“Douglas Hofstadter is famous for being a mathematician who is interested in patterns. In Le Ton Beau de Marot he is taking patterns you find in language and showing how weird and wonderful they are. He is trying to get an idea of how the finite resources there are in each language can somehow express a vast diversity of meaning. He does this through interesting examples. One of the most powerful is when he tries to understand the nature of Russian without learning Russian.” Read more...
The best books on The History and Diversity of Language