Mongolian language

Mongolian language
Монгол Mongol, ᠮᠣᠨᠭᠭᠣᠯ Mongɣol
Pronunciation /mɔŋɢɔ̆ɮ xiɮ/
Spoken in Mongolia, People's Republic of China
Region All of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia; parts of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang provinces in China
Native speakers 5.2 million  (2005)[1]
Language family
Altaic (controversial)
Writing system Mongolian script, Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet
Official status
Official language in  Mongolia
China Inner Mongolia, People's Republic of China
Regulated by Mongolia:
State Language Council (Mongolia),[2]
Inner Mongolia:
Council for Language and Literature Work[3]
Language codes
ISO 639-1 mn
ISO 639-2 mon
ISO 639-3 mon – Macrolanguage
individual codes:
khk – Khalkha Mongolian
mvf – Peripheral Mongolian
Linguasphere part of 44-BAA-b

The Mongolian language (in Mongolian script: Monggol kele.svg,[4] Mongγol kele; in Mongolian Cyrillic: Монгол хэл, Mongol khel) is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region of China.[1] In Mongolia, the Khalkha dialect, written in Cyrillic, is predominant, while in Inner Mongolia, the language is more dialectally diverse and is written in the traditional Mongolian script. In the discussion of grammar to follow, the variety of Mongolian treated is Standard Khalkha Mongolian (i.e., the standard written language as formalized in the writing conventions and in the school grammar), but much of what is to be said is also valid for vernacular (spoken) Khalkha and other Mongolian dialects, especially Chakhar.

Mongolian has vowel harmony and a complex syllabic structure for a Mongolic language that allows clusters of up to three consonants syllable-finally. It is a typical agglutinative language that relies on suffix chains in the verbal and nominal domains. While there is a basic word order, subject–object–predicate, ordering among noun phrases is relatively free, so grammatical roles are indicated by a system of about eight grammatical cases. There are five voices. Verbs are marked for voice, aspect, tense, and epistemic modality/evidentiality. In sentence linking, a special role is played by converbs.

Modern Mongolian evolved from "Middle Mongolian", the language spoken in the Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries. In the transition, a major shift in the vowel harmony paradigm occurred, long vowels developed, the case system was slightly reformed, and the verbal system was restructured.


Geographic distribution

Mongolian is the national language of the country of Mongolia, where it is spoken by about 2.7 million people, and an official language of China's Inner Mongolia region, where it is spoken by 2.7 million or more people.[5] The exact number of Mongolian speakers in China is hard to determine, as there is no data available on Chinese citizens' language proficiency. There are roughly five million ethnic Mongolians in China, but the use of Mongolian is in decline among them, especially among younger speakers in urban areas, due to the dominance of Mandarin Chinese.[6] The great majority of speakers of Mongolian proper in China live in Inner Mongolia; in addition, some speakers of the Kharchin and Khorchin dialects live in areas of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang that border Inner Mongolia.[7] According to Uradyn E. Bulag, anthropologist at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, USA, Mongols are displaying significant linguistic anxiety about losing their language and linguistic identity to powerful Chinese nationalistic and cultural forces.[8]

Classification and dialects

Topographic map showing Asia as centered on modern-day Mongolia and Kazakhstan. A red lines shows the extent of the Mongol Empire. Some places are marked in red. This includes all of Mongolia, most of Inner Mongolia and Kalmykia, three enclaves in Xinjiang, multiple tiny enclaves round Lake Baikal, part of Manchuria, Gansu, Qinghai, and one place that is west of Nanjing and in the south-south-west of Zhengzhou
Geographic distribution of Mongolic people (areas shaded in red)

Mongolian belongs to the Mongolic languages. The delimitation of the Mongolian language within Mongolic is a much disputed theoretical problem, one whose resolution is impeded by the fact that existing data for the major varieties is not easily arrangeable according to a common set of linguistic criteria. Such data might account for the historical development of the Mongolian dialect continuum, as well as for its sociolinguistic qualities. Though phonological and lexical studies are comparatively well developed,[9] the basis has yet to be laid for a comparative morphosyntactic study, for example between such highly diverse varieties as Khalkha and Khorchin.[10][11]

The status of certain varieties in the Mongolic group—whether they are languages distinct from Mongolian or just dialects of it—is disputed. There are at least three such varieties: Oirat (including the Kalmyk variety) and Buryat, both of which are spoken in Russia, Mongolia, and China; and Ordos, spoken around Inner Mongolia's Ordos City.[12]

shoulders and face of an old, white-haired man with a long moustache wearing a deel. He seems to show a slight smile.
Byambyn Rinchen (1905–1977), famous Mongolian linguist and translator[13]

There is no disagreement that the Khalkha dialect of the Mongolian state is Mongolian.[14] Beyond this one point, however, agreement ends. For example, the influential classification of Sanžeev (1953) proposed a "Mongolian language" consisting of just the three dialects Khalkha, Chakhar, and Ordos, with Buryat and Oirat judged to be independent languages.[15] On the other hand, Luvsanvandan (1959) proposed a much broader "Mongolian language" consisting of a Central dialect (Khalkha, Chakhar, Ordos), an Eastern dialect (Kharchin, Khorchin), a Western dialect (Oirat, Kalmyk), and a Northern dialect (consisting of two Buryat varieties).[16] Some Western scholars[17] propose that the relatively well researched Ordos variety is an independent language due to its conservative syllable structure and phoneme inventory. While the placement of a variety like Alasha,[18] which is under the cultural influence of Inner Mongolia but historically tied to Oirat, and of other border varieties like Darkhad would very likely remain problematic in any classification,[19] the central problem remains the question of how to classify Chakhar, Khalkha, and Khorchin in relation to each other and in relation to Buryat and Oirat .[20] The split of [tʃ] into [tʃ] before *i and [ts] before all other reconstructed vowels, which is found in Mongolia but not in Inner Mongolia, is often cited as a fundamental distinction,[21] for example Proto-Mongolic *tʃil, Khalkha /tʃiɮ/, Chakhar /tʃil/ 'year' versus Proto-Mongolic *tʃøhelen, Khalkha /tsooɮəŋ/, Chakhar /tʃooləŋ/ 'few'.[22] On the other hand, the split between the past tense verbal suffixes - in the Central varieties vs. -dʒɛː in the Eastern varieties[23] is usually seen as a merely stochastic difference.[24]

