nisenan (Southern Maidu) with speaker William Joseph, and it is likely that these materials are based on Nisenan rather than the language commonly known as Maidu today (i.e., Northeastern or Mountain Maidu). The bulk of the collection consists of Uldall's notes and drafts of a grammar of Maidu (Nisenan) and a collection of Nisenan texts that were eventually published through the efforts of William Shipley. Also included in the collection are Uldall's original field notes on Achumawi, a set of Karuk texts, notes on the phonology of Eastern Pomo and a short Nez Perce text. His Achumawi consultants were Jack Folsom, Artie Griffith, and a speaker identified only as "Jessie"; a speaker "Hattie" is identified in his Karuk notes.
Repository: Survey of California and Other Indian Languages
Preferred citation: Hans Jørgen Uldall Papers on the Nisenan Language, SCL Uldall, Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, University of California, Berkeley,
Associated materials: Audio recordings associated with the Papers are in the Berkeley Language Center, Berkeley, California (LA 230).