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Mongolian language

Монгол (Mongol)
(Mongɣul) Spoken in: Mongolia, China, People's Republic of, Kyrgyzstan, Russia  Region: All of Mongolia, Buryatiain Russia, Issyk-Kulin Kyrgyzstan, and Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiangprovinces in China Total speakers: 5.7 million Language family: Altaic[1]
     Mongolian  Official status Official language in:  Mongolia
 People's Republic of China(Inner Mongolia) Regulated by: no official regulation Language codes ISO 639-1: mn ISO 639-2: mon ISO 639-3: variously:
mon – Mongolian (generic)
khk – Khalkha Mongolian
mvf – Peripheral Mongolian Note: This page may contain IPAphonetic symbols in Unicode.

The Mongolian language ( , Mongɣul kele, Cyrillic: Монгол хэл, Mongol khel) is the best-known member of the Mongolic language family and the primary language of most of the residents of Mongolia, where it is officially written with the Cyrillic alphabet. It is also spoken in some of the surrounding areas in northern China, the Russian Far East and Kyrgyzstan. The majority of speakers in Mongolia speak the Khalkha (or Halh) dialect, while those in China speak the Chahar, Oyirad, and Barghu-Buryat dialect groups.



Mongolian is a Mongolic language. The Altaic theory proposes that the Mongolic family is a member of the larger Altaic family, which would also include the Turkic and Tungusic languages. Related languages include Kalmyk spoken near the Caspian Sea and Buryat of East Siberia, as well as a number of minor languages in China along with the Nikudari and Mogholi languages of Afghanistan.

Geographic distribution and dialects

Mongolian is the national language of Mongolia, where there are over two million speakers. There are also up to three million speakers in Northern China, mostly Inner Mongolia; however, some of them are bilingual with Chinese, and use of Mongolian is declining among younger people and in urban areas.

Dialects of Mongolian differ in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary to the point of creating difficulties in comprehension. The most widely recognized one is Khalkha, which is the official standard dialect in Mongolia and is spoken in most of the country, including the capital city. In China, the recently instituted official pronunciation standard is the dialect of the Plain Blue Banner in central Inner Mongolia, which belongs to the Chahar group.


The following description is based primarily on urban Khalkha Mongolian, but much of it is also valid for Southern Central Mongolian, including Chahar.


The Mongolian vocabulary includes historic loanwords especially from Old Turkic, Sanskrit (often through Uigur), Tibetan, Chinese and Tungusic and keeps adopting more recent ones from Russian, Chinese and English. Commissions in the Mongolian state have been busy translating new terminology into Mongolian, so that Mongolian words such as 'president' <jerönhijlögč> ("generalizer") and 'beer' <šar ajrag> ("yellow kumys") exist (though this one is second to Russian <pivo>). There are quite a few loan translations, e.g. ‘population’ <hün am> (“person mouth”) from Chinese rénkŏu (人口; 'population').


Modern Mongolian is an agglutinative, exclusively suffixing language; the suffixes are most often composed of a single morpheme. It has a rich number of morphemes to build up more complex words from simple roots. For example, the word <bajguullagynh> consists of the root <baj-> ‘to be’, an epenthetic <-g->, the causative <-uul-> (then ‘to found’), the derivative suffix <–laga> that forms nouns created by the action (‘organisation’) and the complex suffix <–ynh> denoting something that belongs to the modified word (<-yn> would be genitive).

Nominal compounds are quite frequent. Some derivational verbal suffixes are rather productive, e.g. <jar’-> 'to speak', <jarilts-> 'to speak with each other'. Formally, verbal suffixes that create independent words can roughly be divided into three classes: final verbs, which can only be used sentence-finally, i.e. <-na> (mainly future or generic statements) or –ø (second person imperative); participles (often called “verbal nouns”), which can be used clause-finally or attributively, i.e. <-san> (probably perfective, otherwise past) or <-maar> (‘want to’); and converbs, which can link clauses or function adverbially, i.e. <-ž> (qualifies for any adverbial function or neutrally connects two sentences) or <-tal> (the action of the main clause takes place until the action expressed by the suffixed verb begins).

