Mongolian script

The classical or traditional Mongolian script,[lower-alpha 1] also known as the Hudum Mongol bichig,[lower-alpha 2] was the first writing system created specifically for the Mongolian language, and was the most widespread until the introduction of Cyrillic in 1946. It is traditionally written in vertical lines Top-Down, right across the page. Derived from the Old Uyghur alphabet, Mongolian is a true alphabet, with separate letters for consonants and vowels. The Mongolian script has been adapted to write languages such as Oirat and Manchu. Alphabets based on this classical vertical script are used in Inner Mongolia and other parts of China to this day to write Mongolian, Xibe and experimentally, Evenki.

Mongolian script
ᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ ᠪᠢᠴᠢᠭ
Example text
Type
LanguagesMongolian language
Manchu language (obsolete)
Daur language (obsolete)
Evenki language (experimentally)
CreatorTata-tonga
Time period
ca.1204 – today
Parent systems
Child systems
Manchu alphabet
Oirat alphabet (Clear script)
Buryat alphabet
Galik alphabet
Evenki alphabet
Xibe alphabet
Sister systems
Old Uyghur alphabet
DirectionTop-to-bottom
ISO 15924Mong, 145
Unicode alias
Mongolian

Computer operating systems have been slow to adopt support for the Mongolian script, and almost all have incomplete support or other text rendering difficulties.

History

The Mongolian vertical script developed as an adaptation of the Old Uyghur alphabet for the Mongolian language.[1]:545 From the seventh and eighth to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Mongolian language separated into southern, eastern and western dialects. The principal documents of the middle period are: in the eastern dialect, the famous text The Secret History of the Mongols, monuments in the Square script, materials of the Chinese–Mongolian glossary of the fourteenth century, and materials of the Mongolian language of the middle period in Chinese transcription, etc.; in the western dialect, materials of the Arab–Mongolian and Persian–Mongolian dictionaries, Mongolian texts in Arabic transcription, etc. The main features of the period are that the vowels ï and i had lost their phonemic significance, creating the i phoneme (in the Chakhar dialect, the Standard Mongolian in Inner Mongolia, these vowels are still distinct); inter-vocal consonants γ/g, b/w had disappeared and the preliminary process of the formation of Mongolian long vowels had begun; the initial h was preserved in many words; grammatical categories were partially absent, etc. The development over this period explains why the Mongolian script looks like a vertical Arabic script (in particular the presence of the dot system).[2]:1–2

Eventually, minor concessions were made to the differences between the Uyghur and Mongol languages: In the 17th and 18th centuries, smoother and more angular versions of the letter tsadi became associated with [dʒ] and [tʃ] respectively, and in the 19th century, the Manchu hooked yodh was adopted for initial [j]. Zain was dropped as it was redundant for [s]. Various schools of orthography, some using diacritics, were developed to avoid ambiguity.[1]:545

Mongolian is written vertically. The Uyghur script and its descendants — Mongolian, Oirat Clear, Manchu, and Buryat — are the only vertical scripts written from left to right. This developed because the Uyghurs rotated their Sogdian-derived script, originally written right to left, 90 degrees counterclockwise to emulate Chinese writing, but without changing the relative orientation of the letters.[3]

The reed pen was the writing instrument of choice until the 18th century, when the brush took its place under Chinese influence.[4]:422 Pens were also historically made of wood, reed, bamboo, bone, bronze, or iron. Ink used was black or cinnabar red, and written with on birch bark, paper, cloths made of silk or cotton, and wooden or silver plates.[5]:80–81

Mongols learned their script as a syllabary, dividing the syllables into twelve different classes, based on the final phonemes of the syllables, all of which ended in vowels.[6]

Name

The traditional Mongolian script is known by a wide variety of names. Due to its shape like Uighur script, it became known as the Uighurjin Mongol script.[lower-alpha 3] During the communist era, when Cyrillic became the official script for the Mongolian language, the traditional script became known as the Old Mongol script,[lower-alpha 4] in contrast to the New script,[lower-alpha 5] referring to Cyrillic. The name Old Mongol script stuck, and it is still known as such among the older generation, who didn't receive education in the new script.

Graphemes

Listed in the table below are graphemes commonly occurring, contrasting, or both. The actual use of these may differ between letterforms of different writing styles, however. For examples of those, see § Writing styles further down.

Graphemes (зурлага)[7][8][9]:4–5[10]:29–30, 205[11]:20[12]:99[13]:1[14][15]:20[16]:536[17]:211–212[18][19][20]
Appearance Names
Image Text(?)
'Crown' Тит(и/э)м tit(i/e)m / ᠲᠢᠲᠢᠮ titim
᠊ᠡ Ацаг atsag / ᠠᠴᠤᠭ ačuγ or,
'Tooth' Шүд shud / ᠰᠢᠳᠦ sidü
᠊᠊ 'Spine' Нуруу nuruu / ᠨᠢᠷᠤᠭᠤ niruγu
'(Straight) shin' (Шулуун) шилбэ (Shuluun) shilbe / ᠰᠢᠯᠤᠭᠤᠨ ᠰᠢᠯᠪᠢ siluγun silbi
'Upturned shin' Э(э)тгэр шилбэ e(e)tger shilbe / ᠡᠭᠡᠲᠡᠭᠡᠷ ᠰᠢᠯᠪᠢ egeteger silbi
'Hooked shin' Матгар шилбэ matgar shilbe / ᠮᠠᠲᠠᠭᠠᠷ ᠰᠢᠯᠪᠢ mataγar silbi
'Crossed shin' Өргөстэй шилбэ örgöstei shilbe / ᠥᠷᠭᠡᠰᠦᠲᠡᠶ ᠰᠢᠯᠪᠢ örgesütey silbi
'Looped shin' Гогцоотой шилбэ gogtsootoi shilbe / ᠭᠣᠭᠴᠤᠭᠠᠲᠠᠢ ᠰᠢᠯᠪᠢ γoγčuγatai silbi
'Hollow shin' Хөндий шилбэ khöndii shilbe / ᠬᠥᠨᠳᠡᠶ ᠰᠢᠯᠪᠢ köndey silbi
'... shin' Артын шилбэ artyn shilbe
᠊ᠣ ᠊ᠣ 'Belly/Stomach' Гэдэс gedes / ᠭᠡᠳᠡᠰᠦ gedesü
᠊ᠰ 'Mouth corner' Зав(и/ь)ж Zav(i)j / ᠵᠠᠪᠠᠵᠢ ǰabaǰi
Орхиц orkhits / ᠣᠷᠬᠢᠴᠠ orkiča or,
Цацлага tsatslaga / ᠴᠠᠴᠤᠯᠭ čačulγa
᠊ᠠ 'Tail' Сүүл suul / ᠰᠡᠭᠦᠯ segül
'Bow' Нум num / ᠨᠤᠮᠤ numu
᠊ᠯ 'Horn' Эвэр ever / ᠡᠪᠡᠷ eber
᠊ᠮ Гэзэг gezeg / ᠭᠡᠵᠢᠭᠡ geǰige or,
'Horn' Эвэр ever / ᠡᠪᠡᠷ eber
Жалжгар эвэр zhalzhgar ever or,
'Eyetooth' Соёо soyoo / ᠰᠣᠶᠤᠭ soyuγa
'Fork' Сэрээ эвэр seree ever or,
Ац ats / ᠠᠴᠠ ača
Ятгар зартиг yatgar zartig

