A while back I translated Taaltoerisme, a most excellent popular language book by the journalist Gaston Dorren. It was picked up by Profile and the English version is out in the UK now: Lingo: A language spotter’s guide to Europe. Obviously I’m biased, but obviously I recommend it!
Here’s the blurb:
Welcome to Europe as you’ve never known it before, seen through the peculiarities of its languages and dialects. Combining linguistics and cultural history, Gaston Dorren takes us on an intriguing tour of the continent, from Proto-Indo-European (the common ancestor of most European languages) to the rise and rise of English, via the complexities of Welsh plurals and Czech pronunciation. Along the way we learn why Esperanto will never catch on, how the language of William the Conqueror lives on in the Channel Islands and why Finnish is the easiest European language.
Surprising, witty and full of extraordinary facts, this book will change the way you think about the languages around you. Polyglot Gaston Dorren might even persuade you that English is like Chinese.