Roughly speaking, Mongolian has eight cases: nominative (unmarked), genitive, dative, accusative, ablative, instrumental, comitative and directional. In addition, a number of postpositions exist that usually govern genitive, ablative or comitative case or an oblique form, that is, the stem plus sometimes -Vn either for lexical historical reasons or analogy (thus maybe becoming an attributive case suffix). Nouns can take reflexive-possessive clitics indicating that the marked noun is possessed by the subject of the sentence: <Bi najz(-)aa alsan> I friend-[reflexive-possessive] kill-[perfective] ‘I killed my friend’. There are also rather noun-like adjectives that will be converted into nouns when taking any case suffix, but cannot function nominatively without the multifunctional clitic <n’>. Plural does not need to be marked, but plural suffixes are becoming more and more common.

Personal pronouns exist for the first and second person, while the old demonstrative pronouns have come to form third person (proximal and distal) pronouns. Other word (sub-)classes include interrogative pronouns, conjunctions (which take participles), spatials and quite a few particles. (Word classes are treated with some simplification here. For a more precise treatment, see Sechenbaatar 2003.)

Negation is mostly expressed by <-güj> after participles and by the negation particle <biš> after nouns and adjectives; negation particles preceding the verb (for example in converbal constructions) exist, but tend to be replaced by analytical constructions.


Phrase structure

The nominal phrase has the order: demonstrative pronoun/numeral, adjective, noun. Attributive sentences usually precede the whole NP. Titles or occupations of people, low numerals indicating groups and focus clitics are put behind the head noun. Possessive pronouns (in different forms) may either precede or follow the NP. E.g. <bidnij uulzsan ter sajhan zaluugaas č> we-genitive meet-perfective that beautiful young_man-ablative focus ‘even from that beautiful young man that we have met’, <Dorž bagš maan’> Dorj teacher our ‘our teacher Dorj’.

The verbal phrase consists of the predicate’s complements and the adverbials modifying it in front of it and, mainly if the predicate is sentence-final, modal particles behind it. E.g. <Ter helehgüjgeer ünijg bičsen šüü> S/he without_saying it-accusative write-perfective particle ‘She wrote it without saying [i.e. that she would do so] (so I can assure you).’ In this clause the adverbial should precede the complement as it is itself derived from a verb and could take ‘it’ as its complement. If the adverbial was an adjective à la <hurdan> 'fast', it could immediately precede the predicate. There are also instances in which the adverb must immediately precede the predicate.

The predicate itself may consist of a noun or an adjective with or without a copula, but if the subject isn’t marked by <bol> or <n'> as topic , a bare noun will look a little awkward. Participles will never take a copula. Consider this example: <aldag> 'kills regularly' <aldag bajna> 'kills regularly (as I have come to know by some time of observance)': though <bajna> would be a mere copula if put behind a noun, in this case it indicates referentiality. However, any participle can be followed by an auxiliary carrying additional information. For example, if the verbal noun expressing regularity is chosen, the information “perfective” will have to be encoded in an auxiliary: <aldag bajsan> 'killed regularly' If the speaker wished to express how s/he acquired such knowledge, an additional <bajna> could be added. Simple progressive aspect is built up by a verb, the neutral converb <-ž> and the auxiliary <baj->. In place of <baj->, some other verbs could express other aspects like completion: <uuž orhison> drink-CV leave-perfective 'drank up'. However, a few aktionsarten may be expressed adverbially: <ehelž uusan> begin-CV drink-perfective 'began to drink' (or <uuž ehelsen> with the same meaning).


Unmarked phrase order is subject, object, predicate (also referred to as SOV). While the predicate generally has to remain in clause-final position, the other phrases are free to change order or to wholly disappear. The topic tends to be placed clause-initially, new information rather before the predicate. Noun phrase heads modified by long attributive clauses will for the sake of understandability be placed clause-initially. Topic can form a phrase of its own (with <bol> or even <n’>), but this option isn’t extensively used.

Mongolian has passive and causative voice. In a passive sentence the entirely oblique agent takes either dative or instrumental case, the first of which is more common. The verb takes a suffix <-gd->. In the causative, the person caused to do something would take instrumental, or accusative, if the simple verb would have been intransitive, and the verb would take <-uul->. Causative morphology is also used in some passive contexts: <Bi tüünd čaduulsan> I s/he-dative fool-caustive-perfective ‘I was fooled by her/him’. Animacy is an important component, thus English 'The bread was eaten by me' would not be acceptable in Mongolian. <-ld-> (reciprocal), <-tsgaa-> (plurative) and <-lts-> (cooperative) are voice constructions as well.

