They also mastered the arts of: archery from horseback, mobile homes (yurts), vassal states, conscription from colonies, fermentation of mare's milk (kumiss), inspiring Samuel Taylor Coleridge and keeping a light lunchbox on the road (strips of raw meat beneath the saddle cooked by the friction of travel, washed down with some of their horse's blood.)

Many of these contributions were critical to their success. Others were less so.

Mongolian or Mongol is the language of the mediaeval Mongol Empire and of modern Mongolia. It or a closely related language is also spoken in the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia (Nei Monggol) in China, in the Russian republics of Buryatia bordering Mongolia and Kalmykia in Europe, and by the Hazara people of Afghanistan. Although this represents a wide variety of dialects through place and time, they might almost be considered varieties of the same language. The standard dialect of modern Mongolia is called Khalkha or Khalkh.

Mongolian is not known with certainty to be related to any other language; however, many linguists accept an Altaic family, linking it with the Turkic languages to the west and with the Manchu-Tungus group of north-eastern Asia. They share many grammatical and phonetic features, but differences in vocabulary make it difficult to reconstruct an ancestral Proto-Altaic language with confidence, and it may be that the apparent similarities are due to borrowing and diffusion (being part of a so-called Sprachbund) rather than genetic relation.

Texts exist from the thirteenth century. The language has a unique script of its own, a 24-letter alphabet written cursively from top to bottom, derived from an Uyghur script. Today Mongolian is written in the Cyrillic script, with the addition of two letters for the ö and ü sounds. There is some call for the Classical Mongolian script to be restored.

Both the traditional spelling and the twentieth-century Cyrillic spelling are out of date. Neither accurately reflects the pronunciation of modern Khalkha Mongolian. This is why you get variations such as Ulan Bator and Ulaanbaatar for the capital: the latter is how it's pronounced.

Vowel length is significant. There are seven short vowels, including ö and ü, and eight long ones, with öö and üü and one I might write yy, occurring only long. The exact shades of vowel are not quite what you'd think from the transcription: ü is more like the sound in food while u is as in foot, according to the book I'm working from. I don't know enough detail about it to comment.

One of the features Mongolian shares with other Altaic languages is vowel harmony. Suffixes take different forms depending on whether the stem contains back vowels (a, o, u, yy) or front vowels (e, ö, ü), with i being neutral; and whether the vowels are rounded (o, ö, u, ü) or unrounded. The language is agglutinative, meaning words are built up with numerous suffixes. For example, khot-oos 'from a town', uls-aas 'from a country', ger-ees 'from a ger (yurt)'.

The word order is SOV, i.e. the verb comes last. The direct object is marked with a suffix of long vowel + g. Possession is indicated by long vowel + n.

Mongol surnames were abolished when the Communists took power in the 1920s, so after that Mongols used a patronymic, putting their father's name in the genitive before their own: so someone called Dorjiin Bold is actually Bold the son of Dorj. Surnames have been restored in recent years, though many families' original names have been forgotten.

Numerals 1 to 10: neg khoyor gurav döröv tav zurgaa doloo naim yös arav. There are fused forms for the tens: 20 = khori, 30 = guch, 40 = döch, 50 = taiv, 60 = jar, 70 = dal, 80 = nai, 90 = yör, 100 = zuu. The changes in pronunciation in the modern language may be seen by comparing these to forms recorded by John Bell, a Scotsman who travelled on a Russian embassy to Beijing in 1719-1722, who records 1-10 as neggea choir gurba dirbu tabu zurga dolo nauma jussu arba, and for 100 he has dzo. The Classical Mongolian forms (the most ancient recorded) are nigen qoyar ghurban dörben tabun irghughan dolughan naiman yisün arban, with 100 = aghun.

Mongolian is the name of a range of characters in the Unicode character encoding standard.

The traditional Mongolian script encoded here has been in continuous use since the time of Genghis Khan. In the Mongolian People's Republic, it was replaced by a Cyrillic orthography in the early 1940s, but the traditional script was restored by law in 1992. Although there is no one-to-one transcription between the two scripts, some approximate mappings are given in the chart below.

The Manchu, Sibe and Oirats formed their own writing systems based on the Mongolian script, and the Mongolian code block was extended to cover these scripts. Ali Gali letters were also added to Mongolian, Todo and Manchu for the transcription of Tibetan and Sanskrit.

