TRIP TO MONGOLIA TOURS
INFORMATION FOR TRAVELERS
MONGOLIAN LANGUAGE AND WRITING
Mongolian belongs to the Altaic family of language
groups. It originated from the ancient Mongolian dialect, and now includes
the languages of north Mongolia or vowel harmony, such as central
Mongolian, Buryat, Kalmyk, Afghanistan Mogol and the languages of south
Mongolia or languages without rules of vowel harmony, such as Daguur,
Dunsyan (Santo), Monger and Bayaoni. The development of Mongolian literary
language is divided into three stages, The early stage started in unknown
times before the 5th century CE (CE - the Common Era). The
second stage began in the 5th century. The third stage
continued in the 1940s, when the grammar structures of the modern
Mongolian developed. This process is continuing now.
It is believed that writing was invented about 5,000 years ago, and
inscriptions on Mongolian's archaeological finds and ancient monuments can
be traced as back as 2,000 years. Speakers of Mongolian had been using
many scripts throughout their history. Tabgach people had their own script
in 425 CE, which did not use vowels, but letters that indicated syllables.
Later, Kitans had two kinds of script "Big" and
"Small", and the latter was used to indicate vowels. Tela who
was inspired by the Uighur script, invented the writing in 925 CE.
Mongolian script or Uighur script, has played an important role in the
history of Mongolian culture. The time when it was invented is still
unknown. Some linguists believe that it was in use much earlier, as it
reflects Mongolian phonetics. Mongolian alphabet consists of 14 basics,
which represent 5 vowels and 22 consonants. Peculiarity of the Old
Mongolian script is that each letter has different forms at initial,
middle and final positions of a word. The main grammar rule is the final
letter rule by which 11 consonants (N, B, G, T, L, R, S, D, I, V, N) end a
closed syllable. The Old Mongolian script is very suitable to dialects,
which are different from each other. "Durvuljin usug"(Square
letter) alphabet was invented by Pagva Lama in 1269 although it was no
longer used at the decline of the Mongol Empire and was only used for
decoration and other purposes. - "Tod usug"(Clear letter) - the
Oiryid alphabet, which was invented by Zaya Pandita in 1618 and 'Soyombo'
alphabet invented by Zanabazar in 1686 were not used commonly. After the
early 1940s, Mongolians started to use the 35 letters of the Mongolian
Cyrillic script which represent those of the Russian alphabet plus two
additional letters. This corresponds to the spelling with pronunciation
and has significantly contributed to the development of a modern grammar
of literary Mongolian. Recently the issue of reintroducing the national
script of Mongolia as an official script, or using the Latin alphabet, has
been hotly debated throughout the country.
The script is Cyrillic due to Russian influence but a switch back to
traditional script has begin in schools. Second language: Russian is
spoken by many graduates, with many Mongolians formerly educated in
Russia. English is replacing Russian as the second language. German is
spoken by many graduates, and a little Spanish, French and Japanese is
spoken. Chinese not widely understood except in border areas.
- Facts about Mongolia 2000. by Da. Gandbold.
ADMOND Co.Ltd., Mongolia.
- Mongolia. Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd.