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Most Popular Mongolian Language Product Types
Lonely Planet Mongolian Phrasebook (Paperback)
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Language Information

Mongolian is spoken in both Mongolia and China. In the Mongolian People's Republic (the area traditionally known as Outer Mongolia) there are about 2 million speakers, while the Inner Mongolian Au-tonomous Region of China (traditionally known as Inner Mongolia) has another 2 million. With an additional 200,000 speakers in northwest China, and another 150,000 in Manchuria, the total number of speakers of Mongolian is slightly over 4½ million.

Standard Mongolian is often referred to as Khalkha to distinguish it from a number of related languages and dialects. These include Buryat and Kalmyk, spoken in the Soviet Union. All of these belong to the Mongolian branch of the Altaic family of languages.

The original Mongolian alphabet was adapted from that of the Uigurs in the 13th century. It is written vertically, perhaps under Chinese influence, but unlike most vertical scripts it begins at the left. It was used in Outer Mongolia until 1941, and is still used among Mongolian speakers in China, though in a somewhat modified form.

In 1941 the Mongolian People's Republic replaced the old alphabet with a new one based on the Cyrillic. It was the first appearance of Cyrillic in Asia outside the Soviet Union. The alphabet is the same as the Russian, but contains two additional vowels.

Mongolian is spoken/used in the following countries:
China, Mongolia, Russia.

Language Family
Family: Altaic
Subgroup: Mongolian

Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.

Writing Sample

Writing Sample


In 1240, when the great Khuraltai (Assembly) was held in the Palace of Ogodai Khan in the valley of the Kerulen River, the writing of the Secret History of Mongolia was completed. The original of the Secret History, printed in Mongolian using Chinese letters, was found in the Peking Library. It has been studied and published several times by Chinese scholars, while the Russian scholars Kafarov and Kuchin, Haenisch of Germany, and Pelliot of France have studied and published it in Russian, German, and French. In 1947 a translation in the modern Mongolian language was published in Ulan Bator.