Why do we speak as we do? What would our language be like had the Normans not conquered England? In Origins of the English Language, Joseph M. Williams presents a unique social and linquistic history as he explains the ways in which culture, education, class, and race affect language use and what changes in grammar, semantics, and phonology reveal about the changes in our social lives. This text provides an innovative approach to the study of the history of our language with a wealth of new material, including an analysis of Black and other "nonstandard" forms of English, a stimulating organization, and a most thorough section on semantics. Over 200 open-ended problems are included to encourage students to grapple with the language as historical linguists do. These problems will flex students' linguistic imaginations as they experiment with the language that is their most basic means of expression.