Talk:Mongolic languages

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Rogue game[edit]

I've definitely got a lot to learn on this subject.

I've actually heard that the names of the scrolls in the computer game Rogue are written in one of the Mongolic languages.

Gringo300 03:53, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Why would this be relevant? --Latebird 08:45, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Because is shows some importance of the languages in the global perspective. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:12, 12 April 2008 (UTC)


Darkhat and Khorchin are considered Mongolian dialects, rather than languages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) --Latebird 08:45, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Sources? --Latebird 08:45, 12 February 2007 (UTC)


I'm under the impression that there is actually some difference between the language of the Khalkha and the official language of Mongolia. From what I've read, Mongolia's official language is BASED on the language of the Khalkha. Gringo300 07:52, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Your impression happens to be incorrect. This article is about a different subject matter anyway. --Latebird 08:45, 12 February 2007 (UTC)


The subdivision templates throughout Wikipedia tend overwhelmingly to follow the Ethnologue/Linguist List classifications. The text of the article must not be original research so that is why the templates follow Ethnologue/Linguist List by and large. If all the subordinate languages of Mongolic are equal (no subdivisions), then they should be listed individually in the template (see Eastern Algonquian languages or Biu-Mandara A.5 languages for examples). If there is grouping under the level of Mongolic then this should be reflected in the template. The template is for navigation. Without those subbranches or daughters, then the template fails in its purpose of easily navigating through a family tree. (Taivo (talk) 12:14, 17 March 2008 (UTC))

Basically, I agree with you. But first, you won't find me the only linguist to not consider the Ethnologue a reference of choice. Then, more specifically, the classification into “equal” and not so is very difficult. Eg it is possible that Southeastern Mongolic and South-Central Mongolic had a common ancestor, but it is problematic whether this group derives from Common Mongolic (which is about the same as Middle Mongolian) or from Proto-Mongolic. Then, Moghol certainly hails from Middle Mongolian, so it can’t be on the same level, and so do Northern, Western and Central Mongolic. The relation of Ordos to Central Mongolic poses a problem. Therefore, I think that a great bunch of work would have to be undertaken and different approaches to classification compared (the approach in Janhunen 2003 is only one of many and not necessarily representative) before an educated subclassification could be undertaken. I am not gonna do this, and you quite apparently haven’t done so. I therefore think that it's better to be safe than sorry and not write anything at all, or that one should list any language available without any regard to subbranching. And I’d like to have a source for the Eastern Mongolic group, and a list of what languages should be subsumed under this. G Purevdorj 14:17, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I'll cover the easy stuff first. The "source" for Eastern Mongolic is Ethnologue/Linguist List, but it's also what is found in Ruhlen (1976) from older classifications. Now, that said, I agree with you that Ethnologue/Linguist List and Ruhlen (1976) are not the pinnacles of classification. But they have the advantage of being "global" and relatively free of overt "uncertainty". They are useful for projects such as Wikipedia's language templates for that reason. That, of course, does not preclude a more detailed discussion within the text. Indeed, discussing the problems with Mongolic classification within the text of the article is done often in Wikipedia, even when the template box follows Ethnologue/Linguist List. I actually own a copy of Janhunen 2003 and have read the chapters on classification. I know how thorny the problem of Mongolic classification is. One option short of just listing languages as daughters in the template box is to follow the example of Varieties of Arabic. The Arabic language article's template box has a reference to Varieties of Arabic and on the Varieties page, there is a sort-of classification of the dialects with ISO numbers following varieties. This is by no means an "official" classification, but a working one. There is no unanimity of opinion on its overall "correctness", but it is a working model. But, as with all things on Wikipedia, it gets hammered by the REFERENCES bug/bot. Everything must be verifiable through published sources. That's why the Ethnologue/Linguist List classification scheme, although far from perfect, is useful as a working tool, especially in the templates--it's easily verifiable and accepted as "authoritative" by the Wikipedia powers that be. (Taivo (talk) 15:18, 17 March 2008 (UTC))


If you don't like where Kitan is placed in Linguist List (as a node of Mongolic), then decide where it should be and we'll work out the proper template placement. But the placement of Kitan, according to the rules of Wikipedia, cannot be placed by original research, it must be verifiable by some reference (such as Linguist List, Ethnologue, Jahunnen, etc.) (Taivo (talk) 12:16, 17 March 2008 (UTC))

I'm not a researcher into any premodern Mongolic languages, so it's not necessary to suspect that I write any original research here. But for the classification of Khitan as Pre-Proto-Mongolic, please see "Janhunen, Juha (1996): Manchuria: An Ethnic History. Helsinki: The Finno-Ugrian Society: 145-146". G Purevdorj 13:50, 17 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by G Purevdorj (talkcontribs)

