Language and Script
official language, Mongolian, is spoken and undrestood throughout the country.
Russian is the other major language used. However , other foreign languages,
primarily English, are becoming more popular.
With regard to dialects, the twenty plus different ethnic groups who
historically lived within their own territories each developed their own local
dialects. The dialect spoken by Halha, Mongolia’s largest ethnic group, is the
most widely known. The eastern Mongolian dialects include those spoken by
ethnic groups who previously inhabited Inner Mongolia and now live on the far eastern
steppe, in Drnod province. Northern dialects are spoken by Buriyat people, who
still live in northern Mongolian and the Buriyat republic in southern Siberia.
Western dialects include those spoken by the ethnic groups belonging to the
Oirad. These groups live in western Mongolia and inhabit Altai mountain range.
Mongolian is written in Cyrillic, but the
traditional Mongolian script, which is written from the top downwards and
sometimes known as the classical Mongolian script is gradually reappearing,
mainly in sings and logos. The oldest example of this script has been preserved
is the so-called Chinggis stone, which is still in display at St. Petersburg’s
Hermitage Museum. The script was engraved as early as 1225 and is a eulogy of
the fearless archer Esughe, who shot a sigle arrow 600 meters. The classic
Mongolian script (also known as old Mongolian alphabet) was a landmark in the
in the development of written language in central Asia.
In 1941 the classical script was replaced by the new alphabet based on Russian
Cyrillic characters and introduced to Mongolia as the official script of the
country. There is no major difference between the spelling and the
pronunciation of this script. The modern Mongolian alphabet consists of 35
characters. Below are each of the characters and a basic language guide,
including greetings, simple questions and numbers.
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