Compound sentences

One way to conjoin clauses is to have the first clause end in a converb. An example: <Bi üünijg olbol čamd ögnö> I it-accusative find-conditional_converbal_suffix you-dative give-future ‘If I find it I’ll give it to you’. Some verbal nouns in the instrumental or most often dative function very similar to converbs: above sentence with <olohod> find-imperfective-dative ‘When I find it I’ll give it to you’. Quite often, postpositions govern complete clauses. In contrast, conjunctions take verbal nouns without case: <jadarsan učraas untlaa> become_tired-perfective because sleep-witnessed_perfective 'I slept because I was tired'. Finally, there are usually clause-initial particles with relating meaning: <Bi olson, harin čamd ögöhgüj> I find-perfective but you-dative give-imperfective-negation ‘I’ve found it, but I won’t give it to you’.

Mongolian has a complementizer auxiliary verb <ge-> very similar to Japanese to iu. <ge-> literally means ‘to say’ and in converbal form <gež> precedes a verbum sentiendi et dicendi. As a verbal noun <gedeg> (with <n’> or case) it can form a subset of complement clauses. As <gene> it may function as an evidentialis marker.

Except for clauses governed by certain postpositions, attribute clauses, clauses with complementizer and some very short converbal clauses (which some speakers reject anyway), Mongolian clauses are in strictly paratactic order, such that a hypotactic sentence like 'We will, IF you help us, repair the damage.' could in this order with the same syntactic relations not be constructed in Mongolian.

In the subordinate clause the subject, if different from the subject of main clause, sometimes has to take accusative or genitive case. Subjects in either instrumental or ablative case marginally occur as well. Subjects of attribute clauses in which the head has a function (as is the case for all English relative clauses) demand that if the subject is not the head it has to take instrumental or rather genitive case, e.g. <tüünij idsen hool> that_one-genitive eat-perfective meal ‘the meal that s/he had eaten’.

Sound system

One major feature of Mongolian phonology is vowel harmony. Mongolian divides vowels into two groups. For historical reasons, these have traditionally been labelled as "front vowels" (e, u, o) and "back vowels, "(a,ʊ,ɔ). However, Svantesson et al have analyzed the groups as what they term instead "non-pharyngeal" (formerly "front") and "pharyngeal" (formerly "back"). There is also one neutral vowel, /i/, which does not belong to either group.

All the vowels in a non-compound word, including all its suffixes, must belong to the same group. If the first vowel is pharyngeal, then every vowel of the word must be either /i/ or a pharyngeal vowel. Likewise, if the first vowel is a non-pharyngeal vowel, then every vowel of the word must be either /i/ or a non-pharyngeal vowel. In the case of suffixes, which must change their vowels to conform to different words, there are roughly two patterns. Some suffixes can occur with /a/, /ɔ/, /e/, or /o/, following the last phonemic vowel in the root word, in which case /ʊ/ and /u/ lead to [a] and [e] respectively. For example, /orx/ ‘household’ + /Ar/ ‘instrumental’ → /orxor/ ‘by a household’, /xarʊɮ/ ‘sentry’ + /Ar/ ‘instrumental’ → /xarʊɮar/ ‘by a sentry’. Others individual suffixes can occur in either /ʊ/ or /u/, in which case all pharyngeal vowels lead to /ʊ/ and all non-pharyngeal vowels lead to /u/. For example, /aw/ ‘to take’ + /Uɮ/ ‘causative’ → /awʊɮ/. If the only vowel in the root word is /i/, the suffixes will use the non-pharyngeal suffix forms.

Another major feature of Mongolian phonology is the distinction between long and short forms of vowels. This is expressed in word-initial syllables as a straightforward difference in length. In word-internal and word-final syllables, long vowels are not as long and short vowels are short to the point where, in many non-initial syllables, there is phonemically speaking no vowel at all. For example, <hojor> 'two', <ažil> 'work', and <saarmag> 'neutral' are, phonemically, /xɔjr/, /atʃɮ/, and /saːrmɡ/ respectively. In such cases, an epenthetic vowel is allophonically inserted so as to prevent disallowed consonant clusters. Thus, in the examples given above, the words are phonetically [xɔjɔ̆r], [atʃĭɮ], and [saːrmăɡ]. The phonetic form of the epenthetic vowel follows from that of the vowel in the preceding syllable. Usually it is a centralized version of the same sound, with the following exceptions: /u/ produces [e], /i/ will be ignored if there is a non-neutral vowel earlier in the word, and a postalveolar or palatalized consonant will be followed by an epenthetic [i], as in [atʃĭɮ].

