The authors examine how linguistic variation and change in the major French- speaking countries of Europe - France, Belgium and Switzerland - has in recent times reflected social convergence or 'levelling'. Linguistic levelling, which results in fewer differences between social and regional accents and diminishes the prestige of the standard language, is seen very clearly in a country like the UK, where social differences are revealed in urban accents, or have been until recently. Levelling reflects social change, and the change of interest here is a sort of informalisation that has accelerated since the 1960s, with stress on the values of youth and the erosion of hierarchies and deference. An in-depth examination of how levelling is proceeding in the francophone area compared to other European countries has until now been lacking. This book provides a detailed account of recent social and linguistic change in European French, drawing on the latest findings.