So right now, Linguist List places Middle Mongolian, Classical Mongolian and Kitan directly under the Mongolic node. Placing Middle and Classical outside the subgrouping and as separate nodes under the family name is pretty standard for "old" languages even though it's a bit artificial since one kind often blends into another. This is akin to placing Ancient Egyptian, Demotic, and Coptic as three nodes of "Egyptian". It implies three languages even though there was never more than one language spoken at a time.
The problem comes with Kitan, which is a sister to Proto-Mongolic (the "Pre-" is a historical linguist's sleight of hand for a certain type of analysis). We can set up an article for the "Mongolic-Kitan" family, with two daughters--Mongolic and Kitan, but this might prove more problematic than it is worth. I'm not against it, but referencing will be critical. That name is also not found in any of the literature or published classifications. My personal preference would be to have a separate article on Kitan which spells out the classification issues; a Mongolic article that lists Kitan in the template before Middle and Classical Mongolian with a note (as it is right now); and a good discussion of the placement of Kitan in the Mongolic article with an outline of Mongolic daughters excluding Kitan. One thing that I think needs to be done is to pull the discussion of Kitan out of the Mongolian language article and place it here in Mongolic languages and also on the Khitan language page. Having a discussion of Kitan down on the Mongolian language page dilutes the argument that it is a sister of Proto-Mongolic. Having the discussion on the Mongolian language page makes it look like a daughter of Mongolian. (Taivo (talk) 16:00, 17 March 2008 (UTC))

„historical linguist's sleight of hand”? Well put. Totally agree. If we’re lucky, we can get a grasp at Pre-Proto-Mongolic (before its late phase) in 20 years, no use to write much about it now. For that same reason, I wouldn’t consider an article on “Mongolic-Kitan” a good idea. So you can go ahead as you suggested.

“a discussion of Kitan down on the Mongolian language page dilutes the argument that it is a sister of Proto-Mongolic”. I’m not sure. There is one cultural tradition from 1200 to 1900 (leading to a fictuous entity such as a nation that is projected back to about 1150), and (to the notable complication of my own research on modern Mongolian) a literary tradition that continuously exists from 1700 to today in a somewhat adapted way (as is true of Kalmyk and likely also of Buryat literature). So if I would talk about what was before Mongolian, I would start at 1200 looking into the past. On the other hand, as it is now, this information is only provided in Mongolian language and not in the more specific articles, and that might give rise to a false impression indeed. Thus, if you think it is best, take Mongolian language#Prehistoric Mongolic from the Mongolian language article and place it elsewhere. G Purevdorj 17:18, 17 March 2008 (UTC)


By inserting "quotation needed", I'm not sure if the Morgan quote would suffice albeit I didn't find the time to look it up. If anyone had the book at hand, any informations from that book and especially its source of information could be quoted at length. Now if there aren't other sources or Morgan proves to be beyond doubt, this reference should not be contained in the content paragraphs, but be buried somewhere in the text body. And it would have to be confirmed that this language is still spoken. Otherwise, something like "It was claimed in year XY by YZ that another Mongolic language, Nikudari, was spoken in ... by such and such a number of speakers of such and such an age." and possibly "Apart from this source, there is no information on this language." G Purevdorj 08:18, 12 May 2008 (UTC)


This article uses various Mongolic-related terms: Pre-Proto-Mongolic, Proto-Mongolic, Common Mongolic (and Para-Mongolic). These terms are certainly used in Juha Janhunen's The Mongolic languages, but are they really accepted among the linguistic circles? I happened to see a criticism from Christopher Beckwith. In his Methodological Observations on Some Recent Studies of the Early Ethnolinguistic History of Korea and Vicinity (Altai Hakpo, Vol.16, p.103), he says:

He [Janhunen] seems also to have innovated the use of 'Para-' as a pseudolinguistic prefix for some languages of eastern Eurasia. However, there is no reason for its use other than to obscure language relationships and add unnecessarily to the already sufficiently imprecise theorizing that has long dominated the linguistics of northeastern Eurasia.

Just out of curiosity. --Nanshu (talk) 22:52, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