Vowel chart

FrontCentralBackShort Long Short Long Short Long Closei iː u uː Near-Closeʊ ʊː Close-Mide eː o oː Open-midɔ ɔː Opena aː

Mongolian also has four diphthongs, /ui/, /ʊi/, /ɔi/, and /ai/. Short /o/ is phonetically [ɵ].

Consonant chart

LabialDentalPalatalVelarUvularPlain PalatalizedPlain PalatalizedPalatalizedPlain Nasalm mʲ n nʲ ŋ PlosiveVoicelessaspirated(pʰ) (pʲʰ) tʰ tʲʰ (kʲʰ) (kʰ) Voicelessp pʲ t tʲ Voicedɡʲ ɡ ɢ AffricateVoicelessaspiratedtsʰ tʃʰ Voiceless(f) ts tʃ Fricatives ʃ xʲ x Lateralfricativeɮ ɮʲ Trillr rʲ Approximantw̜ w̜ʲ j

Mongolian lacks a true phoneme /l/; instead, it has a voiced alveolar lateral fricative, /ɮ/. Syllable-finally, /n/ (if it doesn't precede another /n/) is realized as [ŋ]. The consonants in parentheses occur only in loanwords.

Writing systems

Main article: Mongolian writing systems

Mongolian has been written in a variety of alphabets over the years.

The traditional Mongolian script was adapted from Uyghur script in 1208, although it has undergone transformations, and occasionally been supplemented by other scripts. The Mongolian alphabet was used in Mongolia until 1931, when it was temporarily replaced by the Latin alphabet, and finally by Cyrillic in 1937. The traditional alphabet was abolished completely by the pro-Soviet government in 1941, and a short-lived attempt to reintroduce the traditional alphabet after 1990 was abandoned after some years.

In the People's Republic of China, the Mongolian language is a co-official language with Mandarin Chinese in some regions, notably the entire Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The traditional alphabet has always been used there, although Cyrillic was considered briefly before the Sino-Soviet split. There are two types of written Mongolian used in China: the classical script, which is official among Mongols nationwide, and the Clear script, used predominantly among Oirats in Xinjiang.

The modified Cyrillic alphabet used for Mongolian is as follows:

Cyrillic Name IPATransliteration Cyrillic Name IPATransliteration Аа а a a Пп пэ (pʰ ), (pʰʲ ) ( p ) Бб бэ p,pʲ, b b Рр эр r,rʲ r Вв вэ w,wʲ v Сс эс s s Гг гэ ɡ,ɡʲ,ɢ´, k g Тт тэ tʰ,tʰʲ t Дд дэ t,tʲ d Уу у ʊ u Ее е jε~jɜ, e je Үү ү u ü Ёё ё jɔ jo Фф фэ~фа~эф ( f ) ( f ) Жж жэ tʃ ž Хх хэ~ха x,xʲ h Зз зэ ts z Цц цэ tsʰ ts Ии и i i Чч чэ tʃʰ č Йй хагас и i j Шш ша~эш ʃ š Кк ка ( k ), (kʲ ) ( k ) Щщ ща~эшчэ (stʃ ) ( šč ) Лл эл ɮ,ɮʲ l Ъ ъ хатуугийн тэмдэг " Мм эм m,mʲ m Ыы эр үгийн ы i y Нн эн n,nʲ n Ьь зөөлний тэмдэг ʲ ' Оо о ɔ o Ээ э e e Өө ө o ö Юю ю jʊ, ju ju Яя я ja, j ja

Үү and Өө are sometimes written as Vv and Єє, mainly when using Russian software or keyboards that don't support them.