In Inner Mongolia, official language policy divides the Mongolian language into three dialects: Southern Mongolian, Oirat, and Barghu-Buryat. Southern Mongolian is said to consist of Chakhar, Ordos, Baarin, Khorchin, Kharchin, and Alasha. The authorities have synthesized a literary standard for Mongolian in China whose grammar is said to be based on Southern Mongolian and whose pronunciation is based on the Chakhar dialect as spoken in the Plain Blue Banner.[25] Dialectologically, however, western Southern Mongolian dialects are closer to Khalkha than they are to eastern Southern Mongolian dialects: for example, Chakhar is closer to Khalkha than to Khorchin.[26]

Besides Mongolian, or "Central Mongolic", other languages in the Mongolic grouping include Dagur, spoken in eastern Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, and in the vicinity of Tacheng in Xinjiang; the Shirongolic subgroup Shira Yugur, Bonan, Dongxiang, Monguor, and Kangjia, spoken in China's Qinghai and Gansu regions; and the possibly extinct Moghol of Afghanistan.[27]

As for the classification of the Mongolic family relative to other languages, the Altaic theory (which is increasingly less well received among linguists[28]) proposes that the Mongolic family is a member of a larger Altaic family that would also include the Turkic and Tungusic, and usually Korean and Japonic languages as well.


The following description is based primarily on Khalkha Mongolian. In particular, the phonology section describes the Khalkha dialect as spoken in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital. The phonologies of other varieties such as Ordos, Khorchin, and even Chakhar, differ considerably.[29] In contrast, most of what is said about morphology and syntax also holds true for Chakhar,[30] while Khorchin is somewhat more diverse.[31]


In this section, the phonology of Khalkha Mongolian will be discussed in sections on Vowels, Consonants, Phonotactics and Stress.


The standard language has seven monophthong vowel phonemes. They are divided into (or "aligned into", to use phonology jargon) three vowel harmony groups by a parameter called ATR (advanced tongue root); the groups are −ATR, +ATR, and neutral. This alignment seems to have superseded an alignment according to oral backness. However, some scholars still describe Mongolian as being characterized by a distinction between front vowels and back vowels, and the front vowel spellings 'ö' and 'ü' are still often used in the West to indicate two vowels which were historically front. The Mongolian vowel system also has rounding harmony.

Length is phonemic for vowels, and each of the seven phonemes occurs short or long. Phonetically, short /o/ is highly divergent from long /o/, being the central vowel [ɵ].

In the following table, the seven vowel phonemes, with their length variants, are arranged and described phonetically.

Front Central Back
Short Long Short Long Short Long
Close i u
Near-Close ʊ ʊː
Close-Mid e o [ɵ]
Open-mid ɔ ɔː
Open a

Khalkha also has four diphthongs: /ui, ʊi, ɔi, ai/.[32]

ATR harmony. Mongolian divides vowels into three groups in a system of vowel harmony:

+ATR ("front") −ATR ("back") Neutral
e, u, o a, ʊ, ɔ i

As mentioned, for historical reasons these have traditionally been labeled as "front" vowels and "back" vowels. Indeed, in Romanized transcription of Mongolian, the vowels /o/ and /u/ are often conventionally rendered as ⟨ö⟩ and ⟨ü⟩, while the vowels /ɔ/ and /ʊ/ are expressed as ⟨o⟩ and ⟨u⟩ (this is also the case in the nonphonological sections of this article). However, for modern Mongolian phonology, it seems more appropriate to instead characterize the two vowel-harmony groups by the dimension of tongue root position. There is also one neutral vowel, /i/, not belonging to either group.

All the vowels in a noncompound word, including all its suffixes, must belong to the same group. If the first vowel is −ATR, then every vowel of the word must be either /i/ or a −ATR vowel. Likewise, if the first vowel is a +ATR vowel, then every vowel of the word must be either /i/ or a +ATR vowel. In the case of suffixes, which must change their vowels to conform to different words, two patterns predominate. Some suffixes contain an archiphoneme /A/ that can be realized as /a, ɔ, e, o/. For example:

  • orx household || + || -Ar (instrumental) || → || orxor by a household
  • xarʊɮ sentry || + || -Ar (instrumental) || → || xarʊɮar by a sentry

Other suffixes can occur in /U/ being realized as /ʊ, u/, in which case all −ATR vowels lead to /ʊ/ and all +ATR vowels lead to /u/. For example:

  • aw to take || + || -Uɮ (causative) || → || awʊɮ

If the only vowel in the word stem is /i/, the suffixes will use the +ATR suffix forms.[33]

Rounding harmony. Mongolian also has rounding harmony, which does not apply to close vowels. If a stem contains /o/ (or /ɔ/), a suffix that is specified for an open vowel will have [o] (or [ɔ], respectively) as well. However, this process is blocked by the presence of /u/ (or /ʊ/) and /ei/. E.g. ɔr-ɮɔ came in, but ɔr-ʊɮ-ɮa inserted.[34]

Vowel length. The pronunciation of long and short vowels depends on the syllable's position in the word. In word-initial syllables there is a phonemic contrast in length. A long vowel has about 208% the length of a short vowel. In word-medial and word-final syllables, formerly long vowels are now only 127% as long as short vowels in initial syllables, but they are still distinct from initial-syllable short vowels. Short vowels in noninitial syllables differ from short vowels in initial syllables by being only 71% as long and by being centralized in articulation. As they are nonphonemic, their position is determined according to phonotactic requirements.[35]


The following table lists the consonants of Khalkha Mongolian. The consonants enclosed in parentheses occur only in loanwords.[36]

Labial Dental Palatal Velar Uvular
Plain Palatalized Plain Palatalized Palatalized Plain
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive Voiceless aspirated () (pʲʰ) tʲʰ (kʲʰ) ()
Voiceless p t
Voiced ɡʲ ɡ ɢ
Affricate Voiceless aspirated tsʰ tʃʰ
Voiceless ts
Fricative (f) s ʃ x
Lateral fricative ɮ ɮʲ
Trill r
Approximant w̜ʲ j

Mongolian lacks the voiced lateral approximant, [l]; instead, it has a voiced alveolar lateral fricative, /ɮ/, which is often realized as voiceless [ɬ].[37] In word-final position, /n/ (if not followed by a vowel in historical forms) is realized as [ŋ]. The occurrence of palatalized consonant phonemes seems to be restricted to words that contain [−ATR] vowels.[38]

Syllable structure and phonotactics

The maximal syllable is CVVCCC, where the last C is a word-final suffix. A single short vowel rarely appears in syllable-final position. If a word was monosyllabic historically, *CV has become CVV. [ŋ] is restricted to codas (else it becomes [n]), and /p/ and /pʲ/ do not occur in codas for historical reasons. For two-consonant clusters, the following restrictions obtain:

  • a palatalized consonant can be preceded only by another palatalized consonant or sometimes by /ɢ/ and /ʃ/
  • /ŋ/ may precede only /ʃ, x, ɡ, ɡʲ/ and /ɢ/
  • /j/ does not seem to appear in second position
  • /p/ and /pʲ/ do not occur as first consonant and as second consonant only if preceded by /m/ or /ɮ/ or their palatalized counterparts.

