Linguistic reconstruction

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For other meanings, see Language reconstruction.

Linguistic reconstruction is the practice of establishing the features of an unattested ancestor language of one or more given languages. There are two kinds of reconstruction:

In texts concerning linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed forms are commonly prefaced with an asterisk (*), to distinguish them from attested forms.

An attested word from which a root in the proto-language is reconstructed is a reflex. More generally, a reflex is the known derivative of an earlier form, which may be either attested or reconstructed. Reflexes of the same source are cognates.