This book "asserts that the origin and spread of languages must be examined primarily through the time-tested techniques of linguistic analysis, rather than those of evolutionary biology" and "defends traditional practices in historical linguistics while remaining open to new techniques, including computational methods" and "will appeal to readers interested in world history and world geography."
John Lyons is recognized internationally as one of the most influential scholars in modern linguistics. This volume contains essays spanning many years of his thought and research, in addition to previously unpublished pieces. Chapters 2, 3 and 4 make their first appearance here, and set out the view of linguistics and linguistic theory which underlies the content of this and a (forthcoming) companion volume. The remaining six chapters have been either extensively revised or annotated to provide the reader with their historical context and to bring them into line with the author's current thinking.