Clusters that do not conform to these restrictions will be broken up by an epenthetic nonphonemic vowel in a syllabification that takes place from right to left. For example, hojor 'two', ažil 'work', and saarmag 'neutral' are, phonemically, /xɔjr/, /atʃɮ/, and /saːrmɡ/ respectively. In such cases, an epenthetic vowel is inserted so as to prevent disallowed consonant clusters. Thus, in the examples given above, the words are phonetically [xɔjɔ̆r], [atʃĭɮ], and [saːrmăɢ]. The phonetic form of the epenthetic vowel follows from vowel harmony triggered by the vowel in the preceding syllable. Usually it is a centralized version of the same sound, with the following exceptions: preceding /u/ produces [e]; /i/ will be ignored if there is a nonneutral vowel earlier in the word; and a postalveolar or palatalized consonant will be followed by an epenthetic [i], as in [atʃĭɮ].[39]


Stress in Mongolian is nonphonemic (does not distinguish different meanings) and thus is considered to depend entirely on syllable structure. But scholarly opinions on stress placement diverge sharply.[40] Most native linguists, regardless of which dialect they speak, claim that stress falls on the first syllable. Between 1941 and 1975, several Western scholars proposed that the leftmost heavy syllable gets the stress. Yet other positions were taken in works published between 1835 and 1915.

Walker (1997)[41] proposes that stress falls on the rightmost heavy syllable unless this syllable is word-final:

HˈHLL pai.ˈɢʊɮ. ɮəɢ.təx to be organized
LHˈHL xon.ti.ˈru.ɮəŋ separating (adverbial)
LHHˈHL ʊ.ɮan.paːtʰ.ˈrin.xəŋ the residents of Ulaanbaatar
HˈHH ʊːr.ˈtʰai.ɢar angrily
ˈHLH ˈʊitʰ.ɢər.tʰai sad

A "heavy syllable" is here defined as one that is at least the length of a full vowel; short word-initial syllables are thereby excluded. If a word is bisyllabic and the only heavy syllable is word-final, it gets stressed anyway. In cases where there is only one phonemic short word-initial syllable, even this syllable can get the stress:[42]

LˈH ɢa.ˈɮʊ goose
ˈLL ˈʊnʃ.səŋ having read

More recently, the most extensive collection of phonetic data so far in Mongolian studies has been applied to a partial account of stress placement in the closely related Chakhar dialect.[43][44] The conclusion is drawn that di- and trisyllabic words with a short first syllable are stressed on the second syllable. But if their first syllable is long, then the data for different acoustic parameters seems to support conflicting conclusions: intensity data often seems to indicate that the first syllable is stressed, while F0 seems to indicate that it is the second syllable that is stressed.[45]


Modern Mongolian is an agglutinative, almost exclusively suffixing language, the only exception being reduplication.[46] Most of the suffixes consist of a single morpheme. There are many derivational morphemes.[47] For example, the word bajguullagynh consists of the root baj- 'to be', an epenthetic -g-, the causative -uul- (hence 'to found'), the derivative suffix -laga that forms nouns created by the action (like -ation in '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, the independent words derived using verbal suffixes 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);[48] participles (often called "verbal nouns"), which can be used clause-finally or attributively, i.e. -san (perfect-past)[49] 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).[50]

Roughly speaking, Mongolian has eight cases: nominative (unmarked), genitive, dative, accusative, ablative, instrumental, comitative and directional.[51] If a direct object is definite, it must take the accusative, while it must take the nominative if it is unspecific.[52] In addition to case, a number of postpositions exist that usually govern genitive, ablative, or comitative case or a form of the nominative that has sometimes -Vn either for lexical historical reasons or analogy (thus maybe becoming an attributive case suffix).[53] Nouns can take reflexive-possessive clitics indicating that the marked noun is possessed by the subject of the sentence: bi najz(-)aa avarsan I friend-reflexive-possessive save-perfect 'I saved my friend'.[54] However, there are also somewhat noun-like adjectives to which case suffixes seemingly cannot be attached directly unless there is ellipsis.[55] Plurality may be left unmarked, but there are overt plurality markers, some of which are restricted to humans. A noun that is modified by a numeral usually does not take any plural affix.[56]

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 particles, the last being rather numerous.[57]

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.[58]


Phrase structure

The noun phrase has the order: demonstrative pronoun/numeral, adjective, noun.[59] Attributive sentences precede the whole NP. Titles or occupations of people, low numerals indicating groups, and focus clitics are put behind the head noun.[60] Possessive pronouns (in different forms) may either precede or follow the NP.[61] Examples:

bid-nij uulz-san ter sajhan zaluu-gaas č
we-genitive meet-perfect that beautiful 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 in the center, preceded by its complements and by the adverbials modifying it and followed (mainly if the predicate is sentence-final) by modal particles,[62] as in the following example with predicate bičsen:

ter hel-eh-güj-geer üün-ijg bič-sen šüü
s/he without:saying it-accusative write-perfect particle
's/he wrote it without saying [so] [i.e. without saying that s/he would do so, or that s/he had done so], I can assure you.'

In this clause the adverbial, helehgüjgeer 'without saying [so]' must precede the predicate's complement, üünijg 'it-accusative' in order to avoid syntactic ambiguity, since helehgüjgeer is itself derived from a verb and hence an üünijg preceding it could be construed as its complement. If the adverbial was an adjective such as hurdan 'fast', it could optionally immediately precede the predicate. There are also cases in which the adverb must immediately precede the predicate.[63]

For Khalkha, the most complete treatment of the verbal forms is Luvsanvandan (ed.) 1987. However, the analysis of predication presented here, while valid for Khalkha, is adapted from the description of Khorchin by Matsuoka 2007.

