I checked for books on the topic of the cultural evolution of language. There are:
- Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: A Darwinian Approach to Language Change (2009) by Nikolaus Ritt;
- The Domestication of Language: Cultural Evolution and the Uniqueness of the Human Animal (2014) by Daniel Cloud;
- Speaking Our Minds: Why human communication is different, and how language evolved to make it special (2014) by Thom Scott-Phillips;
- Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man (2011) by Mark Changizi;
This post asks: what happened? Why weren't linguists early adopters of memes and cultural evolution?
Though I think this is a good question, I don't have a terribly good answer. What follows are my speculations:
I think that many of the cultural evolution pioneers had backgrounds in evolution and population genetics. Most linguists would have lacked this background. They would have found much of the primary the literature hard to follow or irrelevant.
Also, until recently, cultural evolutionists were few and far between. Only in the last few years have supporters been coming out of the woodwork in large numbers. The dates on my book list reflect this. However, I think if I made corresponding lists for the cultural evolution of science, technology and religion, the 'science' and 'religion' lists would have more items on them - though the 'technology' list might have fewer.