Mongolian was derived around the 12th Century from Uyghur which was in turn derived from Aramaic which is written right to left. At some point the Mongolian script was transformed as though the page was rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise so that Mongolian is traditional written top to bottom, in columns advancing left to right. If Mongolian is incorporated into horizontal text, it is written left-to-right, to that when view from the side the column order is reversed. Go figure.

The relationship between language and script in Mongolian is similar to English, in that the same letter can represent different sounds, and different letters can represent the same sound. It is also similar to Arabic, in that letters join together cursively and assume contextual forms according to a variety of rules, sometimes having up to 10 different presentation forms for the same letter.

Despite these variations, the encoding is a simple alphabetic one, again much like English and Arabic.

The Mongolian Birga and Mongolian Four Dots are used to mark the beginning and end, respectively, of a section of text

᠀ like this, perhaps. ᠅
The Mongolian Todo soft hyphen works like the hyphen you're used to, breaking a word across a line, but is appears at the beginning of the second line rather than at the end of the first line.
Unicode's Mongolian code block reserves the 176 code points from U+1800 to U+18AF, of which 156 are currently assigned.

Khmer <-- Mongolian --> Limbu

Number of characters added in each version of the Unicode standard :
Unicode 3.0 : 155
Unicode 5.1 : 1

Number of characters in each General Category :

Letter, Modifier       Lm :  1
Letter, Other          Lo :129
Mark, Non-Spacing      Mn :  4
Number, Decimal Digit  Nd : 10
Punctuation, Dash      Pd :  1
Punctuation, Other     Po : 10
Separator, Space       Zs :  1

Number of characters in each Bidirectional Category :

Left To Right       L :140
Non Spacing Mark  NSM :  4
Whitespace         WS :  1
Other Neutral      ON : 11

The columns below should be interpreted as :

  1. The Unicode code for the character
  2. The character in question
  3. The Unicode name for the character
  4. The Unicode General Category for the character
  5. The Unicode Bidirectional Category for the character
  6. The Unicode version when this character was added

If the characters below show up poorly, or not at all, see Unicode Support for possible solutions.




U+1800   ᠀   Mongolian birga Po ON 3.0
ref U+0F04   ༄   Tibetan mark initial yig mgo mdun ma (Tibetan)
U+1801   ᠁   Mongolian ellipsis Po ON 3.0
U+1802   ᠂   Mongolian comma Po ON 3.0
U+1803   ᠃   Mongolian full stop Po ON 3.0
U+1804   ᠄   Mongolian colon Po ON 3.0
U+1805   ᠅   Mongolian four dots Po ON 3.0
* marks the end of a chapter
U+1806   ᠆   Mongolian Todo soft hyphen Pd ON 3.0
* not a format control character, but simply a hyphen for Todo
ref U+00AD   ­   soft hyphen (Latin-1 Supplement)
U+1807   ᠇   Mongolian Sibe syllable boundary marker Po ON 3.0
U+1808   ᠈   Mongolian Manchu comma Po ON 3.0
U+1809   ᠉   Mongolian Manchu full stop Po ON 3.0
U+180A   ᠊   Mongolian nirugu Po ON 3.0

     Format controls

U+180B   ᠋   Mongolian free variation selector one Mn NSM 3.0
* abbreviated FVS1
U+180C   ᠌   Mongolian free variation selector two Mn NSM 3.0
* abbreviated FVS2
U+180D   ᠍   Mongolian free variation selector three Mn NSM 3.0
* abbreviated FVS3
U+180E   ᠎   Mongolian vowel separator Zs WS 3.0
* abbreviated MVS


U+1810   ᠐   Mongolian digit zero Nd L 3.0
U+1811   ᠑   Mongolian digit one Nd L 3.0
U+1812   ᠒   Mongolian digit two Nd L 3.0
U+1813   ᠓   Mongolian digit three Nd L 3.0
U+1814   ᠔   Mongolian digit four Nd L 3.0
U+1815   ᠕   Mongolian digit five Nd L 3.0
U+1816   ᠖   Mongolian digit six Nd L 3.0
U+1817   ᠗   Mongolian digit seven Nd L 3.0
U+1818   ᠘   Mongolian digit eight Nd L 3.0
U+1819   ᠙   Mongolian digit nine Nd L 3.0