Most often, of course, the predicate consists of a verb. However, there are several types of nominal predicative constructions, with or without a copula.[64] Auxiliaries that express direction and aktionsart (among other meanings) can with the assistance of a linking converb occupy the immediate postverbal position, e.g. uuž orhison drink-converb leave-perfect 'drank up'. The next position is filled by converb suffixes in connection with the auxiliary, baj- 'to be', e.g. ter güjž bajna s/he run-converb be-nonpast 'she is running'. Suffixes occupying this position express grammatical aspect, e.g., progressive and resultative. In the next position, participles followed by baj- may follow, e.g., ter irsen bajna s/he come-perfect be-nonpast 'he has come'. Here, an explicit perfect and habituality can be marked, which is aspectual in meaning as well. This position may be occupied by multiple suffixes in a single predication, and it can still be followed by a converbal Progressive. The last position is occupied by suffixes that express tense, evidentiality, modality, and aspect.


Unmarked phrase order is subjectobject–predicate.[65] While the predicate generally has to remain in clause-final position, the other phrases are free to change order or to wholly disappear.[66] The topic tends to be placed clause-initially, new information rather at the end of the clause.[67] Topic can be overtly marked with bol, which can also mark contrastive focus,[68] overt additive focus ('even, also') can be marked with the clitic č,[69] and overt restrictive focus with the clitic l ('only').[70]

The inventory of voices in Mongolian consists of passive, causative, reciprocal, plurative, and cooperative. In a passive sentence, the verb takes the suffix -gd- and the agent takes either dative or instrumental case, the first of which is more common. In the causative, the verb takes the suffix -uul-, the causee (the person caused to do something) in a transitive action (e.g., 'lift') takes dative or instrumental case, and the causee in an intransitive action (e.g., 'walk') takes accusative case. Causative morphology is also used in some passive contexts:

Bi tüün-d čad-uul-san.
I fool-causative-perfect
'I was fooled by her/him'.

The semantic attribute of animacy is syntactically important: thus the sentence, 'the bread was eaten by me', which is acceptable in English, would not be acceptable in Mongolian. The reciprocal voice is marked by -ld-, the plurative by -tsgaa-, and the cooperative by -lts-.[71]

Mongolian allows for adjectival depictives that relate to either the subject or the direct object, e.g. Ljena nücgen untdag 'Lena sleeps naked', while adjectival resultatives are marginal.[72]

Complex sentences

One way to conjoin clauses is to have the first clause end in a converb, as in the following example using the converb -bol:

bid üün-ijg ol-bol čam-d ög-nö
we it-accusative find-conditional.converbal.suffix you.familiar-dative give-future
'if we find it we'll give it to you'

Some verbal nouns in the dative (or less often in the instrumental) function very similar to converbs:[73] e.g., replacing olbol in the preceding sentence with olohod find-imperfective-dative yields 'when we find it we'll give it to you'. Quite often, postpositions govern complete clauses. In contrast, conjunctions take verbal nouns without case:[74]

jadar-san učraas unt-laa
become.tired-perfect because sleep-witnessed;past[75]
'I slept because I was tired'

Finally, there is a class of particles, usually clause-initial, that are distinct from conjunctions but that also relate clauses: bi olson, harin čamd ögöhgüj I find-perfect 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 either a psych verb or a verb of saying. As a verbal noun like gedeg (with n' or case) it can form a subset of complement clauses. As gene it may function as an evidentialis marker.[76]

Mongolian clauses tend to be combined paratactically, which sometimes gives rise to sentence structures which are subordinative despite resembling coordinative structures in European languages:[77]

ter ir-eed namajg üns-sen come-converb I.accusative kiss-perfect
'S/he came and kissed me.'

In the subordinate clause the subject, if different from the subject of main clause, sometimes has to take accusative or genitive case.[78] There is marginal occurrence of subjects taking ablative case as well.[79] Subjects of attributive clauses in which the head has a function (as is the case for all English relative clauses) usually require that if the subject is not the head, then it take the genitive,[80] e.g. tüünij idsen hool eat-perfect meal 'the meal that s/he had eaten'.

Loanwords and coined words

In distant times Mongolian adopted loanwords from Old Turkic, Sanskrit (these often through Uighur), Persian, Arabic, Tibetan,[81] Tungusic, and Chinese.[82] Recent loanwords come from Russian, English,[83] and Chinese (mainly in Inner Mongolia).[84] Language commissions of the Mongolian state have been busy translating new terminology into Mongolian,[85] so that the Mongolian vocabulary now has jerönhijlögč 'president' ("generalizer") and šar ajrag 'beer' ("yellow kumys"). There are quite a few loan translations, e.g. galt tereg 'train' ('fire-having cart') from Chinese huǒchē (火车, fire cart) 'train'.[86]

Writing systems

Mongolian has been written in a variety of alphabets. The traditional Mongolian script was adapted from Uyghur script probably at the very beginning of the 13th century and from that time underwent some minor disambiguations and supplementations. Between 1930 and 1932, a short-lived attempt was made to introduce the Latin script in the Mongolian state, and after a preparatory phase, the Mongolian Cyrillic script was declared mandatory by government decree. It has been argued that the 1941 introduction of the Cyrillic alphabet, with its smaller discrepancy between written and spoken form, contributed to the success of the large-scale government literacy campaign, which increased the literacy rate from 17.3% to 73.5% between 1941 and 1950.[87] Earlier government campaigns to eradicate illiteracy, employing the traditional script, had only managed to raise literacy from 3.0% to 17.3% between 1921 and 1940.[87] From 1991 to 1994, an attempt at reintroducing the traditional alphabet failed in the face of popular resistance.[88] In informal contexts of electronic text production, the use of the Latin alphabet is common.[89]

In the People's Republic of China, Mongolian 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.[90] There are two types of written Mongolian used in China: the traditional Mongolian script, which is official among Mongols nationwide, and the Clear script, used predominantly among Oirats in Xinjiang.[91]

Linguistic history

White page with black Phags-pa characters and two seals, one being in the middle of and one on the right sight of the text. All lines start at the top of the page
Edict of Yisüntemür (1328). Only the Phagspa script retains the complete "Middle Mongolian" vowel system.[92]