So are you criticizing the use of all those terms, or (like Beckwith, apparently) only the "Para-"? --Latebird (talk) 05:01, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
The use of "Para-" by Janhunen is unusual, and I didn't adapt it when writing the historical parts. For the use of the other terminology, please read my discussion with Taivo in the section on “Kitan” on this very talk page. The problem is that even within such a highly complicated framework (and that’s all it is at the moment), several problems remain that might necessitate further complexity. For a less concerned approach to this, see the last comment of Taivo in the discussion under “Template”. It would be possible and maybe desirable to strive for a simplification of the presentation also in order to further reduce the prominence of constructs that still remain theoretical, but suggestions to this effect should be made on the talk pages first. G Purevdorj (talk) 11:24, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
One more thing: Taivo did convince me that it is not a good idea to create pages for stuff like Common Mongolic, Pre-Proto-Mongolic etc. But I think Proto-Mongolic and Middle Mongolian would be desirable. G Purevdorj (talk) 11:38, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. I just thought that if one term/classification claimed/invented by one scholar was not widely accepted and yet worth noting, it would be nice to attribute it to him in the main text (not just in notes).
PS. I definitely want Middle Mongolian. --Nanshu (talk) 13:07, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Why does this article use the word "Prehistoric"? Usually this word refers to things before the appearance of the human. It sounds like paleontology. Gantuya eng (talk) 12:57, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
I used the term in the sense immediately given under prehistory: before written history (namely, of the language), but I didn't adapt it from the terminology used in any actual research. Yet, when considering it very carefully, the term is not ideal: there may be Chinese records of (not technically speaking) some pre-proto-mongolic items. Any idea to replace the term? G Purevdorj (talk) 13:08, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, if find out a term to replace "historical Mongolic", then it will be easy to replace "Prehistoric". Gantuya eng (talk) 15:04, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Weasel word tag[edit]

I don't see what you mean. Rather, the object of research is still very vague to the eye of the researcher. You might be so helpful as to detail your concerns, though, which might lead to actual improvement of this article. If this claim isn't substantiated until Sunday morning, I'll remove it. G Purevdorj (talk) 08:42, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Mongolic terminology[edit]

(this discussion moved here from User:Yaan's talk page) Wikipedia seems to be inconsistent on the use of the term "Mongolic", which reflects either inconsistencies within the source material or a confusion about the source material. In the comparable instance of the term "Tibetic", I have found that the linguists do use the term inconsistently; I have pushed Wikipedia to settle on a particular usage by which "Tibetic" corresponds to "Tibetan", i.e. the Tibetic languages are the languages of the Tibetans. In principle, one could apply "Mongolic" the same way; the other alternative would be to apply "Mongolic" to Classical Mongolian along with its cousins, such as Khitan. In other words, given these two options, the Khitan language would either be described as "a language related to the Mongolic languages" or as "a Mongolic language" (the difference being purely semantic). I'm not sure which usage of "Mongolic" is more common in the literature, but it would be good if Wikipedia would pick one and be consistent about it. This would, however, potentially complicate such descriptions as "The Xianbei (simplified Chinese: 鲜卑; traditional Chinese: 鮮卑; pinyin: Xiānbēi; Wade–Giles: Hsien-pei) were a significant Mongolic nomadic people residing in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and eastern Mongolia" and "It is generally accepted that the Shiwei branch of the Xianbei spoke a Mongolic language."—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 22:17, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

There is no consistent use. In his 2003 book, Janhunen used the term "Mongolic" in a way that excludes Khitan. Since then, however, I'd say that there are few scientists in the field willing to accept such a delimitation. As Khitan materials are becoming more accessible, more and more scientists will have to include them in their reconstruction of Proto-Mongolic, thereby probably shifting the assumed time of Proto-Mongolic back by 100 to 200 years in time. Currently, this development is not quite complete, and given the small number of scientists profundly familiar with Proto-Mongolic (not, for example, including me) (and given the prevalence of the outdated Poppe school of reconstruction in the Mongolian state), a shift in terminology might take quite long. I would still support if Wikipedia used Mongolic in an inclusive way: we would then not have to rewrite the respective articles after 20 years ;-). G Purevdorj (talk) 04:24, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
At the end of the day, isn't the issue purely semantic, i.e. not what categories are there, but what names to give the categories there are? I would suggest using Mongolic and Proto-Mongolic for Mongolian and Oirat, and using the name Baghaturic and Proto-Baghaturic for the larger family, including Mongolian, Khitan, Tarhvach, etc. I'm kidding, of course: we can't use neologisms like that here on Wikipedia. Anyway, if you think this is the long-term trend in the best scholarship, then let's go for a more-or-less official Wikipedia policy of using Mongolic for the wider language family. A lot of this article (Mongolic languages) will have to be rewritten.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 17:20, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Subgroup naming[edit]

What is the current scholarly consensus on the names and nature of the branches of Mongolic? --Taivo (talk) 14:09, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