General orthography

The traditional or classical Mongolian alphabet, sometimes called Hudum 'traditional' in Oirat in contrast to the Clear script (Todo 'exact'), is the original form of the Mongolian script used to write the Mongolian language. It does not distinguish several vowels (o/u, ö/ü, final a/e) and consonants (syllable-initial t/d and k/g, sometimes ǰ/y) that were not required for Uyghur, which was the source of the Mongol (or Uyghur-Mongol) script.[3] The result is somewhat comparable to the situation of English, which must represent ten or more vowels with only five letters and uses the digraph th for two distinct sounds. Ambiguity is sometimes prevented by context, as the requirements of vowel harmony and syllable sequence usually indicate the correct sound. Moreover, as there are few words with an exactly identical spelling, actual ambiguities are rare for a reader who knows the orthography.

Letters have different forms depending on their position in a word: initial, medial, or final. In some cases, additional graphic variants are selected for visual harmony with the subsequent character.

The below rules for writing apply specifically for the Mongolian language, unless stated otherwise.

Sort orders

  • Traditional: n q/k, (Gamma, ү)/g, b, p, s, š, t, d, l, m, č...[21][13]:7
  • Modern: n, b, p, q/k, ү/g, m, l, s, š, t, d, č...[21][13]:7
  • Other modern orderings that apply to specific dictionaries also exist.[22]

Vowel harmony

Mongolian vowel harmony separates the vowels of words into three groups – two mutually exclusive and one neutral:

  • The back, masculine,[23] hard, or yang[24] vowels a, o, and u.
  • The front, feminine,[23] soft, or yin[24] vowels e, ö, and ü.
  • The neutral vowel i, able to appear in all words.

Any Mongolian word can contain the neutral vowel i, but only vowels from either of the other two groups. The vowel quality of visually separated vowels and suffixes are likewise affected by those of the preceding word stem. Such suffixes are written with front or neutral vowels when preceded by a word stem containing only neutal vowels. Any of these rules might not apply for foreign words however.[2]:11, 39[25]:10[26]:4[22]

Separated final vowels

A separated final form of vowels a or e is common, and can appear at the end of a word, word stem, or suffix. This form requires a final-shaped preceding consonant and an inter-word gap in between. The vowels themselves appear as , and with consonants as qa, ra/re, etc.(?) This gap can be transliterated with a hyphen . In digital typesetting, these forms are triggered by inserting a U+180E MONGOLIAN VOWEL SEPARATOR (HTML ᠎ · MVS) between the consonant and vowel.[2]:30, 77[27]:42[12]:104[26]:27[16]:534–535

The presence or lack of a separated a or e can also indicate differences in meaning between different words (compare ᠬᠠᠷ(?) qara 'black' with ᠬᠠᠷᠠ qara 'to look').[28]:3[16]:535

Its form could be confused with that of the identically shaped traditional dative-locative suffix a/e exemplified further down. That form however, is more commonly found in older texts, and more commonly takes the forms of ᠤᠷ tur/tür or ᠤᠷ dur/dür instead.[25]:15[29]

Separated suffixes

Many suffixes (case and plural suffixes in particular) are likewise separated by a preceding and hyphen-transliterated gap. In digital typesetting, this gap is represented by a U+202F NARROW NO-BREAK SPACE (HTML   · NNBSP).[2]:30[25]:12[29][30][26]:28[16]:534

Single-letter suffixes appear as final-formed a/e, i, or u/ü (as in ᠭᠠᠵᠠᠷ γaǰara 'to the country' and ᠡᠳᠦᠷ edüre 'on the day',[2]:39 or ᠤᠯᠤᠰ ulusi 'the state' etc.).(?)[2]:23 Multi-letter suffixes can start with an initial-, medial-, or variant-shaped glyph (medial/variant-shaped u in the two-letter suffix ᠤᠨ(?) un/ün being exemplified in the adjacent newspaper logo).[16]:27

Isolate citation forms

Isolate citation forms for syllables containing o, u, ö, and ü may in dictionaries appear without a final tail as in ᠪᠣ bo/bu or ᠮᠣ mo/mu, and with a vertical tail as in ᠪᠥ / or ᠮᠥ / (as well as in transcriptions of Chinese syllables).[22][12]:105

Notes on letter tables

A dash indicates a non-applicable position for that letter.[2]:15[25]:60[12]:101, 104[28]:2–3[14]:3–4[31]:27, 30[22]

Parentheses enclose glyphs or positions whose corresponding sounds are not found in native Mongolian words.[2]:14–15[25]:9–10[12]:101[28]:3–5[31]:27

Palatalized phonemes have been excluded. These are conditioned by a following i.[27]:178

