This course investigates language in its social, cultural, political, and historical contexts. Does your native language influence your perception, your behavior, and your culture? How does your identity influence properties of your language? What happens when unrelated languages come into contact for prolonged periods? How are new languages born? Why isn’t English the official language of the United States, and should it be? We will explore these questions (and more) by engaging with the often contradictory opinions of specialists and the public, as well as with the empirical realities behind these different language situations.