Historical Mongolian

The first surviving Mongolian text is the Stele of Yisüngge, a report on sports in Mongolian script on stone, that is most often dated at the verge of 1224 and 1225[2]. Other early sources are written in Mongolian, Phagspa (decrets), Chinese (the Secret history), Arabic (dictionaries) and a few western scripts[3]. These comprise the Middle Mongolian language that was spoken from the 13th to the early 15th[4] or late 16th[5] century. The documents in Mongolian script show some distinct linguistic characteristics and are therefore often distinguished by terming their language Preclassical Mongolian[6]. The next distinct period is Classical Mongolian that is dated from the 17th to the 19th century. It is a written language with a high degree of standardization in orthography and syntax that sets it quite apart from the subsequent Modern Mongolian. The most notable documents in this language are the Mongolian Kanjur and Tanjur [7] as well as a bunch of chronicles.

Changes in phonology


Middle Mongolian documents show only two velar plosives <g> and <k> (and one allophone for each), but in some instances the <g> disappeared and in others not. There is no hint as to how this might be related to contextual factors, and while there is a hypothesis that this is related to distinctive vowel length or stress [8], it is a matter of dispute whether there is any factual evidence for this. Now there is a word-initial <h> that disappeared during the Middle Mongolian stage. This might be the same phoneme as one of the instances of <g> (possibly [x]). Thus, it is likely that x > h > Ø.[9] Eg Phagspa <haran>, Preclassical Mongolian <aran>, reconstructed in Proto-Mongolic as *haran ‘person’, became Modern Mongolian <aran>[10]. Phagspa čaqa’an, Preclassical čaγaγan[11], reconstructed for Late Pre-Proto-Mongolic as *ʧʰagahan ‘white’, became Modern Mongolian /ʦʰaga:n/. As also apparent from this example, affricates were fronted in Northern Modern Mongolian dialects such as Khalkha. /kʰ/ was spirantized to /x/ in Ulaanbaatar Khalkha and the Mongolian dialects South of it, eg Preclassical Mongolian <kündü>, reconstructed as *kʰynty ‘heavy’, became Modern Mongolian /xunt/[12] (but in Erdenet many speakers will say / kʰunt/). Originally word-final <n> turned into <ŋ>; if *n was originally followed by a vowel that later dropped, it remained unchanged, eg *kʰen became /xiŋ/, but *kʰoina became /xɔin/. After i-breaking, *[ʃ] became phonemic. Consonants in words containing back vowels that were followed by *i in Proto-Mongolian became palatalized in Modern Mongolian. In some words, word-final *n was dropped with most case forms, but still appeared with the ablative, dative and genitive.[13]


Proto-Mongolic had *i, *e, *y, *ø, *u, *o, *a. First, *o and *u were pharyngealized to /ɔ/ and /ʊ/, then *y and *ø were velarized to /u/ and /o/. Thus, the vowel harmony shifted from a velar to a pharyngeal paradigm. *i in the first syllable back-vocalic words was assimilated to the following vowel; in word-initial position it became /ja/. *e followed by *y was rounded to *ø. VhV and VjV sequences where the second vowel was any vowel but *i were monophthongized. Short vowels in any syllable but the first were deleted from the phonetic representation of the word; long vowels in these positions became short vowels. [14]

Eg *imahan (*i becomes /ja/, *h disappears)> *jama:n (instable n drops; vowel reduction> jama(n) ‘goat’

and *emys- (regressive rounding assimilation)> *ømys- (vowel velaization)> *omus- (vowel reduction)> oms- ‘to wear’

Changes in morphology

Nominal system

While most case suffixes did change somewhat in form, ie were shortened, most of the modern case system remained intact. Important changes occurred with the comitative and the dative. The Middle Mongolian comitative <-luγ-a> could not be used attributively, but it was replaced by suffix <-taj> that originally derived adjectives denoting possession of the stem from nouns, eg <mori-tai> ‘having a horse’ became <mor’toj> ‘having a horse/with a horse’. As this adjective functioned parallel to <ügei> ‘not having’, it has been suggested[15] that a “privative case” (‘without’) has been introduced into Mongolian. There have been three different case suffixes in the dative-locative-directive domain that are grouped in different ways: <-a> as locative and <-dur>, <-da> as dative[16] or <-da> and <-a> as dative and <-dur> as locative [17], in both cases with some functional overlapping. As <dur> seems to be grammaticalized from <dotur-a> ‘within’, thus indicating a span of time[18], the second account seems to be more likely. Finally, the directive of modern Mongolian <-ruu> has been innovated. Gender agreement was abandoned.

