Mongolic languages

Mongolia; Inner Mongolia, Buryatia, Kalmykia (Russia) and Herat (Afghanistan)
Linguistic classificationKhitan–Mongolic?[1] (see below)
Otherwise one of the world's primary language families
ISO 639-5xgn
Topographic map showing Asia as centered on modern-day Mongolia and Kazakhstan. Areas are marked in multiple colors and attributed some of the language names of Mongolic languages. The extent of the colored area is somewhat less than in the previous map.
Geographic distribution of the Mongolic languages

The Mongolic languages are a group of languages spoken in East-Central Asia, mostly in Mongolia and surrounding areas plus in Kalmykia and Buryatia. The best-known member of this language family, Mongolian, is the primary language of most of the residents of Mongolia and the Mongolian residents of Inner Mongolia, with an estimated 5.7+ million speakers.[3]

The closest relatives of the Mongolic languages appear to be the extinct Khitan[1] and Tuyuhun languages. Some linguists have grouped Mongolic with Turkic, Tungusic, and possibly Koreanic and Japonic as part of the controversial Altaic family.[4]


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[5] or late 16th century[6]; 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.


Alexander Vovin (2007) identifies the extinct Tabγač or Tuoba language as a Mongolic language.[7] However, Chen (2005)[8] argues that Tuoba (Tabγač) was a Turkic language.

The classification and numbers of speakers above follow Janhunen (2006)[9] except for Southern Mongolic, which follows Nugteren (2011).[10] In another classificational approach,[11] 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).[12] 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)[13] recognizes the following 6 areal subgroups of Mongolic.

Mixed languages

The following are mixed Sinitic–Mongolic languages.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Mongoolse tale
العربية: لغات منغولية
aragonés: Luengas mongols
azərbaycanca: Monqol dilləri
беларуская: Мангольскія мовы
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Мангольскія мовы
български: Монголски езици
brezhoneg: Yezhoù mongolek
dolnoserbski: Mongolske rěcy
Esperanto: Mongola lingvaro
français: Langues mongoles
한국어: 몽골어족
hornjoserbsce: Mongolske rěče
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Mongolik
latviešu: Mongoļu valodas
lietuvių: Mongolų kalbos
Lingua Franca Nova: Linguas mongolica
македонски: Монголски јазици
Nederlands: Mongoolse talen
norsk nynorsk: Mongolske språk
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Moʻgʻul tillari
română: Limbi mongolice
Runa Simi: Mungul rimaykuna
Simple English: Mongolic languages
slovenčina: Mongolské jazyky
српски / srpski: Монголски језици
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Mongolski jezici
svenska: Mongolspråk
татарча/tatarça: Монгол телләре
Türkçe: Moğol dilleri
українська: Монгольські мови
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: مۇڭغۇل تىللىرى
Tiếng Việt: Ngữ hệ Mông Cổ
粵語: 蒙古語族
中文: 蒙古语族