The stages of Historical Mongolic are:
- Classical Mongolian, from approximately 1700 to 1900
- Middle Mongol (depending on classification spoken from the 13th century until the early 15th century or late 16th century; given the almost entire lack of written sources for the period in between, an exact cutoff point cannot be established)
- Standard Mongolian The standard Mongolian language has been used since World War Two in 1919 and even up to now, the standard Mongolian language is still used in the economic, political, and social fields, the standard Mongolian alphabet identical to the Russian alphabet called the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet. It was introduced in the 1940s in the Mongolian People's Republic under Soviet influence, after a brief period where Latin was used as the official script. After the Mongolian democratic revolution in 1990, the traditional Mongolian script was briefly considered to replace Cyrillic, but the plan was canceled in the end.
Contemporary Mongolic languages are classified as follows.
- Daur (96,000 speakers)
- Central Mongolic
- Southern Mongolic (part of a Gansu–Qinghai Sprachbund)
- Moghol (200 speakers)
Alexander Vovin (2007) identifies the extinct Tabγač or Tuoba language as a Mongolic language. However, Chen (2005) argues that Tuoba (Tabγač) was a Turkic language.
The classification and numbers of speakers above follow Janhunen (2006) except for Southern Mongolic, which follows Nugteren (2011). In another classificational approach, there is a tendency to call Central Mongolian a language consisting of Mongolian proper, Oirat and Buryat, while Ordos (and implicitly also Khamnigan) is seen as a variety of Mongolian proper. Within Mongolian proper, they then draw a distinction between Khalkha on the one hand and Southern Mongolian (containing everything else) on the other hand. A less common subdivision of Central Mongolic is to divide it into 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). The broader delimitation of Mongolian may be based on mutual intelligibility, but an analysis based on a tree diagram such as the one above faces other problems because of the close contacts between, for example, Buryat and Khalkha Mongols during history, thus creating or preserving a dialect continuum. Another problem lies in the sheer comparability of terminology, as Western linguists use language and dialect, while Mongolian linguists use the Grimmian trichotomy language (kele), dialect (nutuγ-un ayalγu) and Mundart (aman ayalγu).
Rybatzki (2003: 388-389) recognizes the following 6 areal subgroups of Mongolic.
The following are mixed Sinitic–Mongolic languages.