     Basic letters

U+1820   ᠠ   Mongolian letter A Lo L 3.0
ref U+0430   а   Cyrillic small letter A (Cyrillic)
U+1821   ᠡ   Mongolian letter E Lo L 3.0
ref U+044D   э   Cyrillic small letter E (Cyrillic)
U+1822   ᠢ   Mongolian letter I Lo L 3.0
ref U+0438   и   Cyrillic small letter I (Cyrillic)
U+1823   ᠣ   Mongolian letter O Lo L 3.0
ref U+043E   о   Cyrillic small letter O (Cyrillic)
U+1824   ᠤ   Mongolian letter U Lo L 3.0
ref U+0443   у   Cyrillic small letter U (Cyrillic)
U+1825   ᠥ   Mongolian letter oe Lo L 3.0
ref U+04E9   ө   Cyrillic small letter barred o (Cyrillic)
U+1826   ᠦ   Mongolian letter ue Lo L 3.0
ref U+04AF   ү   Cyrillic small letter straight u (Cyrillic)
U+1827   ᠧ   Mongolian letter ee Lo L 3.0
U+1828   ᠨ   Mongolian letter na Lo L 3.0
ref U+043D   н   Cyrillic small letter en (Cyrillic)
U+1829   ᠩ   Mongolian letter ang Lo L 3.0
U+182A   ᠪ   Mongolian letter ba Lo L 3.0
ref U+0431   б   Cyrillic small letter be (Cyrillic)
U+182B   ᠫ   Mongolian letter pa Lo L 3.0
ref U+043F   п   Cyrillic small letter pe (Cyrillic)
U+182C   ᠬ   Mongolian letter qa Lo L 3.0
ref U+0445   х   Cyrillic small letter ha (Cyrillic)
U+182D   ᠭ   Mongolian letter ga Lo L 3.0
ref U+0433   г   Cyrillic small letter ghe (Cyrillic)
U+182E   ᠮ   Mongolian letter ma Lo L 3.0
ref U+043C   м   Cyrillic small letter em (Cyrillic)
U+182F   ᠯ   Mongolian letter la Lo L 3.0
ref U+043B   л   Cyrillic small letter el (Cyrillic)
U+1830   ᠰ   Mongolian letter sa Lo L 3.0
ref U+0441   с   Cyrillic small letter es (Cyrillic)
U+1831   ᠱ   Mongolian letter sha Lo L 3.0
ref U+0448   ш   Cyrillic small letter sha (Cyrillic)
U+1832   ᠲ   Mongolian letter ta Lo L 3.0
ref U+0442   т   Cyrillic small letter te (Cyrillic)
U+1833   ᠳ   Mongolian letter da Lo L 3.0
ref U+0434   д   Cyrillic small letter de (Cyrillic)
U+1834   ᠴ   Mongolian letter cha Lo L 3.0
ref U+0447   ч   Cyrillic small letter che (Cyrillic)
U+1835   ᠵ   Mongolian letter ja Lo L 3.0
ref U+0436   ж   Cyrillic small letter zhe (Cyrillic)
U+1836   ᠶ   Mongolian letter ya Lo L 3.0
ref U+0439   й   Cyrillic small letter short i (Cyrillic)
U+1837   ᠷ   Mongolian letter ra Lo L 3.0
ref U+0440   р   Cyrillic small letter er (Cyrillic)
U+1838   ᠸ   Mongolian letter wa Lo L 3.0
ref U+0432   в   Cyrillic small letter ve (Cyrillic)
U+1839   ᠹ   Mongolian letter fa Lo L 3.0
ref U+0444   ф   Cyrillic small letter ef (Cyrillic)
U+183A   ᠺ   Mongolian letter ka Lo L 3.0
ref U+0445   х   Cyrillic small letter ha (Cyrillic)
U+183B   ᠻ   Mongolian letter kha Lo L 3.0
ref U+043A   к   Cyrillic small letter ka (Cyrillic)
U+183C   ᠼ   Mongolian letter tsa Lo L 3.0
ref U+0446   ц   Cyrillic small letter tse (Cyrillic)
U+183D   ᠽ   Mongolian letter za Lo L 3.0
ref U+0437   з   Cyrillic small letter ze (Cyrillic)
U+183E   ᠾ   Mongolian letter haa Lo L 3.0
ref U+0445   х   Cyrillic small letter ha (Cyrillic)
U+183F   ᠿ   Mongolian letter zra Lo L 3.0
ref U+0436   ж   Cyrillic small letter zhe (Cyrillic)
U+1840   ᡀ   Mongolian letter lha Lo L 3.0
U+1841   ᡁ   Mongolian letter zhi Lo L 3.0
U+1842   ᡂ   Mongolian letter chi Lo L 3.0

