The Stuff of Thought
The book starts by looking at the subtle differences in grammar based upon the things talked about. For instance we can load or throw hay into a wagon, but we can't throw a wagon with hay. Pinker goes on to examine the various theories people have had on the nature of thought - is the mind a 'blank slate' or do we come preprogrammed with huge numbers of concepts. He then looks at how we use the concepts of space and time in our language, which brings the reader on to a chapter on metaphors, and how their metaphorical nature is forgotten over time. The chapter 'What's in a name' looks at how words and names can vary in popularity, and at how new words can arise - but they're usually not the ones on the lists of 'This year's new words'. This is followed by a chapter on the sort of language by which we might express our thoughts directly - obscenities and the like. Pinker then looks at how our culture affects the way we say things, for example in the use of euphemisms.
In his treatment of a philosophical topic, Pinker seems to have caught a bit of the philosophers disease - the chapters are pretty long and some readers might struggle to get through this book. Also, I would have liked more of a summary at the end of what the book has told us about the nature of thought. But if you're the sort of person who likes finding out lots of details about the peculiarities of language then I would think that this is a book for you.