In this book, which is aimed at general linguists as well as Uralic specialists, Angela Marcantonio examines the history, phonology, morphology, lexicon and onomastics of the Uralic languages. She uses both conventional and modern statistical methods of analysis. She shows how the belief that these languages form a genetic family is in fact based on an interlocking set of assumptions, which, whilst self-consistent, do not in fact have the status of scientific evidence. For example, she shows that the reconstruction of the Uralic node has more sound-laws than regular etymologies to obey them. In addition to addressing the classification of the Uralic languages, the approach adopted in this book could be applicable to other assumed families. There is an on-going debate on the suitability of the Comparative Method and its alternatives to establish language relations, and this book illuminates the various approaches using detailed evidence from an entire presumed family.
Angela Marcantonio is lecturer in General Linguistics specialising in Uralic studies, at the University of Rome 'La Sapienza'.