Drawing on a range of case studies, this systematic study demonstrates the variety of language usage in seventeenth-century France, a time considered to be the most "standardizing" in the history of French. Variation is analyzed in terms of gender, age and socio-economic status, or by the medium, register or genre used. The case studies present phonological, morphological, syntactic and lexical issues, posing a range of methodological questions for sociolinguists and historical linguists.
1. Introduction: methodological issues; 2. Spoken and written French; 3. Social and stylistic variation; 4. Women's language; 5. Age, variation and change; 6. Conclusion.
"a truly unique, rich, and precise encyclopedic work on a past language variety that is worth all the efford and pleasure of writing and reading it." - Zsuzsanna Fagyal, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"This is a richly documented and carefully argued analysis of linguistic variation in the seventeenth century by a leading expert in the field. It will be of interest not only to linguistics scholars but to anyone interested in the cultural history of France, of which language is undeniably a core componant." - William J. Ashby, University of California, Santa Barbara