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 Finnic adposition and case system provide a limited empirical framework for the discussion of various synchronic expressions and diachronic processes in language. The following questions emerge from the data that illustrates the interaction between form and function in the Finnic adpositional phrases and case system: How should one account for the typological divergence between genetically related languages? Do diachronic processes transfer morphosyntactic properties or patterns and are they conditioned by endogenous or contact-induced innovations? What is the relationship between language-specific and more universal tendencies? These problems are discussed from the viewpoint of language typology, diachronic change and language contact. Special emphasis is laid on the morphosyntax of Livonian and Veps, two seriously endangered Finnic languages.