Exploring Asia: Interesting facts about the Mongolian language

By far, we have acquainted you with the peculiarities of numerous languages, spoken around the continent of Asia. Today, we will be taking a look at the language of the Mongols. If you wonder why we picked it up, just continue reading and you’ll know? There are indeed a lot of interesting facts that might make you fall a little bit in love with this ancient yet modern language!

History of the Mongolian language

Some historians suggest that Mongolian might be one of the oldest languages in the world. However, this is a statement hard to prove as before the 13th century (when Mongolians created their script), Mongolian was only a spoken language. Thus, it can’t be proven it is as old as some other ancient tongues. Nevertheless, it is a fact that the Mongolian race has been existing for more than two millennia and this certainly provides enough reason to believe that Mongolian has been spoken even before the birth of Christ.

Debates of origin and family

Mongolian languageThe Mongolian language is part of the Mongolic language family. Those are a group of languages mainly spoken in Eastern and Central Asia and also includes the already extinct Khitan and Tuyuhun languages. There are serious debates as to connecting the Mongolic language family to the Altaic one. Some linguists see a connection between Mongolian, Turkic, Korean and Japanese, while others strongly disagree with such theories.

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan is the founder of the Mongol Empire during the 13th century. He is most famous about his talents in war, his achievements on the field, and his ferocious reputation. In fact, Genghis Khan himself could not read or write, but he was the man who ordered the creation of the first Mongolian writing system – the Mongolian script. Even today, there are parts in Mongolia where people still use this system.

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Mongolian language and the Cyrillic alphabet

As strange as it might sound, Mongolians really use the Cyrillic alphabet. It has been adopted as the official writing system in 1943 supported by Mongolia’s being part of the Comintern association of the communist countries during WWII.

The Mongolian alphabet now has 35 letters with 7 vowels. That is more than most Cyrillic alphabets consist of.

Mongolians learn Russian more easily than Chinese

Although this fact is not entirely connected to the Mongolian language itself, it helps to really understand it. A great number of people believe that since Mongolians and Chinese are physically alike, it should be natural for them to understand one another. The two languages, however, have nothing in common. Mongolians tend to learn Russian way faster than any other foreign language as their alphabet is very much alike and so is the pronunciation.

Mongol Khuumii

This is not about the language of Mongolia but rather than about the Mongolian voice technique Khuumii. It is a form of musical art quite like singing that involves producing two simultaneous tones with the human voice. This technique requires a special way of breathing so you can produce the two tones – one comes out as a whistle-like sound, while a lower tone sounds as a base. It is a mesmerizing form of art that you can find and listen to even on the internet.

Getting acquainted with all those interesting facts, you can only imagine what an adventure this language is for the translation industry. Although Mongolian is spoken by only 3.6 million people, there is still quite a large demand for translation and interpretation work from and to Mongolian.

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