The earliest surviving Mongolian text may be the Stele of Yisüngge, a report on sports composed in Mongolian script on stone, which is most often dated at 1224 or 1225.[93] The Mongolian-Armenian wordlist of 55 words compiled by Kirakos Gandzaketsi (13th century) is the first written record of Mongolian words.[94] From the 13th to the 15th centuries, Mongolian language texts were written in four scripts (not counting some vocabulary written in Western scripts): Uighur Mongolian (UM) script (an adaptation of the Uighur alphabet), Phagspa (Ph) (used in decrees), Chinese (SM) (The Secret History of the Mongols), and Arabic (AM) (used in dictionaries).[95] While they are the earliest texts available, these texts have come to be called "Middle Mongolian" in scholarly practice.[96] The documents in UM script show some distinct linguistic characteristics and are therefore often distinguished by terming their language "Preclassical Mongolian".[97]

The next distinct period is Classical Mongolian, which is dated from the 17th to the 19th century. This 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[98] as well as several chronicles.[99] In 1686, the Soyombo script (Buddhist texts) was created, giving distinctive evidence on early classical Mongolian phonological peculiarities.[100]

Changes in phonology


The research into the reconstruction of the consonants of Middle Mongolian has engendered several controversies. Middle Mongolian had two series of plosives, but there is disagreement as to which phonological dimension they lie on, whether aspiration[101] or voicing.[102] The early scripts have distinct letters for velar plosives and uvular plosives, but as these are in complementary distribution according to vowel harmony class, only two back plosive phonemes, */k/, */kʰ/ (~ *[k], *[qʰ]) are to be reconstructed.[103] One prominent long running disagreement concerns certain correspondences of word medial consonants among the four major scripts (UM, SM, AM, and Ph, which were discussed in the preceding section). Word medial /k/ of Uyghur Mongolian (UM) has, not one, but two correspondences with the three other scripts: either /k/ or zero. Traditional scholarship has reconstructed */k/ for both correspondences, arguing that */k/ got lost in some instances, which raises the question of what the conditioning factors of those instances were.[104] More recently, the other obvious possibility has been assumed, namely that the correspondence between UM /k/ and zero in the other scripts points to a distinct phoneme, /h/, which would correspond to the word-initial phoneme /h/ that is present in those other scripts.[105] /h/ (sometimes also called /x/) is sometimes assumed to derive from */pʰ/, which would also explain zero in SM, AM, Ph in some instances where UM indicates /p/, e.g. debel > Khalkha deel.[106]

The palatal affricates *č, *čʰ were fronted in Northern Modern Mongolian dialects such as Khalkha. * was spirantized to /x/ in Ulaanbaatar Khalkha and the Mongolian dialects south of it, e.g. Preclassical Mongolian kündü, reconstructed as *kʰynty 'heavy', became Modern Mongolian /xunt/[107] (but in the vicinity of Bayankhongor and Baruun-Urt, many speakers will say [kʰunt]).[108] Originally word-final *n turned into /ŋ/; if *n was originally followed by a vowel that later dropped, it remained unchanged, e.g. *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 appears with the ablative, dative and genitive.[109]


The standard view is that Proto-Mongolic had *i, *e, *y, *ø, *u, *o, *a. According to this view, *o and *u were pharyngealized to /ɔ/ and /ʊ/, then *y and were velarized to /u/ and /o/. Thus, the vowel harmony shifted from a velar to a pharyngeal paradigm. *i in the first syllable of back-vocalic words was assimilated to the following vowel; in word-initial position it became /ja/. *e was rounded to when followed by *y. VhV and VjV sequences where the second vowel was any vowel but *i were monophthongized. In noninitial syllables, short vowels were deleted from the phonetic representation of the word and long vowels became short.[110]

E.g. *imahan (*i becomes /ja/, *h disappears) → *jamaːn (unstable n drops; vowel reduction) → /jama(n)/ 'goat'

and *emys- (regressive rounding assimilation) → *ømys- (vowel velarization) → *omus- (vowel reduction) → /oms-/ 'to wear'

This reconstruction has recently been opposed, arguing that postulating a number of sound changes is not necessary if one reconstructs basically the same vowel system as Khalkha, but with *[ə] instead of *[e]. Moreover, the sound changes involved in this alternative scenario are more likely from an articulatory point of view and early Middle Mongolian loans into Korean.[111]

Changes in morphology

Nominal system

white page with several lines of black Chinese characters running top-down and separated into small groups by spaces. To the left of some of the characters there are small characters such as 舌 and 中. To the right of each line, groups of characters are indicated as such by a "]]"-shaped bracket, and to the right of each such bracket, there are other medium-sized characters
The Secret History of the Mongols is the only document that allows the reconstruction of agreement in social gender in Middle Mongolian.[112]

In the following discussion, in accordance with a preceding observation, the term "Middle Mongolian" is used merely as a cover term for texts written in any of three scripts, Uighur Mongolian script (UM), Chinese (SM), or Arabic (AM).

The case system of Middle Mongolian has remained mostly intact down to the present, although important changes occurred with the comitative and the dative and most other case suffixes did undergo slight changes in form, i.e., were shortened.[113] The Middle Mongolian comitative -luγ-a could not be used attributively, but it was replaced by the suffix -taj that originally derived adjectives denoting possession from nouns, e.g. mori-tai 'having a horse' became mor'toj 'having a horse/with a horse'. As this adjective functioned parallel to ügej 'not having', it has been suggested that a "privative case" ('without') has been introduced into Mongolian.[114] 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[115] or -da and -a as dative and -dur as locative,[116] in both cases with some functional overlapping. As -dur seems to be grammaticalized from dotur-a 'within', thus indicating a span of time,[117] the second account seems to be more likely. Of these, -da was lost, -dur was first reduced to -du and then to -d[118] and -a only survived in a few frozen environments.[119] Finally, the directive of modern Mongolian, -ruu, has been innovated from uruγu 'downwards'.[120] Social gender agreement was abandoned.[121]

Verbal system

Middle Mongolian had a slightly larger set of declarative finite verb suffix forms[122] and a smaller number of participles, which were less likely to be used as finite predicates.[123] The linking converb -n became confined to stable verb combinations,[124] while the number of converbs increased.[125] The distinction between male, female and plural subjects exhibited by some finite verbal suffixes was lost.[126]

Changes in syntax

Neutral word order in clauses with pronominal subject changed from object–predicate–subject to subject–object–predicate, e.g.,

Kökseü sabraq ügü.le-run ayyi yeke uge ugu.le-d ta ... kee-jüü.y
K. s. speak-converb alas big word speak-past you ... say-nonfuture
"Kökseü sabraq spoke saying, 'Alas! You speak a great boast....' "[127]

The syntax of verb negation 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.[128] For example, Preclassical Mongolian ese irebe 'did not come' vs. modern spoken Khalkha Mongolian ireegüj or irsengüj.