     Todo letters

U+1843   ᡃ   Mongolian letter Todo long vowel sign Lm L 3.0
U+1844   ᡄ   Mongolian letter Todo e Lo L 3.0
U+1845   ᡅ   Mongolian letter Todo i Lo L 3.0
U+1846   ᡆ   Mongolian letter Todo o Lo L 3.0
U+1847   ᡇ   Mongolian letter Todo u Lo L 3.0
U+1848   ᡈ   Mongolian letter Todo oe Lo L 3.0
U+1849   ᡉ   Mongolian letter Todo ue Lo L 3.0
U+184A   ᡊ   Mongolian letter Todo ang Lo L 3.0
U+184B   ᡋ   Mongolian letter Todo ba Lo L 3.0
U+184C   ᡌ   Mongolian letter Todo pa Lo L 3.0
U+184D   ᡍ   Mongolian letter Todo qa Lo L 3.0
U+184E   ᡎ   Mongolian letter Todo ga Lo L 3.0
U+184F   ᡏ   Mongolian letter Todo ma Lo L 3.0
U+1850   ᡐ   Mongolian letter Todo ta Lo L 3.0
U+1851   ᡑ   Mongolian letter Todo da Lo L 3.0
U+1852   ᡒ   Mongolian letter Todo cha Lo L 3.0
U+1853   ᡓ   Mongolian letter Todo ja Lo L 3.0
U+1854   ᡔ   Mongolian letter Todo tsa Lo L 3.0
U+1855   ᡕ   Mongolian letter Todo ya Lo L 3.0
U+1856   ᡖ   Mongolian letter Todo wa Lo L 3.0
U+1857   ᡗ   Mongolian letter Todo ka Lo L 3.0
U+1858   ᡘ   Mongolian letter Todo gaa Lo L 3.0
U+1859   ᡙ   Mongolian letter Todo haa Lo L 3.0
U+185A   ᡚ   Mongolian letter Todo jia Lo L 3.0
U+185B   ᡛ   Mongolian letter Todo nia Lo L 3.0
U+185C   ᡜ   Mongolian letter Todo dza Lo L 3.0

     Sibe letters

U+185D   ᡝ   Mongolian letter Sibe e Lo L 3.0
U+185E   ᡞ   Mongolian letter Sibe i Lo L 3.0
U+185F   ᡟ   Mongolian letter Sibe iy Lo L 3.0
U+1860   ᡠ   Mongolian letter Sibe ue Lo L 3.0
U+1861   ᡡ   Mongolian letter Sibe u Lo L 3.0
U+1862   ᡢ   Mongolian letter Sibe ang Lo L 3.0
U+1863   ᡣ   Mongolian letter Sibe ka Lo L 3.0
U+1864   ᡤ   Mongolian letter Sibe ga Lo L 3.0
U+1865   ᡥ   Mongolian letter Sibe ha Lo L 3.0
U+1866   ᡦ   Mongolian letter Sibe pa Lo L 3.0
U+1867   ᡧ   Mongolian letter Sibe sha Lo L 3.0
U+1868   ᡨ   Mongolian letter Sibe ta Lo L 3.0
U+1869   ᡩ   Mongolian letter Sibe da Lo L 3.0
U+186A   ᡪ   Mongolian letter Sibe ja Lo L 3.0
U+186B   ᡫ   Mongolian letter Sibe fa Lo L 3.0
U+186C   ᡬ   Mongolian letter Sibe gaa Lo L 3.0
U+186D   ᡭ   Mongolian letter Sibe haa Lo L 3.0
U+186E   ᡮ   Mongolian letter Sibe tsa Lo L 3.0
U+186F   ᡯ   Mongolian letter Sibe za Lo L 3.0
U+1870   ᡰ   Mongolian letter Sibe raa Lo L 3.0
U+1871   ᡱ   Mongolian letter Sibe cha Lo L 3.0
U+1872   ᡲ   Mongolian letter Sibe zha Lo L 3.0