Vowels

Letter
a a Scholarly/Scientific transliteration[32]
а а Cyrillic transliteration[9][32]
Isolate
Word-initial
Medial
Connected final
(?) Separated final
Ligatures
ba pa Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ба па Cyrillic transliteration
ᠪᠠ[lower-alpha 6] ᠫᠠ Isolate
ᠪᠠ ᠫᠠ Word-initial
ᠪᠠ ᠫᠠ Medial
ᠪᠠ ᠫᠠ Final
Separated suffixes
a Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
а Cyrillic transliteration
(?) Separated suffix-initial
(?) Separated suffix
  • Transcribes Chakhar /ɑ/;[22][33] Khalkha /a/, /ə/, and //.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with, or made up by the letter, include: a (vocative or dative-locative), ača (ablative), and ačaγan (reflexive+ablative).[30]
  • (?) = connected galik final.[2]:26–28[12]:104
  • Medial and final forms may be distinguished from those of other tooth-shaped letters through: vowel harmony (e), the shape of adjacent consonants (see QA-q/k and GA-γ/g below), and position in syllable sequence (n, ng, q, γ, d).[29]
  • The final tail extends to the left after bow-shaped consonants (such as b, p, f, KA-g, and KHA-k), and to the right in all other cases.
  • Derived from Old Uyghur aleph, written twice for isolate and initial forms.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Letter
e e Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
э э Cyrillic transliteration
Isolate
Word-initial
Medial
Connected final
(?) Separated final
Ligatures
be pe ke ge Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
бэ пэ хэ гэ Cyrillic transliteration
ᠪᠡ ᠫᠡ ᠬᠡ Isolate
ᠪᠡ ᠫᠡ ᠬᠡ Word-initial
ᠪᠡ ᠫᠡ ᠬᠡ Medial
ᠪᠡ ᠫᠡ ᠬᠡ Final
Separated suffixes
e Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
э Cyrillic transliteration
Separated suffix-initial
(?) Separated suffix
  • Transcribes Chakhar /ə/;[22][33] Khalkha /i/, /e/, /ə/, and //.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with, or made up by the letter, include: e (vocative or dative-locative), eče (ablative), and ečegen (reflexive+ablative).[30]
  • Medial and final forms may be distinguished from those of other tooth-shaped letters through: vowel harmony (a) and its effect on the shape of a words consonants (see QA-q/k and GA-γ/g below), or position in syllable sequence (n, ng, d).[29]
  • = a traditional initial form.[35]:6
  • The final tail extends to the left after bow-shaped consonants (such as b, p, QA-k, and GA-g), and to the right in all other cases.
  • Derived from Old Uyghur aleph.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Letter
i Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
и Cyrillic transliteration
Isolate
Word-initial
Medial
[lower-alpha 7]
Final
Ligatures
bi pi ki gi Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
би пи хи ги Cyrillic transliteration
ᠪᠢ[lower-alpha 8] ᠫᠢ ᠬᠢ Isolate
ᠪᠢ ᠫᠢ ᠬᠢ Word-initial
ᠪᠢ ᠫᠢ ᠬᠢ Medial
ᠪᠢ ᠫᠢ ᠬᠢ Final
Separated suffixes
i Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
и Cyrillic transliteration
(?) Separated suffix-initial
(?) Separated suffix
  • Transcribes Chakhar /i/ or /ɪ/;[22][33] Khalkha /i/, /ə/, and //.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with, or made up by the letter, include: i (accusative), iyan/iyen (reflexive), and iyar/iyer (instrumental).[30]
  • Today often absorbed into a preceding syllable when at the end of a word.
  • Written medially with the single stroke after a consonant, and with two after a vowel (with rare exceptions like ᠨᠠᠮᠠ naima 'eight' or ᠨᠠᠮᠠᠨ naiman 'eight'/tribal name).[2]:31[25]:9, 39[12]:7–8
  • = a handwritten Inner Mongolian variant on the sequence yi (as in ᠰᠠᠶᠢᠨ / ᠰᠠᠶᠢᠨ sayin 'good' being written ᠰᠠᠢ sain).[25]:58[12]:49[36]:346
  • Derived from Old Uyghur yodh, preceded by an aleph for isolate and initial forms.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Letter
o Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
о Cyrillic transliteration
Isolate
Word-initial
Medial
Final
Ligatures
bo po Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
бо по Cyrillic transliteration
ᠪᠣ[lower-alpha 9] ᠫᠣ Isolate
ᠪᠣ ᠫᠣ Word-initial
ᠪᠣ ᠫᠣ Medial
ᠪᠣ ᠫᠣ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /ɔ/;[22][33] Khalkha /ɔ/, /ə/, and //.[27]:40–42
  • Written identically to u in native words;[2]:19[25]:9 distinction depending on context.
  • = the final form used in loanwords (as in ᠷᠠᠳᠢᠣ radio).[12]:98[20]
  • Derived from Old Uyghur waw, preceded by an aleph for isolate and initial forms.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Letter
u Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
у Cyrillic transliteration
Isolate
Word-initial
Medial
Final
Ligatures
bu pu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
бу пу Cyrillic transliteration
ᠪᠤ ᠫᠤ Isolate
ᠪᠤ ᠫᠤ Word-initial
ᠪᠤ ᠫᠤ Medial
ᠪᠤ ᠫᠤ Final
Diphthongs & doubled vowels[2]:30–32
ua uua uu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
уа ууа уу Cyrillic transliteration
ᠤᠤ(?) [lower-alpha 10] Isolate
ᠤᠤ Word-initial
ᠤᠤ Medial
(?) [lower-alpha 11] ᠤᠤ(?) ᠤᠤ Final
Separated suffixes
u u un ud uruγu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
у у ун уд уругу Cyrillic transliteration
(?) Suffix
ᠤᠨ(?) ᠤᠳ(?)
ᠤᠷᠤᠭᠤ(?)
  • Transcribes Chakhar /ʊ/;[22][33] Khalkha /ʊ/, /ə/, and //.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with, or made up by the letter, include: u or un (genitive), ud (plural), and uruγu (directive).[30]
  • Written identically to o in native words;[2]:19[25]:9 distinction depending on context.
  • Derived from Old Uyghur waw, preceded by an aleph for isolate and initial forms.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Letter
ö Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ө Cyrillic transliteration
Isolate
Word-initial
Medial
Final
Ligatures
Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
бө пө хө гө Cyrillic transliteration
ᠪᠥ ᠫᠥ ᠭᠥ(?) (w/o tail) Isolate
ᠭᠥ(?) (w/ tail)
ᠪᠥ ᠫᠥ ᠭᠥ Word-initial
ᠪᠥ ᠫᠥ ᠭᠥ Medial
ᠪᠥ ᠫᠥ ᠭᠥ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /o/;[22][33] Khalkha /o/[ɵ], /ə/, and //.[27]:40–42
  • Written identically to ü in native words;[2]:20[25]:9 distinction depending on context.
  • = an older final form; also used in loanwords.[12]:105
  • The first medial form is used in the first syllable of native words,[1]:546 and in subsequent medial positions of loanwords.
  • Derived from Old Uyghur waw, followed by a yodh in word-initial syllables, and preceded by an aleph for isolate and initial forms.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Letter
ü Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ү Cyrillic transliteration
Isolate
Word-initial
Medial
Final
Ligatures
Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
бү пү хү гү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠪᠦ ᠫᠦ ᠭᠦ(?) (w/o tail)[lower-alpha 12] Isolate
ᠭᠦ(?) (w/ tail)
ᠪᠦ ᠫᠦ ᠭᠦ Word-initial
ᠪᠦ ᠫᠦ ᠭᠦ Medial
ᠪᠦ ᠫᠦ ᠭᠦ Final
Diphthongs & doubled vowels[2]:30–32
üü Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
үү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠦᠦ(?) [lower-alpha 13] Isolate
Word-initial
Medial
ᠦᠦ Final
Separated suffixes
ü ü ün ügei üd Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ү ү үн үгэи үд Cyrillic transliteration
(?) Suffix
ᠦᠨ(?) ᠦᠳ(?)
ᠦᠭᠡᠢ(?)
  • Transcribes Chakhar /u/;[22][33] Khalkha /u/, /ə/, and //.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with, or made up by the letter, include: ü or ün (genitive), ügei (negation), and üd (plural).[30]
  • Written identically to ö in native words;[2]:20[25]:9 distinction depending on context.
  • = an older final form; also used in loanwords.[12]:105
  • The first medial form is used in the first syllable of native words,[1]:546 and in subsequent medial positions of loanwords.
  • Derived from Old Uyghur waw, followed by a yodh in word-initial syllables, and preceded by an aleph for isolate and initial forms.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Letter
ē Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
е Cyrillic transliteration
Isolate
Word-initial
Medial
Final
Example ligatures
Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
фе ке ке Cyrillic transliteration
ᠹᠧ ᠺᠧ ᠻᠧ Isolate
ᠹᠧ ᠺᠧ ᠻᠧ Word-initial
ᠹᠧ ᠺᠧ ᠻᠧ Medial
ᠹᠧ ᠺᠧ ᠻᠧ Final
  • Stands in for e in loanwords,[12]:104, 108[33] as in ᠧᠦᠷᠣᠫᠠ ēüropa / европ yevrop.[20]