Verbal system

Middle Mongolian had a greater set of final verb suffixes and a smaller number of participles which were less likely to be used as finite predicates. Their functional values seem to have shifted as well, but as the aspectual, temporal, modal and evidential nuances of Middle Mongolian verb forms are not well understood, it is impossible to state much about their semantic development. However, as several analytic forms to code imperfectivity have emerged that were not present in Middle Mongolian, final suffixes likely bore that burden then. The linking converb <n> became confined to stable verb combinations, while the number of converbs somewhat increased. The gender and number distinction exhibited by some final verbs got lost[19].

Changes in syntax

Word order in clauses with pronominal subject changed from Object-Predicate-Subject to Subject-Object-Predicate. The negation of verbs shifted from negation particles preceding final verbs to a negation particle following participles; thus, as final verbs could no longer be negated, their paradigm of negation was filled by particles.


  1. ^ The existence of the Altaic family is controversial. See Altaic languages.
  2. ^ eg Γarudi 2002: 7
  3. ^ Rybatzki 2003: 58
  4. ^ Rybatzki 2003: 57
  5. ^ Poppe 1964: 1
  6. ^ Rybatzki 2003: 57
  7. ^ Janhunen 2003a: 32
  8. ^ eg Tömörtogoo 2005
  9. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 113, 119-124
  10. ^ Today, /arn/ is somewhat unusual, but its plural /ard/ ‘people’ is common.
  11. ^ Adapted from Tömörtogoo 2002: 80
  12. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 133, 167
  13. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 124, 165-166, 205
  14. ^ Svantesson 2005: 181, 184, 186-187, 190-195
  15. ^ Janhunen 2003c: 27
  16. ^ Rybatzki 2003: 68
  17. ^ Γarudi 2002: 101-107
  18. ^ see Toγtambayar 2006: 18-35 for the detailed line of argumentation
  19. ^ The gender issue is fairly commonplace, see eg Rybatzki 2003: 75. A very convincing case for the numberus distinction between -ba and -bai is made in Tümenčečeg 1990: 103-108. She also argues that this has been the case for other suffixes.


  • Γarudi (2002): Dumdadu üy-e-yin mongγul kelen-ü bütüče-yin kelberi-yin sudulul [The study of grammatical forms in Middle Mongolian]. Kökeqota: Öbür mongγul-un arad-un keblel-ün qoriy-a.
  • Janhunen, Juha (ed.) (2003): The Mongolic languages. London: Routledge.
  • Janhunen, Juha (2003a): Written Mongol. In: Janhunen 2003: 30-56.
  • Janhunen, Juha (2003b): Para-Mongolic. In: Janhunen 2003: 391-402.
  • Janhunen, Juha (2003c): Proto-Mongolic. In: Janhunen 2003: 1-29.
  • Poppe, Nicholas (1964 [1954]): Grammar of Written Mongolian. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  • Rybatzki, Volker (2003): Middle Mongol. In: Janhunen 2003: 47-82.
  • Sechenbaatar, Borjigin (2003): The Chakhar dialect of Mongol - A morphological description. Helsinki: Finno-Ugrian society.
  • Svantesson, Jan-Olof, Anna Tsendina, Anastasia Karlsson, Vivan Franzén (2005): The Phonology of Mongolian. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Toγtambayar, M. (2006): Mongγul kelen-ü kele ǰüiǰigsen yabuča-yin tuqai sudulul [Grammaticalization in Mongolian]. Liyuuning-un ündüsüten-ü keblel-ün qoriy-a.
  • Tömörtogoo, D. (2005): Mongol dörvölžin üsegijn durashalyn sudalgaa [Research on the Phagspa script]. Ulaanbaatar: IAMS.
  • Tsedendamba, Ts., C. Möömöö (ed.) (1997): Orčin cagijn mongol hel [Contemporary Mongolian]. Ulaanbaatar.
  • Tserenpil, D., Rita Kullmann (2005) [1996]: Mongolian grammar. Ulaanbaatar: Admon.
  • Tümenčečeg (1990): Dumdadu ǰaγun-u mongγul kelen-ü toγačin ögülekü tölüb-ün kelberi-nügüd ba tegün-ü ularil kögǰil. In: Öbür mongγul-un yeke surγaγuli 1990/3: 102-120.

