The year 1530 saw the publication in London of one of the most remarkable books of the Renaissance: Lesclarcissement de la langue francoyse. The author of this vast work of over 1,000 pages was John Palsgrave, graduate of Cambridge, Paris, and Oxford, priest and chaplain to Henry VIII, andtutor to the King's sister. His book is the first dictionary of two neighbouring vernaculars, English and French, and simultaneously the first contrastive grammar of the two languages. It reveals him as a pioneering and exceptional linguist with a sharply observant and analytical mind, who goes farbeyond the traditional application of Latin grammar-writing to two living languages. The book is also remarkable for the liveliness with which Palsgrave discusses and illustrates the social aspects of language use, dialectal variation, and the vigour of colloquial idiom. In this uniquely detailed study Stein sets the author and his book in their wider sociohistorical context and discusses Palsgrave's syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic analyses, some of which anticipate the findings of modern linguistics by over 400 years.