     Manchu letters

U+1873   ᡳ   Mongolian letter Manchu i Lo L 3.0
U+1874   ᡴ   Mongolian letter Manchu ka Lo L 3.0
U+1875   ᡵ   Mongolian letter Manchu ra Lo L 3.0
U+1876   ᡶ   Mongolian letter Manchu fa Lo L 3.0
U+1877   ᡷ   Mongolian letter Manchu zha Lo L 3.0

     Extensions for Sanskrit and Tibetan

U+1880   ᢀ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali anusvara one Lo L 3.0
ref U+0F83   ྃ   Tibetan sign sna ldan (Tibetan)
U+1881   ᢁ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali visarga one Lo L 3.0
ref U+0F7F   ཿ   Tibetan sign rnam bcad (Tibetan)
U+1882   ᢂ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali damaru Lo L 3.0
ref U+0F88   ྈ   Tibetan sign lce tsa can (Tibetan)
U+1883   ᢃ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali ubadama Lo L 3.0
U+1884   ᢄ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali inverted ubadama Lo L 3.0
U+1885   ᢅ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali baluda Lo L 3.0
ref U+0F85   ྅   Tibetan mark paluta (Tibetan)
U+1886   ᢆ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali three baluda Lo L 3.0
U+1887   ᢇ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali a Lo L 3.0
U+1888   ᢈ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali i Lo L 3.0
U+1889   ᢉ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali ka Lo L 3.0
U+188A   ᢊ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali nga Lo L 3.0
U+188B   ᢋ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali ca Lo L 3.0
U+188C   ᢌ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali tta Lo L 3.0
U+188D   ᢍ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali ttha Lo L 3.0
U+188E   ᢎ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali dda Lo L 3.0
U+188F   ᢏ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali nna Lo L 3.0
U+1890   ᢐ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali ta Lo L 3.0
U+1891   ᢑ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali da Lo L 3.0
U+1892   ᢒ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali pa Lo L 3.0
U+1893   ᢓ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali pha Lo L 3.0
U+1894   ᢔ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali ssa Lo L 3.0
U+1895   ᢕ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali zha Lo L 3.0
U+1896   ᢖ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali za Lo L 3.0
U+1897   ᢗ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali ah Lo L 3.0
U+1898   ᢘ   Mongolian letter Todo Ali Gali ta Lo L 3.0
U+1899   ᢙ   Mongolian letter Todo Ali Gali zha Lo L 3.0
U+189A   ᢚ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali gha Lo L 3.0
U+189B   ᢛ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali nga Lo L 3.0
U+189C   ᢜ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali ca Lo L 3.0
U+189D   ᢝ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali jha Lo L 3.0
U+189E   ᢞ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali tta Lo L 3.0
U+189F   ᢟ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali ddha Lo L 3.0
U+18A0   ᢠ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali ta Lo L 3.0
U+18A1   ᢡ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali dha Lo L 3.0
U+18A2   ᢢ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali ssa Lo L 3.0
U+18A3   ᢣ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali cya Lo L 3.0
U+18A4   ᢤ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali zha Lo L 3.0
U+18A5   ᢥ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali za Lo L 3.0
U+18A6   ᢦ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali half u Lo L 3.0
U+18A7   ᢧ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali half ya Lo L 3.0
U+18A8   ᢨ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali bha Lo L 3.0
U+18A9   ᢩ   Mongolian letter Ali Gali dagalga Mn NSM 3.0
U+18AA   ᢪ   Mongolian letter Manchu Ali Gali lha Lo L 5.1
Some prose may have been lifted verbatim from,
as is permitted by their terms of use at

Mon*go"li*an (?), a.

Of or pertaining to Mongolia or the Mongols.



One of the Mongols.


© Webster 1913.

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