Native consonants

Letter
n Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
н Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
Final
C-V syllables
na ne na ne ni no nu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
на нэ на нэ ни но ну нө нү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠨᠠ ᠨᠢ ᠨᠣ ᠨᠦ Isolate
ᠨᠠ ᠨᠢ ᠨᠣ ᠨᠦ Word-initial
ᠨᠠ ᠨᠢ ᠨᠣ Medial
(?) ᠨᠠ ᠨᠢ ᠨᠣ Final
Separated suffixes
na ne nu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
на нэ ну нү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠨᠠ ᠨᠤ Suffix-initial
  • Transcribes Chakhar /n/;[22][33] Khalkha /n/, and /ŋ/.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with the letter, include: nar/ner or nuγud/nügüd (plural).[30]
  • Distinction from other tooth-shaped letters by position in syllable sequence.
  • Dotted before a vowel (attached or separated); undotted before a consonant (syllable-final) or a whitespace.[2]:20[1]:546[26]:6[22] Final dotted n is also found in modern Mongolian words.[12]:101 Also fully or inconsistently undotted historically ( etc.).[2]:2, 20, 25–26[34]:114[12]:97–98
  • Derived from Old Uyghur nun.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 114[12]:98

ng Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
нг Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial (syllable-final)
Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /ŋ/;[22][33] Khalkha /ŋ/.[27]:40–42
  • Not occurring word-initially.[2]:15
  • Transcribes /ng/ in Tibetan /nga/; Sanskrit /ṅa/.[2]:28
  • Derived from Old Uyghur nun-kaph digraph.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 115[12]:98

Letter
b Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
б Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial (syllable-initial/final)
Final
C-V syllables
ba be bi bo bu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ба бэ би бо бу бө бү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠪᠠ ᠪᠢ ᠪᠣ[lower-alpha 14] ᠪᠦ Isolate
ᠪᠠ ᠪᠢ ᠪᠣ ᠪᠦ Word-initial
ᠪᠠ ᠪᠢ ᠪᠣ Medial
ᠪᠠ ᠪᠢ ᠪᠣ Final
Separated suffixes
ba be Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ба бэ Cyrillic transliteration
ᠪᠠ Suffix-initial
  • Transcribes Chakhar /b/;[22][33] Khalkha /p/, /w/, and //.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with the letter, include: ban/ben (reflexive), and bar/ber (instrumental).[30]
  • For Classical Mongolian, Latin v is used only for transcribing foreign words, so most в (v) in Mongolian Cyrillic correspond to б (b) in Classical Mongolian.
  • = an alternative/older final form.[25]:58[12]:100, 105[32]:4
  • Derived from Old Uyghur pe.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 115[12]:98

