Mongolic languages | pre-proto-mongolic
Pre-Proto-Mongolic is the name for the stage of Mongolic that precedes Proto-Mongolic. Proto-Mongolic can be clearly identified chronologically with the language spoken by the Mongols during Genghis Khan's early expansion in the 1200-1210s. Pre-Proto-Mongolic by contrast is a continuum that stretches back indefinitely in time. It is divided into Early Pre-Proto-Mongolic and Late Pre-Proto-Mongolic. Late Pre-Proto-Mongolic refers to the Mongolic spoken a few centuries before Proto-Mongolic by the Mongols and neighboring tribes like the Merkits and Keraits. Certain archaic words and features in Written Mongol go back past Proto-Mongolic to Late Pre-Proto-Mongolic (Janhunen 2006). In the case of Early Pre-Proto-Mongolic certain loanwords in the Mongolic languages point to early contact with Oghur (Pre-Proto-Bulgaric) Turkic also known as r-Turkic. These loanwords precede Common Turkic (z-Turkic) loanwords and include Mongolic ikere (twins) from Pre-Proto-Bulgaric ikir (versus Common Turkic ekiz), hüker (ox) from Pre-Proto-Bulgaric hekür (Common Turkic öküz), jer (weapon) from Pre-Proto-Bulgaric jer (Common Turkic yäz), biragu (calf) versus Common Turkic buzagu and siri- (to smelt ore) versus Common Turkic siz- (to melt). These are thought to have been borrowed from Oghur Turkic during the time of the Xiongnu. Subsequent Turkic people in Mongolia all spoke forms of Common Turkic (z-Turkic) as opposed to Oghur (Bulgharic) Turkic which withdrew to the west in the 4th century. The Chuvash language spoken by 1 million people in European Russia is the only living representative of Oghur Turkic which split from Common Turkic around the 1st century CE. Words in Mongolic like dayir (brown, Common Turkic yagiz) and nidurga (fist, Common Turkic yudruk) with initial *d and *n versus Common Turkic *y are sufficiently archaic to indicate loans from an earlier stage of Oghur (Pre-Proto-Bulgaric) since Chuvash and Common Turkic do not differ in these features despite differing fundamentally in rhotacism-lambdacism (Janhunen 2006). Oghur tribes lived in the Mongolian borderlands before the 5th century and provided Oghur loanwords to Early Pre-Proto-Mongolic before Common Turkic loanwords.