The book is especially concerned with the grouping of the Germanic languages: with the research history of this much-debated question and with a discussion of the methods applied to past attempts and indeed applicable to future research in the field.
"A definite need [existed] for an up-to-date overall treatment of the early stages of the Germanic languages, including their mutual interrelationships and the relationship to the larger Indo-European language family, that could function as a basic text in an introductory course in Germanic linguistics and as a handy reference and refresher not only for more advanced students but also for linguists outside the field of Germanic who need a basic orientation. Now, I am happy to say, we have this work in English for all the world to read."--Diachronica
"The Germanic Languages" may easily be read by scholars with limited knowledge of Germanic philology. It provides a solid introduction to the debate generated by attempts at classification. In addition, it contains an extensive bibliography of related works and pays considerable attention to necessary background information."--Language
"Nielsen's comprehensive survey of theories of dialect and language change. from scholarship in several languages, makes this book a very useful tool for the study of dialect and of Germanic languages."--The SECOL Review