Further reading and resources

Mongolian grammars

  • Činggeltei (1999): Odu üj-e-jin mongɣul kelen-ü ǰüi. Köke qota: Öbür mongɣul-un arad-un keblel-ün qorij-a.

[The second edition of the most famous Inner Mongolian grammar. It shows a systematization that is typical for the Inner Mongolian grammar tradition.]

  • Poppe, Nicholas (1951): Khalkha-Mongolische Grammatik. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner.
  • Poppe, Nicholas (1964 [1954]): Grammar of Written Mongolian. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

[Poppe 1964 is still the reference work in western Mongolian philology. Poppe 1951 applies this model to contemporary Mongolian. The approach disregards meaning in favour of a simplified model of distribution.]

  • Luvsanvandan, Š. et al. (1966): Orčin cagijn mongol hel züj. Ulaanbaatar: Ulsyn hevlelijn hereg erhleh horoo.

[Luvsanvandan et al. 1966 and Tsedendamba and Möömöö 1997 represent the Outer Mongolian grammar tradition. It relies very heavily on literary examples.]

  • Street, John (1963): Khalkha structure. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

[the single modern-style (structuralist) Khalkh Mongolian grammar that cares for the language and not the formalism]

Specialized research works

  • Yümjiriin Mönkh-Amgalan (1998): Orčin tsagijn mongol helnij bajmžijn aj [The category of modality in Contemporary Mongolian]. Ulaanbaatar: Moncame.

[the most comprehensive work on modality in Mongolian]

  • Yu, Wonsoo (1991): A study of Mongolian negation. Indiana University.
  • Bjambasan, P. (2001): Mongol helnij ügüjsgeh har'caa ilerhijleh hereglüürüüd [The means to mark negation in Mongolian]. In: Mongol hel, sojolijn surguul: Erdem šinžilgeenij bičig 18: 9-20.

[Yu 1991 is a diachronic treatment of negation in Mongolian, Bjambasan 2001 describes a far greater range of forms in a very concise way.]

  • Sečenbaγatur et al. (2005): Mongγul kelen-ü nutuγ-un ayalγun-u sinǰilel-ün uduridqal [Introduction to Mongolian dialect studies]. Kökeqota: Öbür mongγul-un arad-un keblel-ün qoriy-a.
  • Sečen (2004): Odu üy-e-yin mongγul bičig-ün kelen-ü üge bütügekü daγaburi-yin sudulul [Derivational suffixes in Modern Written Mongolian]. Kökeqota: Öbür mongγul-un surγan kümüǰil-ün keblel-ün qoriy-a.


  • Bawden, Charles (1997): Mongolian-English dictionary. London: Kegan Paul.
  • Ganhuyag, Ch. (2007): Mongolian English dictionary. Ulaanbaatar.

[the two most notable M-E dictionaries]

  • Chinbat, E. (2003): English Mongolian dictionary. Ulaanbaatar.
  • Amarsanaa, L. et al. (2006): Oxford Monsudar English Mongolian dictionary. Ulaanbaatar: Monsudar, Oxford University Press.

[Chinbat 2003 is the most comprehensive E-M dictionary, but requires command of Mongolian. Amarsanaa et al. 2006 doesn’t, contains fewer mistakes, but is comparably tiny. As a rule, it provides one single translation for any meaning of one English word.]

  • Cevel, Ja. (1966): Mongol helnij tovč tajlbar tol’. Ulaanbaatar.
  • Odontör, Š., Battögs, M. (2006): Mongol helnij tajlbar tol’. Ulaanbaatar. (CD)
  • Norčin, Č. et al. (1999): Mongγul kelen-ü toil. Kökeqota: Öbür mongγul-un arad-un keblel-ün qoriy-a.

[Cevel 1966 is the first monolingual Mongolian dictionary; the most notable monolingual dictionaries today are Odontör and Battögs 2006 for Outer Mongolia and Norčin et al. 1997 for Inner Mongolia]

See also

External links

Mongolian language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Categories: Languages of Mongolia | Languages of China | Languages of Russia | Languages of Kyrgyzstan | Mongolic languages | Vowel harmony languages

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