Stan Carey has a nice post on standard English and “bad grammar,” in which he explains that “The particular English dialect that began to be adopted as standard more than half a millennium ago came from the UK, mostly the region encompassing London, Oxford, and Cambridge” (blame William Caxton, who used the speech of the London area “as the basis for his translations and spelling”), discusses the rise of prescriptivism, and has nice quotes from Joseph M. Williams (“we ought to rethink the widely shared notion that every feature of standard English has some kind of self-evident, naturally determined ‘logic’ that makes it intrinsically superior to its corresponding form in nonstandard English…. Until we recognize the arbitrary nature of our judgments, too many of us will take ‘bad’ grammar as evidence of laziness, carelessness, or a low IQ. That belief is not just wrong. It is socially destructive”) and Geoff Pullum. And in the comment thread, John Cowan links to Views of Standard English , a useful collection of links on the topic.