In its original formulation Lang's theorem referred to a semilinear map on an n-dimensional vector space over the algebraic closure of GF(p): it fixes the vectors of a copy ofV(n, p^h) . In other words, every semilinear map defined over a finite field is equivalent by change of coordinates to a map induced by a field automorphism. We provide an elementary proof of the theorem independent of the theory of algebraic groups and, as a by-product of our investigation, obtain a convenient normal form for semilinear maps. We apply our theorem to classical groups and to projective geometry. In the latter application we uncover three simple yet surprising results.
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