|Native to||Rouran Khaganate|
|Region||Mongolia and northern China|
|Era||4th century CE – 6th century CE|
|ISO 639-3||None (|
Alexander Vovin (2004, 2010) considers the Ruan-ruan language to be an extinct non-Altaic language that is not related to any modern-day language (i.e., a language isolate) and is hence unrelated to Mongolic. Vovin (2004) notes that Old Turkic had borrowed some words from an unknown non-Altaic language that may have been Ruan-ruan. He suggested that Ruan-ruan was possibly related to the Yeniseian languages. In 2018, Vovin changed his view after new evidence was found through the analysis of the Brāhmī Bugut and Khüis Tolgoi inscriptions and suggests that the Ruan-ruan language was in fact a Mongolic language, close but not identical to Middle Mongolian.
Features of Ruan-ruan included:
- no mid vowels
- initial l-
- final consonantal cluster -nd
Ruan-ruan had the feminine gender suffix -tu-.
Ruan-ruan vocabulary included:
- küskü – 'rat'
- ud – 'ox'
- luu – 'dragon' < Middle Chinese luŋ – 'dragon'
- yund – 'horse'
- laγzïn – 'pig'
- qaγan – 'emperor'
- qan – 'khan'
- qaγatun – 'empress'
- qatun – 'khan's wife'
- aq – 'dung'
- and – 'oath'
- Vovin, Alexander 2004. ‘Some Thoughts on the Origins of the Old Turkic 12-Year Animal Cycle.’ Central Asiatic Journal 48/1: 118–32.
- Vovin, Alexander. 2010. Once Again on the Ruan-ruan Language. Ötüken’den İstanbul’a Türkçenin 1290 Yılı (720–2010) Sempozyumu From Ötüken to Istanbul, 1290 Years of Turkish (720–2010). 3–5 Aralık 2010, İstanbul / 3–5 December 2010, İstanbul: 1–10.
- Vovin, Alexander. "Did the Xiongnu speak a Yeniseian language?". Central Asiatic Journal 44/1 (2000), pp. 87–104.
- Vajda, Edward J. (2013). Yeniseian Peoples and Languages: A History of Yeniseian Studies with an Annotated Bibliography and a Source Guide. Oxford/New York: Routledge.
- Vovin, Alexander. "A Sketch of the Earliest Mongolic Language: the Brāhmī Bugut and Khüis Tolgoi Inscriptions". International Journal of Eurasian Linguistics. 1 (1): 162–197. ISSN 2589-8825.