Buryat language

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Buryat
буряад хэлэн buryaad khelen
Native to Russia (Buryat Republic, Ust-Orda Buryatia, Aga Buryatia), northern Mongolia, China (Hulunbuir)
Ethnicity Buryats, Barga Mongols
Native speakers
unknown (330,000 cited 1982–2010)[1]
Mongolic
  • Central Mongolic
    • Buryat
Cyrillic, Mongolian script, Vagindra script
Official status
Official language in
 Buryatia (Russia)
Language codes
ISO 639-2 bua
ISO 639-3 buainclusive code
Individual codes:
bxu – China Buriat
bxm – Mongolia Buriat
bxr – Russia Buriat
Linguasphere part of 44-BAA-b
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Buryat (Buriat) /ˈbʊriæt/[2] (Buryat Cyrillic: буряад хэлэн buryaad khelen) is a variety of Mongolic spoken by the Buryats that is classified either as a language or as a major dialect group of Mongolian. The majority of Buryat speakers live in Russia along the northern border of Mongolia where it is an official language in the Buryat Republic, Ust-Orda Buryatia and Aga Buryatia.[3] In the Russian census of 2002, 353,113 people out of an ethnic population of 445,175 could speak Buryat (72.3%). Some other 15,694 can also speak Buryat, mostly ethnic Russians.[4] There are at least 100,000 ethnic Buryats in Mongolia and the People's Republic of China as well.[5] Buryats in Russia have a separate literary standard, written in a Cyrillic alphabet.[6]

Dialects[edit]

The delimitation of Buryat mostly concerns its relationship to its immediate neighbors, Mongolian proper and Khamnigan. While Khamnigan is sometimes regarded as a dialect of Buryat, this is not supported by isoglosses. The same holds for Tsongol and Sartul dialects, which rather group with Khalkha Mongolian to which they historically belong. Buryat dialects are:

  • Khori group east of Lake Baikal comprising Khori, Aga, Tugnui, and North Selenga dialects. Khori is also spoken by most Buryats in Mongolia and a few speakers in Hulunbuir.
  • Lower Uda (Nizhneudinsk) dialect, the dialect situated furthest to the west and which shows the strongest influence by Turkic
  • Alar–Tunka group comprising Alar, Tunka–Oka, Zakamna, and Unga in the southwest of Lake Baikal in the case of Tunka also in Mongolia.
  • Ekhirit–Bulagat group in the Ust’-Orda National District comprising Ekhirit–Bulagat, Bokhan, Ol’khon, Barguzin, and Baikal–Kudara
  • Bargut group in Hulunbuir (which is historically known as Barga), comprising Old Bargut and New Bargut[7]

Based on loan vocabulary, a division might be drawn between Russia Buriat, Mongolia Buriat and China Buriat.[8] However, as the influence of Russian is much stronger in the dialects traditionally spoken west of Lake Baikal, a division might rather be drawn between the Khori and Bargut group on the one hand and the other three groups on the other hand.[9]

Phonology[edit]

Buryat has the vowel phonemes /i, ə, e, a, u, ʊ, o, ɔ/ (plus a few diphthongs),[10] short /e/ being realized as [ɯ], and the consonant phonemes /b, g, d, th, m, n, x, l, r/ (each with a corresponding palatalized phoneme) and /s, ʃ, h, j/.[11] These vowels are restricted in their occurrence according to vowel harmony.[12] The basic syllable structure is (C)V(C) in careful articulation, but word-final CC clusters may occur in more rapid speech if short vowels of non-initial syllables get lost.[13]

Stress[edit]

Lexical stress (word accent) falls on the last heavy nonfinal syllable when one exists. Otherwise, it falls on the word-final heavy syllable when one exists. If there are no heavy syllables, then the initial syllable is stressed. Heavy syllables without primary stress receive secondary stress:[14]

ˌHˈHL [ˌøːɡˈʃøːxe] "to act encouragingly"
LˌHˈHL [naˌmaːˈtuːlxa] "to cause to be covered with leaves"
ˌHLˌHˈHL [ˌbuːzaˌnuːˈdiːje] "steamed dumplings (accusative)"
ˌHˈHLLL [ˌtaːˈruːlaɡdaxa] "to be adapted to"
ˈHˌH [ˈboːˌsoː] "bet"
HˌH [daˈlaiˌɡaːr] "by sea"
HLˌH [xuˈdaːliŋɡˌdaː] "to the husband's parents"
LˌHˈHˌH [daˌlaiˈɡaːˌraː] "by one's own sea"
ˌHLˈHˌH [ˌxyːxenˈɡeːˌreː] "by one's own girl"
LˈH [xaˈdaːr] "through the mountain"
ˈLL [ˈxada] "mountain"[15]

Secondary stress may also occur on word-initial light syllables without primary stress, but further research is required. The stress pattern is the same as in Khalkha Mongolian.[16]

Grammar[edit]

Buryat is an SOV language that makes exclusive use of postpositions. Buryat is equipped with eight grammatical cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, instrumental, ablative, indefinite, comitative and the dative-locative.[17]

Numerals[edit]

English Classical Mongolian Buryat
1 One Nigen Negen
2 Two Qoyar Xoyor
3 Three Γurban Γurban
4 Four Dörben Dürben
5 Five Tabun Taban
6 Six Jirγuγan Zurγaan
7 Seven Doloγan Doloon
8 Eight Naiman Nayman
9 Nine Yisun Yühen
10 Ten Arban Arban

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Buryat at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    China Buriat at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Mongolia Buriat at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Russia Buriat at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  3. ^ Skribnik 2003: 102, 105
  4. ^ Russian Census (2002)
  5. ^ Skribnik 2003: 102
  6. ^ Skribnik 2003: 105
  7. ^ Skribnik 2003: 104
  8. ^ Gordon (ed.) 2005
  9. ^ Skribnik 2003: 102, 104
  10. ^ Poppe 1960: 8
  11. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005ː 146; the status of [ŋ] is problematic, see Skribnik 2003: 107. In Poppe 1960's description, places of vowel articulation are somewhat more fronted.
  12. ^ Skribnik 2003: 107
  13. ^ Poppe 1960: 13-14
  14. ^ Walker 1997
  15. ^ Walker 1997: 27-28
  16. ^ Walker 1997
  17. ^ "Overview of the Buriat Language". Learn the Buriat Language & Culture. Transparent Language. Retrieved 4 Nov 2011. 

References[edit]

  • Poppe, Nicholas (1960): Buriat grammar. Uralic and Altaic series (No. 2). Bloomington: Indiana University.
  • Skribnik, Elena (2003): Buryat. In: Juha Janhunen (ed.): The Mongolic languages. London: Routledge: 102-128.
  • Svantesson, Jan-Olof, Anna Tsendina, Anastasia Karlsson, Vivan Franzén (2005): The Phonology of Mongolian. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Walker, Rachel (1997): Mongolian stress, licensing, and factorial typology. (Online on the Rutgers Optimality Archive website: roa.rutgers.edu/view.php3?id=184.)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]