See also


  1. ^ a b Estimate from Svantesson et al. 2005: 141
  2. ^ "Törijn alban josny helnij tuhaj huul'". 2003-05-15. Retrieved 2009-03-27.  The decisions of the council have to be ratified by the government.
  3. ^ "Mongγul kele bičig-ün aǰil-un ǰöblel". See Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 204.
  4. ^ Rendered in Unicode as ᠮᠣᠨᠭᠭᠣᠯ ᠬᠡᠯᠡ
  5. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 141, 143. On the other hand, Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 206 (an Inner Mongolian source) assumes four million Inner Mongolians to be proficient in Mongolian.
  6. ^ Janhunen 2003d: 178.
  7. ^ Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 565.
  8. ^ Uradyn E. Bulag, Department of Anthropology, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY 10021. "Mongolian Ethnicity and Linguistic Anxiety in China". © Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center. All rights reserved. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  9. ^ See especially Rinčjen 1979, Amaržargal 1988, Coloo 1988 and for a general bibliography on Mongolic phonology Svantesson et al. 2005: 218–229.
  10. ^ See Ashimura 2002 for a rare piece of research into dialect morphosyntax that shows significant differences between Khalkha and Khorchin.
  11. ^ Janhunen 2003d: 189.
  12. ^ See Janhunen (ed.) 2003 and Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005 for two classificatory schemes.
  13. ^ Bajansan and Odontör 1995: 132–135.
  14. ^ For an exact delimitation of Khalkha, see Amaržargal 1988: 24–25.
  15. ^ Sanžeev 1953: 27–61, especially 55.
  16. ^ Quoted from Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 167–168.
  17. ^ among them Janhunen 2003
  18. ^ Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 265–266.
  19. ^ Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 266 classify Alasha as a variety of Southern Mongolian according to morphological criteria, while Svantesson et al. 2005: 148 classify it as a variety of Oirat according to phonological criteria. For a discussion of opinions on the classification of Darkhad, see Sanžaa and Tujaa 2001: 33–34.
  20. ^ Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 166–73, 184–195. See also Janhunen 2003d: 180.
  21. ^ E.g., Svantesson et al. 2005: 143, Poppe 1955: 110–115.
  22. ^ Svantesson et al. 2006: 159–160; the difference between the [l]s might just be due to the impossibility of reconstructing something as precise as [ɮ] for Proto-Mongolic and imprecision or convenience in notation for Chakhar (Chakhar phonemes according to Dobu 1983).
  23. ^ E.g., bi tegün-i taniǰei I him know -past 'I knew him' is accepted and ?Bi öčögedür iregsen rejected by an Inner Mongolian grammarian from Khorchin (Chuluu 1998: 140, 165); in Khalkha, by contrast, the first sentence would not appear with the meaning attributed to it, while the second is perfectly acceptable.
  24. ^ See, for example, Činggeltei 1959. Notice that this split is blurred by the school grammar, which treats several dialectal varieties as one coherent grammatical system (for example Činggeltei 1999 [1979]). This understanding is in turn reflected in the undecided treatment of - in research work like Bayančoγtu 2002: 306.
  25. ^ "Öbür mongγul ayalγu bol dumdadu ulus-un mongγul kelen-ü saγuri ayalγu bolqu büged dumdadu ulus-un mongγul kelen-ü barimǰiy-a abiy-a ni čaqar aman ayalγun-du saγurilaγsan bayidaγ." (Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 85).
  26. ^ Janhunen 2003d.
  27. ^ Janhunen 2006, except that Mongghul and Mangghuer are treated as a sub-branch (Slater 2003) and that Kangjia has been added (Siqinchaoketu 1999). Khamnigan which Janhunen groups as a Central Mongolic language is usually not discussed by other scholars.
  28. ^ For a history of the Altaic theory, see Georg et al. 1999. Since then, the major pro-Altaistic publication Starostin et al. 2003 has appeared, which got mostly mildly negative to devastating reviews, the most detailed being Vovin 2005.
  29. ^ See Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 249–384.
  30. ^ See Sečenbaγatur 2003
  31. ^ See Bayančoγtu 2002
  32. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 22
  33. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 43–50.
  34. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 46–47, 50–51.
  35. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 1–7, 22–24, 73–75.
  36. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 25–30.
  37. ^ Karlsson 2005: 17
  38. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 20–21, where it is actually stated that they are phonemic only in such words; in Svantesson's analysis, [−ATR] corresponds to "pharyngeal" and [+ATR]—to "nonpharyngeal".
  39. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 62–72.
  40. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 95–97
  41. ^ elaborating on Bosson 1964 and Poppe 1970.
