Again from Guy Deutscher, "The Unfolding of Language" is a brilliantly original exploration of how languages evolve and have evolved. This book looks at burning questions on strange plural forms (such as foot/feet), how pronunciation changes might occur, and of course some fascinating musings on the issue of noun gender.
Stating that 'Language is mankind's greatest invention - except of course, that it was never invented.', Deutscher takes a look at the long standing linguistic paradox - if the development and simplification of a language over time is universal and inevitable, how did regular, complex languages come to exist in the first place?
By drawing on recent discoveries in linguistics, Deutscher explores the elusive forces of creation, change and the innate structure of language. In addition, he investigates the way in which elaborate conventions of communication develop in human society. This cultural evolution means the emergence of behavioural codes which are passed on from generation to generation.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a deeper look at the issue of linguistic evolution - this is an incredibly well-written work which, although remarkably thorough, remains refreshingly easy to read.