Using evidence provided by the world's largest language databank, the Oxford English Corpus, Butterfield uncovers fascinating facts about the English language. Where does our vocabulary come from? How do word meanings change? How is our language really being used? This entertaining book has the up-to-date and authoritative answers to all the key questions about our language. With over 2 billion words contained in the Oxford English Corpus, Butterfield takes a thorough look at the English language and exposes its peculiarities and penchants, its development and difficulties, revealing exactly how it operates. Interpolating his expert knowledge of dictionary-making, Butterfield explains how dictionaries decide which words to include, how they find definitions, and how a Corpus influences the process. Covering all areas of English, from spelling and speech to idioms and idiosyncrasies, including a thoughtful chapter about the future of English, and with entertaining examples and useful charts throughout, this compelling and lively book contains something for everyone.