  42. ^ Walker's evidence is collected from one native informant, examples from Poppe 1970, and consultation with James Bosson. She defines stress in terms of pitch, duration and intensity. The analysis pertains to the Khalkha dialect. The phonemic analysis in the examples is adjusted to Svantesson et al. 2005.
  43. ^ Harnud [Köke] 2003.
  44. ^ Harnud 2003 was reviewed by J. Brown in Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 2006 Dec, 36(2): 205–207.
  45. ^ Harnud [Köke] 2003: 44–54, 94–100.
  46. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 58–59.
  47. ^ Sečen 2004.
  48. ^ Luvsanvandan (ed.) 1987: 151–153, 161–163.
  49. ^ Hashimoto 1993.
  50. ^ Luvsanvandan (ed.) 1987: 103–104, 124–125, 130–131.
  51. ^ Tsedendamba and Möömöö 1997: 222–232.
  52. ^ Guntsetseg 2008: 61. The exact conditions of use for indefinite specific direct objects have not yet been specified in detail, but they appear to be related to animacy and textual context.
  53. ^ Sečenbaγatur 2003: 32–46.
  54. ^ Tsedendamba and Möömöö 1997: 234–241.
  55. ^ For a pioneering approach to this problem, see Sajto 1999.
  56. ^ Tsedendamba and Möömöö 1997: 210–219, Sečenbaγatur 2003: 23–29.
  57. ^ This is a simplified treatment of word classes. For a more precise treatment within the descriptive framework common in Inner Mongolia, see Sečenbaγatur 2003.
  58. ^ For the historic background of negation, see Yu 1991. For a phenomenology, see Bjambasan 2001.
  59. ^ Guntsetseg 2008: 55.
  60. ^ Tserenpil and Kullmann 2005: 237, 347.
  61. ^ Svantesson 2003: 164–165.
  62. ^ See Mönh-Amgalan 1998.
  63. ^ Sečenbaγatur 2003: 167.
  64. ^ Hashimoto 2004
  65. ^ Guntsetseg 2008: 54.
  66. ^ Tserenpil and Kullmann 2005: 88, 363–364.
  67. ^ Apatoczky 2005.
  68. ^ Hammar 1983: 45–80.
  69. ^ Kang 2000.
  70. ^ Tserenpil and Kullmann 2005: 348–349.
  71. ^ Sečenbaγatur 2003: 116–123.
  72. ^ Brosig 2009.
  73. ^ Svantesson 2003: 172.
  74. ^ See Sečenbaγatur 2003: 176–182 (who uses the term "postposition" for both and the term "conjunction" for junctors).
  75. ^ Note on notation: the semicolon in the interlinear gloss, witnessed;past indicates that multiple semantic features are simultaneously expressed by a single, unanalyzable affix.
  76. ^ Sečenbaγatur 2003: 152–153.
  77. ^ Johanson 1995.
  78. ^ Mizuno 1995.
  79. ^ Pürev-Očir 1997: 131.
  80. ^ Sečenbaγatur 2003: 36.
  81. ^ Temürčereng 2004: 86–99.
  82. ^ Svantesson 2003: 127.
  83. ^ Temürčereng 2004: 99–102.
  84. ^ Öbür mongγul-un yeke surγaγuli 2005: 792–793.
  85. ^ Baabar (2008-12-09). "Jum bolgon nertej". Ödrijn sonin. 
  86. ^ Öbür mongγul-un yeke surγaγuli 2005: 828.
  87. ^ a b Batchuluun Yembuu, Khulan Munkh-Erdene. 2005. Literacy country study: Mongolia. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006. Literacy for Life. P.7-8]
  88. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 34, 40–41.
  89. ^ Sühbaatar, B. "Mongol helnij kirill üsgijg latin üsgeer galiglah tuhaj". InfoCon. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  90. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 34, 40.
  91. ^ Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 398.
  92. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 111.
  93. ^ E.g. Garudi 2002: 7. But see Rachewiltz 1976)
  94. ^ Djahukyan 1991: 2368
  95. ^ Rybatzki 2003: 58
  96. ^ See Rachewiltz 1999 for a critical review of the terminology used in periodizations of Mongolian; Svantesson et al. 2005: 98–99 attempt a revision of this terminology for the early period.
  97. ^ Rybatzki 2003: 57"
  98. ^ Janhunen 2003a: 32.
  99. ^ Okada 1984.
  100. ^ Nadmid 1967: 98–102.
  101. ^ e.g. Svantesson et al. 2005
  102. ^ e.g. Tömörtogoo 1992
  103. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 118–120
  104. ^ e.g. Poppe 1955
  105. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 118–124.
  106. ^ Janhunen 2003c: 6
  107. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 133, 167.
  108. ^ Rinchen (ed.) (1979): 210.
  109. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 124, 165–166, 205.
  110. ^ Svantesson 2005: 181, 184, 186–187, 190–195.
  111. ^ Ko 2011
  112. ^ Tümenčečeg 1990.
  113. ^ Rybatzki 2003: 67, Svantesson 2003: 162.
  114. ^ Janhunen 2003c: 27.
  115. ^ Rybatzki 2003: 68.
  116. ^ Garudi 2002: 101–107.
  117. ^ Toγtambayar 2006: 18–35.
  118. ^ Toγtambayar 2006: 33–34.
  119. ^ Norčin et al. (ed.) 1999: 2217.
  120. ^ Sečenbaγatur et al. 2005: 228, 386.
  121. ^ Rybatzki 2003: 73, Svantesson 2003: 166.
  122. ^ Weiers 1969: Morphologie, §B.II; Svantesson 2003: 166.
  123. ^ Weiers 1969: Morphologie, §B.III; Luvsanvandan 1987: 86–104.
  124. ^ Luvsanvandan (ed.) 1987: 126, Činggeltei 1999: 251–252.
  125. ^ Rybatzki 2003: 77, Luvsanvandan (ed.) 1987: 126–137
  126. ^ The reconstruction of a social gender distinction is fairly commonplace, see e.g. Rybatzki 2003: 75. A strong argument for the number distinction between -ba and -bai is made in Tümenčečeg 1990: 103–108 (also see Street 2008), where it is also argued that this has been the case for other suffixes.
  127. ^ Street 1957: 14, Secret History 190.13v.
  128. ^ Yu 1991.


