In the tree model of historical linguistics, a proto-language is a postulated ancestral language from which a number of attested languages are believed to have descended by evolution, forming a language family. Proto-languages are usually unattested, or in some cases only partially attested. They are reconstructed by way of the comparative method. Moreover, a group of languages (such as a dialect cluster) which are not considered separate languages (for whichever reasons) may also be described as descending from a unitary proto-language.
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