Letter
p Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
п Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
() Final
C-V syllables
pa pe pi po pu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
па пэ пи по пу пө пү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠫᠠ ᠫᠢ ᠫᠣ ᠫᠦ Isolate
ᠫᠠ ᠫᠢ ᠫᠣ ᠫᠦ Word-initial
ᠫᠠ ᠫᠢ ᠫᠣ Medial
ᠫᠠ ᠫᠢ ᠫᠣ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /p/;[22][33] Khalkha //.[27]:40–42
  • Only at the beginning of Mongolian words (although words with an initial p tend to be foreign).[28]:5[31]:27[22]
  • Not occurring word- or syllable-finally.[2]:15[26]:27, 28[22]
  • Transcribes /p/ in Tibetan /pa/.[37]:(ᢒ?) 96, 155, 247[2]:28
  • Galik letter, derived from Mongolian b.[12]:98

(1/2)

Letter
q Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
х Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial (syllable-initial)
Final
C-V syllables
qa qa qo qu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ха ха хо ху Cyrillic transliteration
ᠬᠠ ᠬᠣ Isolate
ᠬᠠ ᠬᠣ Word-initial
ᠬᠠ ᠬᠣ Medial
ᠬᠣ Final
(?)
  • Transcribes Chakhar /x/;[22][33] Khalkha /x/.
  • Only in words with back a, o, and u vowels.[2]:15[25]:10
  • Distinction from other tooth-shaped letters by position in syllable sequence. Not occurring word- or syllable-finally.[2]:15[26]:27, 28[22]
  • Variously dotted/undotted, or written kaph-shaped as an initial in early orthography.[34]:114
  • Derived from Old Uyghur merged gimel and heth.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113–115[12]:98

(2/2)

Letter
k Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
х Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial (syllable-final)
Final
C-V syllables
ke ki Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
хэ хи хө хү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠬᠡ ᠬᠢ ᠬᠦ(?) (w/o tail)[lower-alpha 15] Isolate
ᠬᠦ(?) (w/ tail)[lower-alpha 16]
ᠬᠡ ᠬᠢ ᠬᠦ Word-initial
ᠬᠡ ᠬᠢ ᠬᠦ Medial
ᠬᠡ ᠬᠢ ᠬᠦ Final
Separated suffixes
ki kin Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
хи хин Cyrillic transliteration
ᠬᠢ ᠬᠢᠨ Separated suffixes
  • Transcribes Chakhar /x/;[22][33] Khalkha /x/.
  • Separated suffixes starting with the letter, include: ki or kin (case-bound possession).[30]
  • Only in words with neutral i and front e, ö, and ü vowels.[2]:15[25]:10
  • Undistinguished from GA-g.[2]:15, 24[25]:9
  • Not occurring word- or syllable-finally.[2]:15[26]:27, 28[22]
  • Derived from Old Uyghur kaph.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113, 115[12]:98

(1/2)

Letter
γ Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
г Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
Final
C-V syllables
γa γa γo γu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
га га го гу Cyrillic transliteration
ᠭᠠ ᠭᠣ Isolate
ᠭᠠ ᠭᠣ Word-initial
ᠭᠠ ᠭᠣ Medial
(?) ᠭᠣ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /ɣ/;[22] Khalkha /ɢ/, and //.[27]:40–42
  • Only in words with back a, o, and u vowels.[2]:15[25]:10
  • Dotted before a vowel (attached or separated); undotted before a consonant (syllable-final) or a whitespace.[2]:21[1]:546[26]:5[22]
  • May turn silent between two adjacent vowels, and merge these into a long vowel or diphthong.[2]:36–37[25][12]:49 Qaγan (ᠬᠠᠭᠠᠨ) 'Khagan' for instance, is read as Qaan unless reading classical literary Mongolian. Some exceptions like tsa-g-aan 'white' exist.
  • Also fully or inconsistently undotted historically,.[2]:2, 21, 25–26[34]:114[12]:97–98
  • Also transliterated scholarly with Latin ɣ.[32]
  • Derived from Old Uyghur merged gimel and heth.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113–115[12]:98

(2/2)

Letter
g Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
г Cyrillic transliteration
() Word-initial
(?) Medial (syllable-initial/final)
(?) Final
C-V syllables
ge gi Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
гэ ги гө гү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠭᠡ ᠭᠢ ᠭᠦ(?) (w/o tail) Isolate
ᠭᠦ (w/ tail)
ᠭᠡ ᠭᠢ ᠭᠦ Word-initial
ᠭᠡ ᠭᠢ ᠭᠦ Medial
ᠭᠡ ᠬᠢ ᠭᠦ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /g/;[22][33] Khalkha /g/.
  • Only in words with neutral i and front e, ö, and ü vowels.[2]:15[25]:10
  • Undistinguished from QA-k.[2]:15, 24[25]:9 When it must be distinguished from k medially, it can be written twice (as in ᠥᠭᠭᠦᠭᠰᠡᠨ öggügsen 'given', compared with ᠦᠬᠦᠭᠰᠡᠨ ükügsen 'dead').[25]:59[20]
  • Not occurring word-initially with a consonant following it, except in loanwords such as ᠭᠱᠠᠨ(?) gšan 'moment', or ᠭᠷᠠᠮᠮ(?) gramm 'gram'.[2]:15, 32, 34[20] The final form is also found written like Manchu final k.[38][12]:104
  • May turn silent between two adjacent vowels, and merge these into a long vowel or diphthong.[2]:36–37[25][12]:49 Deger for instance, is read as deer. Some exceptions like ügüi 'no' exist.
  • Derived from Old Uyghur kaph.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113, 115[12]:98

