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 apparent flexibility of words in Classical Chinese with respect to traditional word classes has always posed a problem in the description of this language and has caused much misunderstanding. Moreover, it has been long understudied, along with the closely related theory of Classical Chinese word classes. This work seeks to summarize previous research on this issue, re- orientate the discourse and construe a new interpretative paradigm that would lead to a more complex and realistic view. It is principally based on a multi- disciplinary approach and supported by the theoretical framework of cognitive linguistics. The study deals with the very conception of word classes, but its focus lies in the analysis of verbal and adverbial functions of nouns.