There is no difference between my version and previous version.Баоань, дунсян, монгор бол хятад, төвдтэй маш их холилдсон хүмүүс, тэдний дундаас жинхэнэ монгол хүн олно гэдэг хэцүү л болов уу?Дагуур ч мөн адил.Тэд монголоид төрхтэй, монгол монголоид төрхтэй, гэхдээ тэд зүүн азийн ген ихтэй, монгол төв азийн гентэй.Тэднийг монгол гэхээсээ түрүүнд генийг нь сайтар судалж яг монгол гэхээр хүн хэд байгааг нь тогтоох нь зөв байх. Ancientsteppe (talk) 14:28, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
If you want to be taken seriously on the English Wikipedia, Ancientsteppe, you will write in English. We will ignore everything written in Russian. Your comment is immaterial. I asked what the current scholarly consensus is, not what your opinion is or what Wikipedia had before. Unless you have one or more reliable sources to back up anything you say, then it's not relevant to my question or this discussion. G Purevdorj will have a good list of references I am sure. My only source at hand is Volker Rybatzki, 2003, "Intra-Mongolic Taxonomy," The Mongolic Languages (Routledge), Pages 364-390. In it he posits five or six groups (depending on which paragraph you're reading): 1) Northeastern Mongolic (Dagur); 2) Northern Mongolic (Khamnigan Mongol-Buryat); 3) Central Mongolic (Mongol proper-Ordos-Oirat) [2 and 3 are combined in the five-group version]; 4) South-Central Mongolic (Shira Yughur); 5) Southeastern Mongolic (Mongghul-Mangghuer-Bonan-Santa); and 6) Southwestern Mongolic (Moghol). So my question still is, "What is the current scholarly consensus"? Does Rybatzki represent a contemporary view? Or is there more recent work to consider? --Taivo (talk) 14:54, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
written in Russian lol, the perfect way to annoy them. — Lfdder (talk) 15:11, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
This is not in russian.Lfdder, if you want to quarrel then write in other sites.I wrote explanation for mongols, not for you.Wait other mongol members, talking with you is useless. Ancientsteppe (talk) 15:29, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
You may not understand, Ancientsteppe. This question is not for Mongols or about their opinions. I specifically asked for scholarly consensus. That's got nothing to do with Mongols. Wikipedia doesn't care about a body of opinion, it cares about reliable scholarly sources. Unless your Mongol brethren can write in English and reference their comments with reliable scholarly sources, 100 of them can come here and state their opinion and it won't matter one single bit. --Taivo (talk) 20:18, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Scholarly consensus would be a nice thing to have. I’d think we’d be pretty close if there was no political side to it. As far as I understand, for example, scholars in China were never presumed to classify the Mongolic languages. This would have had no positive practical use for the People’s Republic. They were asked to classify the Mongolic varieties spoken in China, which they did. The first classification in the fifties assumed 5 dialect groups: Oirat, Alshaa/Deed mongol, Central Mongolian (Chakhar, Shiliin gol, Ordos [there are even classifications that take Ordos separately]), Eastern Mongolian (Khorchin etc.), Bargu-Buryat. The next step was to split the intermediate group of Alshaa/Deed Mongol into Oirat-Deed Mongol and Alshaa-Central Mongolian, and in the late 70s they decided that three groups are enough and fusioned the Eastern and Central groups into Southern Mongolian (or however you prefer to translate Öbür monggul-un ayalgu). (Secenbagatur et al. 2005 have this information, but slightly more implicit than I put it here.) This made no actual claim that Southern Mongolian is a group vis-a-vis Khalkha - the state borders were still prior to linguistic classification. Some contemporary Mongolian state scholars (such as Batzayaa) don’t do any serious cross-border-comparisions either. (Gantogtoh at Mongolia National University does, for sure, but as far as I know he never tried a classification of his own.) Therefore, we do need to resort to classification of western scholars or older (but not pre-fifties) classifications such as that of Luvsanvandan that do compare the relevant data.
The stuff written in Cyrillic is about genetics and deliberately excludes Southern Mongolic speakers for their racial features. Such considerations are not the least relevant to language classification.
The classification that Taivo recently reverted is from the early 20th century. At this time, data on Southern Mongolic was not available, and data on Moghol and even some Inner Mongolian dialects was rare. The classificational attempt was not bad considering the data it had to rely on, but it is hopelessly outdated by now.
G Purevdorj (talk) 01:02, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
So Janhunnen's is the most recent one, then. --Taivo (talk) 01:22, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Almost. I don't fully trust Nugteren's classification, but I entered it anyway now. G Purevdorj (talk) 06:01, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Any English Mongolist before the 20th century?[edit]

Every single Mongolist before the 20th century seems to either have been a subject of Russia writing in Russian (obviously since Russia was next to Mongolia and had interests in the area), Germans and others working for or via Russia, or a French speaking Catholic missionary in Inner Mongolia. There seems to have been no work done in English on Mongols.

Ordos dialect


Rajmaan (talk) 06:41, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Let's not forget about the Scandinavia and Finnland, most importantly the Finnland-Swedish Ramstedt who started his work in the 1890s. G Purevdorj (talk) 07:45, 26 February 2014 (UTC)