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In the last few years, social historians have discovered what might be called the ''linguistic dimension'' of their discipline, just as sociolinguists have been discovering the ''historical dimension'' and historians of language the ''social dimension''. They have become interested in language both as a source for social history and also as a historical phenomenon in its own right. This volume of essays brings together some of this recent work by social historians of Britain, France and Italy from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. The authors concern themselves with the politics as well as the sociology of language; with dialect as well as standard languages; with writing as well as speech; with the language of women as well as that of men; with the language of politeness and the language of insult; the language of deference and the language of revolt; the language of sub-cultures and counter-cultures as well as those of the elites and ''the people''.