The Twelfth International Conference on Historical Linguistics, which is the major forum for the presentation of work in progress in the field of diachronic linguistics, took place at the University of Manchester in August 1995. The quality and breadth of the abstracts submitted for the general programme was such that four parallel sessions were needed throughout the conference. The present volume contains selected papers which deal with the Germanic languages. A companion volume, edited by J.C. Smith and Delia Bentley, contains papers on general problems in historical linguistics and studies of non-Germanic languages. The conference reflected the current health of diachronic linguistics. There were more papers and more participants than at past conferences, and the discussion covered a broader range of languages than hitherto.
Sometimes it has been possible to isolate a particular preoccupation which has dominated much of the conference; but the overall impression to be gained from the Manchester meeting was one of stimulating diversity the discipline appears to be moving forward on many fronts simultaneously, yet without losing focus. This stimulating diversity is well reflected in this important collection.