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 history of word class research is characterised by two extreme positions. Up to the 19th century it was believed that word classes were invariably of the Latin or Greek type and universal. In contrast to that, in the 20th century the view prevailed that every language had its own specific and unique word class system. In the last decades, however, it has become apparent that despite the large number of word classes and word-class systems there are typological restrictions with regard to the conceptualisation of semantic features and morphosyntactic structures.
This book approaches word classes and their categorial manifestations from the perspective of typology and language universals research. The authors in this volume discuss word class categorisation in general (Part I) as well as word classes and word class systems of individual languages (Part II) from a typological-universal viewpoint and from diachronic and cross-linguistic perspectives.
This book will be of interest to scholars interested in linguistic typology, grammaticalization theories, morphology, syntax and semantics.
I. General studies:
Jan Anward: A dynamic model of part-of-speech differentiation;
D. N. S. Bhat: Word classes and sentential functions;
William Croft: Parts of speech as language universals and as language-particular categories;
Nicholas Evans: Kinship verbs;
David Gil: Syntactic categories, cross-linguistic variation and universal grammar;
Jan Rijkhoff: When can a language have adjectives? An implicational universal;
Petra M. Vogel: Grammaticalisation and part-of-speech systems;
Anna Wierzbicka: Lexical prototypes as a universal basis for cross-linguistic identification of "parts of speech";
II. Language-particular studies:
Werner Abraham: Modal particles in German: word classification and legacy beyond grammaticalisation;
J|rgen Broschart: The Tongan category of preverbials;
Monika Budde: Identifying substantival and adjectival pronouns: A case study on German;
Marianne Mithun: Noun and verb in Iroquoian languages:
Multi-categorisation from multiple criteria;
Robin Sackmann: Numeratives in Mandarin Chinese;
Arnfinn Muruvik Vonen: Polynesian multifunctionality and the ambitions of linguistic description.
Petra M. Vogel is Professor of German Linguistics at the University of Osnabr|ck. Bernard Comrie is Director of the Max-Planck-Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology at Leipzig.