Letter
m Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
м Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial (syllable-initial/final)
Final
C-V syllables
ma me ma me mi mo mu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ма мэ ма мэ ми мо му мө мү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠮᠠ ᠮᠢ ᠮᠣ ᠮᠦ Isolate
ᠮᠠ ᠮᠢ ᠮᠣ ᠮᠦ Word-initial
ᠮᠠ ᠮᠢ ᠮᠣ Medial
(?) ᠮᠠ ᠮᠢ ᠮᠣ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /m/;[22][33] Khalkha /m/.[27]:40–42
  • = ml (ᠮᠯ) written as a medial ligature.[2]:24, 36[25]:58[1]:546[12]:100
  • Derived from Old Uyghur mem.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Letter
l Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
л Cyrillic transliteration
() Word-initial
Medial (syllable-initial/final)
Final
C-V syllables
la le la le li lo lu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ла лэ ла лэ ли ло лу лө лү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠯᠠ ᠯᠢ ᠯᠣ ᠯᠦ Isolate
ᠯᠠ ᠯᠢ ᠯᠣ ᠯᠦ Word-initial
ᠯᠠ ᠯᠢ ᠯᠣ Medial
(?) ᠯᠠ ᠯᠢ ᠯᠣ Final
Separated suffixes
lu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
лу лү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠯᠤ Suffix-initial
  • Transcribes Chakhar /l/;[22][33] Khalkha /ɮ/.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with the letter, include: luγa/lüge (comitative).[30]
  • Not occurring word-initially in native words.[25]:10
  • Forms a ligature with a preceding "bow"-shaped consonant in loanwords such as ᠪᠯᠠᠮ(?) blam-a 'lama' from Tibetan བླ་མ་ Wylie: bla-ma.[2]:15, 32[12]:100
  • = ml (ᠮᠯ) written as a medial ligature.[2]:24, 36[25]:58[1]:546[12]:100
  • Derived from Old Uyghur hooked resh.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Letter
s Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
с Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial (syllable-initial/final)
Final
C-V syllables
sa se[8] sa se si so su Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
са сэ са сэ си со су сө сү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠰᠠ ᠰᠢ ᠰᠣ ᠰᠦ Isolate
ᠰᠠ ᠰᠢ ᠰᠣ ᠰᠦ Word-initial
ᠰᠠ ᠰᠢ ᠰᠣ Medial
(?) ᠰᠠ ᠰᠢ ᠰᠣ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /s/, or /ʃ/ before i;[25]:58[22] Khalkha /s/, or /ʃ/ before i. Before a morpheme boundary however, there is no change of s to /ʃ/ before an i.[25]:84
  • = an older final variant form for /s/ derived from Old Uyghur zayin (as found on the Stele of Yisüngge: ᠴᠢᠩᠭᠢᠰ Činggis 'Genghis').[2]:23[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113–114[12]:98
  • Derived from Old Uyghur merged samekh and shin.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Letter
š Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ш Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial (syllable-initial)
() Final
C-V syllables
ša še ši šo šu šö šü Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ша шэ ши шо шу шө шү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠱᠠ ᠱᠢ ᠱᠣ ᠱᠦ Isolate
ᠱᠠ ᠱᠢ ᠱᠣ ᠱᠦ Word-initial
ᠱᠠ ᠱᠢ ᠱᠣ Medial
ᠱᠠ ᠱᠢ ᠱᠣ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /ʃ/;[22][33] Khalkha /ʃ/.
  • Also fully or inconsistently undotted historically.[2]:2, 25–26[34]:114[12]:97–98
  • Final š is only found in modern Mongolian words.[2]:15[12]:101
  • Derived from Old Uyghur merged samekh and shin.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113–114[12]:98

Letter
t Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
т Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial (syllable-initial)
Final
C-V syllables
ta te ti to tu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
та тэ ти то ту тө тү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠲᠠ ᠲᠢ ᠲᠣ ᠲᠦ Isolate
ᠲᠠ ᠲᠢ ᠲᠣ ᠲᠦ Word-initial
ᠲᠠ ᠲᠢ ᠲᠣ Medial
ᠲᠠ ᠲᠢ ᠲᠣ Final
Separated suffixes
ta te tu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
та тэ ту тү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠲᠠ ᠲᠤ Suffix-initial
  • Transcribes Chakhar /t/;[22][33] Khalkha /t/.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with the letter, include: tai/tei (comitative), taγan/tegen (reflexive+dative-locative), tayiγan/teyigen (reflexive+comitative), and tu(r)/(r) (dative-locative).[30]
  • Syllable-initially undistinguished from d in native words.[2]:23[25]:9[22]
  • Not occurring word- or syllable-finally.[2]:15[26]:27, 28[22]
  • Derived from Old Uyghur taw (initial) and lamedh (medial).[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98
  • Positional variants on taw // are used consistently for t in foreign words.[2]:23[12]:101, 104

Letter
d Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
д Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
Final
C-V syllables
da de di do du Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
да дэ ди до ду дө дү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠳᠠ ᠳᠢ ᠳᠣ ᠳᠦ Isolate
ᠳᠠ ᠳᠢ ᠳᠣ ᠳᠦ Word-initial
ᠳᠠ ᠳᠢ ᠳᠣ Medial
ᠳᠠ ᠳᠢ ᠳᠣ Final
Separated suffixes
d da de du Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
д да дэ ду дү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠳᠠ(?) ᠳᠤ(?) Suffix-initial
  • Transcribes Chakhar /d/;[22][33] Khalkha /t/, and //.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with the letter, include: daki/deki (dative-locative or ordinal), daγ/deg (regular action), daγan/degen (reflexive+dative-locative), duγar/düger (ordinal), and du(r)/(r) (dative-locative).[30]
  • Syllable-initially undistinguished from t in native words.[2]:23[25]:9[22] When it must be distinguished from t medially, it can be written twice, and with both medial forms (as in ᠬᠤᠳᠳᠤᠭ qudduγ 'well', compared with ᠬᠤᠲᠤᠭ qutuγ 'holy').[25]:59[20]
  • The belly-tooth-shaped form is used before consonants (syllable-final), the other before vowels.[25]:58[26]:5
  • Derived from Old Uyghur taw (initial, belly-tooth-shaped medial, and final) and lamedh (other medial form).[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98
  • Positional variants on lamedh // are used consistently for d in foreign words.[2]:23 (As in ᠧᠩ deng / дэн den, ᠳᠡᠳ ded / дэд ded, or ᠡᠳ ed / эд ed).[20]

Letter
č Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ч Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial (syllable-initial)
() Final
C-V syllables
ča če či čo ču čö čü Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ча чэ чи чо чу чө чү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠴᠠ ᠴᠢ ᠴᠣ ᠴᠦ Isolate
ᠴᠠ ᠴᠢ ᠴᠣ ᠴᠦ Word-initial
ᠴᠠ ᠴᠢ ᠴᠣ Medial
ᠴᠠ ᠴᠢ ᠴᠣ Final

