The Balto-Slavic languages are a branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It traditionally comprises the Baltic and Slavic languages. Baltic and Slavic languages share several linguistic traits not found in any other Indo-European branch, which points to a period of common development. Although the notion of a Balto-Slavic unity has been contested (partly due to political controversies), there is now a general consensus among specialists in Indo-European linguistics to classify Baltic and Slavic languages into a single branch, with only some details of the nature of their relationship remaining in dispute.
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A Proto-Balto-Slavic language is reconstructable by the comparative method, descending from Proto-Indo-European by means of well-defined sound laws, and from which modern Slavic and Baltic languages descended. One particularly innovative dialect separated from the Balto-Slavic dialect continuum and became ancestral to the Proto-Slavic language, from which all Slavic languages descended.