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."
The present work provides a brief grammatic description of the Udeghe language, one of the Tungus-Manchu languages which is spoken in the border areas of Russia and China in the Far East. It is an unwritten language which is a vernacular for the 3% of the ethnic Udeghe. Udeghe had a brief and very restricted circulation as a written language in the early 1930s. The present grammatical sketch consists of three major parts. The introduction deals with "General socio- and geolinguistic data of the Udeghe language". The first part "Phonology" contains the description of phonological specific features of Udeghe: glottal stop (the Udeghe Language is the only Tungusic language having this feature) and the vowel harmony violation. The second part contains the description of the Udeghe morphology system (e.g. the Udeghe is the only Tungusic language where the opposition of evidentuality/non-evidentuality is expressed on the surface morphological level). The third part "Syntax" gives the information of the word order, clause structure, clause chaining, noun phrases, verb serialization of the Udeghe language. The last part contains a folklore text with an English translation and the relevant bibliography. The author widely uses the data received during several expeditions.