Letter
ǰ Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ж Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial (syllable-initial)
() Final
C-V syllables
ǰa ǰe ǰa ǰe ǰi ǰo ǰu ǰö ǰü Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
жа жэ жа жэ жи жо жу жө жү Cyrillic transliteration
(?) [lower-alpha 17] ᠵᠠ ᠵᠢ ᠵᠣ ᠵᠦ Isolate
ᠵᠠ ᠵᠢ ᠵᠣ ᠵᠦ Word-initial
ᠵᠠ ᠵᠢ ᠵᠣ Medial
ᠵᠠ ᠵᠢ ᠵᠣ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /d͡ʒ/;[22][33] Khalkha /d͡ʒ/, and d͡z (Mongolian Cyrillic ж, and з, respectively).[22]:§ 1.2[28]:2
  • Not occurring word- or syllable-finally.[2]:15[26]:27, 28[22]
  • Also transliterated scholarly with Latin j.[32]
  • Derived from Old Uyghur yodh (initial) and tsade (medial), and in the 17th–18th century Classical Mongolian language distinguished from medial č through its less angular form.[25]:59[1]:545[12]:98

Letter
y Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
й Cyrillic transliteration
(?) Word-initial
(?)
(?) Medial (syllable-initial)
(?)
Final
C-V syllables
ya ye ya ye yi yo yu Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
йа йэ йа йэ йи йо йу йө йү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠶᠠ ᠶᠢ ᠶᠣ ᠶᠦ Isolate
ᠶᠠ ᠶᠢ ᠶᠣ ᠶᠦ Word-initial
ᠶᠠ ᠶᠢ ᠶᠣ Medial
(?) ᠶᠠ ᠶᠢ ᠶᠣ Final
Separated suffixes
y yi yin yuγan yügen Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
й йи йин йуган йүгэн Cyrillic transliteration
ᠶᠢ(?) ᠶᠢᠨ(?) Suffix
ᠶᠤᠭᠠᠨ(?) ᠶᠦᠭᠡᠨ(?)
  • Transcribes Chakhar /j/;[22][33] Khalkha /j/.[27]:40–42
  • Separated suffixes starting with the letter, include: yi (accusative), yin (genitive), and yuγan/yügen (reflexive+accusative).[30]
  • The unhooked initial and medial forms are older ones.[1]:545, 546[12]:108
  • Derived from Old Uyghur yodh, and in the 19th century distinguished from initial ǰ by the borrowing of Manchu hooked yodh.[1]:545[25]:59

Letter
r Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
р Cyrillic transliteration
() Word-initial
Medial (syllable-initial/final)
Final
C-V syllables
ra re ra re ri ro ru Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ра рэ ра рэ ри ро ру рө рү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠷᠠ ᠷᠢ ᠷᠣ ᠷᠦ Isolate
ᠷᠠ ᠷᠢ ᠷᠣ ᠷᠦ Word-initial
ᠷᠠ ᠷᠢ ᠷᠣ Medial
(?) ᠷᠠ ᠷᠢ ᠷᠣ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /r/;[22][33] Khalkha /r/.[27]:40–42
  • Not occurring word-initially except in loanwords.[2]:14 Transcribed foreign words usually get a vowel prepended; transcribing Русь (Russia) results in ᠣᠷᠤᠰ Oros.
  • Derived from Old Uyghur resh.[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:98

Foreign consonants

Letter
w Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
в Cyrillic transliteration
[lower-alpha 18] Word-initial
[lower-alpha 19] Medial
(?) Final
C-V syllable
wa we[lower-alpha 20] Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ва вэ Cyrillic transliteration
(?) [lower-alpha 21] Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /w/;[22][33]
  • Used to transcribe foreign words (originally for v in Sanskrit /va/). Transcribes /w/ in Tibetan ཝ /wa/;[37]:254[2]:28[34]:113 Old Uyghur and Chinese loanwords.[12]:113[12]:104
  • Also transliterated scholarly with Latin v.[32]
  • Derived from Old Uyghur bet,[1]:539–540, 545–546[34]:111, 113[12]:97 and "waw" (before a separated vowel).

Letter
f Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ф Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
Final
Ligatures
fa fi fo Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
фа фе фи фо фү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠹᠠ ᠹᠧ ᠹᠢ ᠹᠣ ᠹᠦ Isolate
ᠹᠠ ᠹᠧ ᠹᠢ ᠹᠣ ᠹᠦ Word-initial
ᠹᠠ ᠹᠧ ᠹᠢ ᠹᠣ ᠹᠦ Medial
ᠹᠠ ᠹᠧ ᠹᠢ ᠹᠣ ᠹᠦ Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /f/;[22][33]
  • Used to transcribe foreign words.
  • Transcribes /pʰ/ in Tibetan /pʰa/.[37]:96, 247[2]:28
  • Galik letter, derived from Mongolian b.[12]:98

Letter
g Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
к Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
Final
Ligatures
ga gi go Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ка ке ки ко кү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠺᠠ ᠺᠧ ᠺᠢ ᠺᠣ ᠺᠦ(?) (w/ tail)[lower-alpha 22] Isolate
ᠺᠠ ᠺᠧ ᠺᠢ ᠺᠣ ᠺᠦ Word-initial
ᠺᠠ ᠺᠧ ᠺᠢ ᠺᠣ ᠺᠦ(?) (w/ yodh)[lower-alpha 23] Medial
ᠺᠠ ᠺᠧ ᠺᠢ ᠺᠣ ᠺᠦ(?) (w/ tail)[lower-alpha 24] Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /k/;[22][33]
  • Also transliterated scholarly with Latin k.[32]
  • Used to transcribe foreign words (originally for g in Tibetan /ga/; Sanskrit /ga/).[37]:87, 244, 251[2]:28
  • Galik letter.[25]:59–60

