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Mongolian language

The Mongolic languages are group of languages spoken in Central Asia. Some linguists propose the grouping of Mongolian languages with Turkic (of which Turkish is a member) and Tungusic as Altaic languages, but this is not universally agreed upon.

The best-known member of this language family, Mongolian, is the primary language of most of the residents of Mongolia. The majority of speakers speak the Khalkha dialect. It is also spoken in some of the surrounding areas in provinces of China and the Russian Federation. Mongolian has been written in a variety of alphabets over the years.

The official Mongolian alphabet was created in the 12th century, although it has undergone transformations and occasionally been supplanted by other scripts. The Mongolian alphabet was used in Mongolia until 1943, when it was replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet, and Cyrillic is still the most common script found in Mongolia, while the traditional alphabet is being slowly reintroduced in the public school system.

Related languages include Kalmyk spoken near the Caspian Sea and Buryat of East Siberia, as well as a number of minor languages in China and the Moghol of Afghanistan. If the Ural-Altaic hypothesis is correct, Mongolian is also a distant relative of Hungarian, Finnish, Sami, and Estonian.

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Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45