Language family

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A language family is a group of languages descending from a single common ancestor. For instance, the Romance languages all descend from Latin; more typical, though, is the situation in which the ancestor language is not attested in writing but can be reconstructed by means of the comparative method.

There are about 300 commonly recognized language families on Earth, which does not exclude the possibility that larger language families exist that have not been detected yet. Some scholars even consider it likely that all human languages constitute one single language family, but as the comparative method does not allow to look much deeper than 10,000 years, such hypotheses are considered untestable by most linguists.