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."
This volume addresses the fundamental linguistic question of how the perceived world is expressed through systems of nominal classification. Leading scholars review the whole spectrum of nominal classification, from gender systems through to numeral classifiers, providing cutting-edge theoretical interpretations and empirical case studies across a variety of languages. The volume presents new ideas about the problems of classification and clarifies the interface between anthropological and grammatical work. It will appeal to linguists, anthropologists and psychologists alike as well as specialists in languages as diverse as Australian, Amazonian, and Mayan.