For some Mongolian authors, the Mongolian version of their name is also given in square brackets, e.g., "Harnud [Köke]". Köke is the author's native name. It is a practice common among Mongolian scholars, for purposes of publishing and being cited abroad, to adopt a surname based on one's patronymic, in this example "Harnud"; compare Mongolian name.
Some library catalogs write Chinese language titles with each syllable separate, even syllables belonging to a single word.

List of abbreviations used. TULIP is in official use by some librarians; the remainder have been contrived for this listing.

  • KULIP Kyūshū daigaku gengogaku ronshū [Kyushu University linguistics papers]
  • MKDKH Muroran kōgyō daigaku kenkyū hōkoku [Memoirs of the Muroran Institute of Technology]
  • TULIP Tōkyō daigaku gengogaku ronshū [Tokyo University linguistics papers]


  • ÖMAKQ Öbür mongγul-un arad-un keblel-ün qoriy-a [Inner Mongolia People's Publishing House]
  • ÖMSKKQ Öbür mongγul-un surγan kümüǰil-ün keblel-ün qoriy-a [Inner Mongolia Education Press]
  • ÖMYSKQ Öbür mongγul-un yeke surγaγuli-yin keblel-ün qoriy-a [Inner Mongolia University Press]
  • ŠUA [Mongol Ulsyn] Šinžleh Uhaany Akademi [Mongolian Academy of Sciences (MAS)]
  • (Mongolian) Amaržargal, B. 1988. BNMAU dah' mongol helnij nutgijn ajalguuny tol' bichig: halh ajalguu. Ulaanbaatar: ŠUA.
  • Apatóczky, Ákos Bertalan. 2005. On the problem of the subject markers of the Mongolian language. In Wú Xīnyīng, Chén Gānglóng (eds.), Miànxiàng xīn shìjìde ménggǔxué [The Mongolian studies in the new century : review and prospect]. Běijīng: Mínzú Chūbǎnshè. 334–343. ISBN 7-105-07208-3.
  • (Japanese) Ashimura, Takashi. 2002. Mongorugo jarōto gengo no -lɛː no yōhō ni tsuite. TULIP, 21: 147–200.
  • (Mongolian) Bajansan, Ž. and Š. Odontör. 1995. Hel šinžlelijn ner tomjoony züjlčilsen tajlbar tol. Ulaanbaatar.
  • (Mongolian) Bayančoγtu. 2002. Qorčin aman ayalγun-u sudulul. Kökeqota: ÖMYSKQ. ISBN 7-81074-391-0.
  • (Mongolian) Bjambasan, P. 2001. Mongol helnij ügüjsgeh har'caa ilerhijleh hereglüürüüd. Mongol hel, sojolijn surguul: Erdem šinžilgeenij bičig, 18: 9–20.
  • Bosson, James E. 1964. Modern Mongolian; a primer and reader. Uralic and Altaic series; 38. Bloomington: Indiana University.
  • Brosig, Benjamin. 2009. Depictives and resultatives in Modern Khalkh Mongolian. Hokkaidō gengo bunka kenkyū, 7: 71–101.
  • Chuluu, Ujiyediin. 1998. Studies on Mongolian verb morphology. Dissertation, University of Toronto.
  • (Mongolian) Činggeltei. 1999. Odu üj-e-jin mongγul kelen-ü ǰüi. Kökeqota: ÖMAKQ. ISBN 7-204-04593-9.
  • (Mongolian) Coloo, Ž. 1988. BNMAU dah' mongol helnij nutgijn ajalguuny tol' bichig: ojrd ajalguu. Ulaanbaatar: ŠUA.
  • (English) Djahukyan, Gevork. (1991). Armenian Lexicography. In Franz Josef Hausmann (Ed.), An International Encyclopedia of Lexicography (pp. 2367–2371). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
  • (Chinese) [Dobu] Dàobù. 1983. Ménggǔyǔ jiǎnzhì. Běijīng: Mínzú.
  • (Mongolian) Garudi. 2002. Dumdadu üy-e-yin mongγul kelen-ü bütüče-yin kelberi-yin sudulul. Kökeqota: ÖMAKQ.
  • Georg, Stefan, Peter A. Michalove, Alexis Manaster Ramer, Paul J. Sidwell. 1999. Telling general linguists about Altaic. Journal of Linguistics, 35: 65–98.
  • Guntsetseg, D. 2008. Differential Object Marking in Mongolian. Working Papers of the SFB 732 Incremental Specification in Context, 1: 53–69.
  • Hammar, Lucia B. 1983. Syntactic and pragmatic options in Mongolian - a study of bol and n'. Ph.D. Thesis. Bloomington: Indiana University.
  • [Köke] Harnud, Huhe. 2003. A Basic Study of Mongolian Prosody. Helsinki: Publications of the Department of Phonetics, University of Helsinki. Series A; 45. Dissertation. ISBN 952-10-1347-8.
  • (Japanese) Hashimoto, Kunihiko. 1993. <-san> no imiron. MKDKH, 43: 49–94. Sapporo: Dō daigaku.
  • (Japanese) Hashimoto, Kunihiko. 2004. Mongorugo no kopyura kōbun no imi no ruikei. Muroran kōdai kiyō, 54: 91–100.
  • Janhunen, Juha (ed.). 2003. The Mongolic languages. London: Routledge. ISBN 07-7007-1133-3
  • 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.
  • Janhunen, Juha. 2003d. Mongol dialects. In Janhunen 2003: 177–191.
  • Janhunen, Juha. 2006. Mongolic languages. In K. Brown (ed.), The encyclopedia of language & linguistics. Amsterdam: Elsevier: 231–234.
  • Johanson, Lars. 1995. On Turkic Converb Clauses. In Martin Haspelmath and Ekkehard König (eds.), Converbs in cross-linguistic perspective. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter: 313–347. ISBN 978-3-11-014357-7.
  • (Korean) Kang, Sin Hyen. 2000. Tay.mong.kol.e č-uy uy.mi.wa ki.nung. Monggolhak [Mongolian Studies], 10: 1–23. Seoul: Hanʼguk Monggol Hakhoe [Korean Association for Mongolian Studies].
  • Karlsson, Anastasia Mukhanova. 2005. Rhythm and intonation in Halh Mongolian. Ph.D. Thesis. Lund: Lund University. Series: Travaux de l'Institut de Linguistique de Lund; 46. Lund: Lund University. ISBN 91-974116-9-8.
  • Ko, Seongyeon. 2011. Vowel Contrast and Vowel Harmony Shift in the Mongolic Languages. Language Research, 47.1: 23-43.
  • (Mongolian) Luvsanvandan, Š. 1959. Mongol hel ajalguuny učir. Studia Mongolica [Mongolyn sudlal], 1.
  • (Mongolian) Luvsanvandan, Š. (ed.). 1987. (Authors: P. Bjambasan, C. Önörbajan, B. Pürev-Očir, Ž. Sanžaa, C. Žančivdorž) Orčin cagijn mongol helnij ügzüjn bajguulalt. Ulaanbaatar: Ardyn bolovsrolyn jaamny surah bičig, setgüülijn negdsen rjedakcijn gazar.
  • (Japanese) Matsuoka, Yūta. 2007. Gendai mongorugo no asupekuto to dōji no genkaisei. KULIP, 28: 39–68.
  • (Japanese) Mizuno, Masanori. 1995. Gendai mongorugo no jūzokusetsushugo ni okeru kakusentaku. TULIP, 14: 667–680.
  • (Mongolian) Mönh-Amgalan, J. 1998. Orčin tsagijn mongol helnij bajmžijn aj. Ulaanbaatar: Moncame. ISBN 99929-951-2-2.
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