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In historical linguistics
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

, a macro-family, also called a superfamily or phylum
In biology, a phylum The term was coined by Georges Cuvier from Greek φῦλον phylon, "race, stock," related to φυλή phyle, "tribe, clan." is a taxonomic rank below kingdom and above class. "Phylum" is equivalent to the botanical term division....

, is defined as a proposed genetic relationship grouping together language families (also isolates) in a larger scale clasification.However, Campbell regards this term as superfluous, preferring language family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

 for those clasifications for which there are consensus and distant genetic relationship for those that are not, or not yet, generally accepted, whether due to lack of documentation or scholarship of the constituent languages, or to an estimated time depth thought by many linguists to be too great for reconstruction.

Examples of proposed macro-familiesrange from relatively recent such as Macro-Jê, Macro-Waikurúan, Macro-Mayan
Macro-Mayan is a proposal linking the clearly established Mayan family with neighboring families that show similarities to Mayan.The first proposals of this hypothesis were made by Norman McQuown in 1942 who linked Mayan and Mixe–Zoquean...

, Macro-Siouan, Penutian, Na-Dene
or Congo-Saharan (Niger-Saharan) to older ones such as Austric, Dené–Caucasian, Eurasiatic, Nostratic or Ural-Altaic.