Letter
k Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
к Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
Final
Ligatures
ka ki ko Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ка ке ки ко кү Cyrillic transliteration
ᠻᠠ ᠻᠧ ᠻᠢ ᠻᠣ ᠻᠦ Isolate
ᠻᠠ ᠻᠧ ᠻᠢ ᠻᠣ ᠻᠦ Word-initial
ᠻᠠ ᠻᠧ ᠻᠢ ᠻᠣ ᠻᠦ Medial
ᠻᠠ ᠻᠧ ᠻᠢ ᠻᠣ ᠻᠦ Final
  • Also transliterated scholarly with Latin kh.[32]
  • Used to transcribe foreign words (originally for in Tibetan /kʰa/; Sanskrit /kha/).[37]:86, 244, 251[2]:28

Letter
c Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ц Cyrillic transliteration
[lower-alpha 25] Word-initial
[lower-alpha 26] Medial
[lower-alpha 27] Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /t͡s/;[22][33]
  • Used to transcribe foreign words (originally for tsʰ in Tibetan /tsʰa/; Sanskrit /cha/).[37]:89, 144, 245, 254[2]:28
  • Galik letter, derived from Preclassical Mongolian tsade č/ǰ ~.[12]:98

Letter
z Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
з Cyrillic transliteration
[lower-alpha 28] Word-initial
[lower-alpha 29] Medial
[lower-alpha 30] Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /d͡z/;[22][33]
  • Used to transcribe foreign words (originally for dz in Tibetan /dza/; Sanskrit /ja/).[37]:89, 144, 245, 254[2]:28
  • Galik letter, derived from Preclassical Mongolian tsade č/ǰ ~.[12]:98

Letter
h Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
х Cyrillic transliteration
[lower-alpha 31] Word-initial
Medial
Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /h/[x];[22][33]
  • Used to transcribe foreign words (originally for h in Tibetan /ha/, /-ha/; Sanskrit /ha/).[37]:69, 102, 194, 244–249, 255[2]:27–28[25]:59
  • Galik letter, borrowed from the Tibetan alphabet, and preceded by an aleph for initial form.[25]:59–60[1]:545–546[12]:98, 105

Letter
ž Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ж Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
Final
  • Transcribes Chakhar /ʐ/;[22][33]
  • Transcribes Chinese r /ɻ/ ([ɻ ~ ʐ];[lower-alpha 32] as in Ri), and used in Inner Mongolia. Always followed by an i.[33]
  • Transliterates /ʒ/ in Tibetan /ʒa/.[37]:254 (紗)

Letter
lh Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
лх Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
Final
  • Transcribes Tibetan lh (as in ᡀᠠᠰᠠ Lhasa).[33][41]
  • Digraph composed of l and h.[31]:30 Transcribes /lh/ in Tibetan ལྷ /lha/.[37]:220[2]:27

Letter
zh Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
з Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
Final
  • Transcribes zh in the Chinese syllable zhi only, and used in Inner Mongolia.[12]:105[33]
  • Galik letter, borrowed from the Tibetan alphabet.[12]:98, 105

Letter
ch Scholarly/Scientific transliteration
ч Cyrillic transliteration
Word-initial
Medial
Final
  • Transcribes ch in the Chinese syllable chi (as in Chī), and used in Inner Mongolia.[37]:91, 145, 153, 246[2]:28[33]

Punctuation

Punctuation[2]:28[10]:30[32]:3[16]:535–536[20]
Form(s) Name Function(s)
бярга byarga /
ᠪᠢᠷᠭ(?) birγa
Marks start of a book, chapter, passage, or first line
[...]
Цуваа цэг tsuvaa tseg /
ᠴᠤᠪᠠᠭᠠ ᠴᠡᠭ(?) čubaγa čeg
Ellipsis
Цэг tseg /
ᠴᠡᠭ čeg
Comma
Давхар цэг davkhar tseg /
ᠳᠠᠪᠬᠤᠷ ᠴᠡᠭ dabqur čeg
Period / full stop
Хос цэг Colon
Дөрвөлжин цэг dörvöljin tseg /
ᠳᠥᠷᠪᠡᠯᠵᠢᠨ ᠴᠡᠭ dörbelǰin čeg
Marks end of a passage, paragraph, or chapter
Нуруу nuruu /
ᠨᠢᠷᠤᠭᠤ niruγu
(Non-breaking) hyphen, or stem extender

Numerals

Examples

Writing styles

The shapes of glyphs may vary widely between different styles of writing:[42]:8–11

  • Final letterforms with a right-pointing tail (such as those of a, e, n, q, ү, m, l, s, š, and d) may have the notch preceding it in printed form, written in a span between two extremes: from as a more or less tapered point, to a fully rounded curve in handwriting (as in un/ün).[9]:62–63[22][17]:211–215
  • As sara and dur/r, a resh (of r, and sometimes of l) can appear as two teeth or crossed shins pointing left; adjacent, angled, attached to a shin and/or overlapping.
  • As in köke, ǰüg and separated a/e, two angled left pointing teeth can also appear on the top-left part of an kaph (k/g) or aleph (a/e).
  • The lamedh (t or d) may appear simply as an oval loop or looped shin, or as more angular, with an either closed or open counter (as in daki/deki or dur/dür).
  • Initial taw (t/d) and final mem (m) can likewise be found written quite explicitly loopy (as in ᠲᠣᠯᠢ toli or ᠨᠣᠮ nom.
Short samples
Browserrendered forms(?) Blockprinted forms Brushwritten forms Trans­lit­er­a­tion(s) & trans­la­tion[7]
Separated vowel/suffix
, a/e
Separated suffixes
i
u/ü
ᠠᠴᠠ ača/eče
ᠤᠨ un/ün
ᠯᠤᠭ luγa
ᠲᠦᠷ tur/tür
ᠳᠦᠷ dur/dür
ᠶᠢᠨ yin
Words
ᠨᠣᠮ nom 'book'
ᠪᠠ ba 'and'
ᠭᠣᠪᠢ γobi 'Gobi'
ᠬᠥᠬᠡ köke 'blue'
ᠰᠠᠢᠨ/ᠰᠠᠶᠢᠨ sain/sayin 'good'
ᠰᠠᠷᠠ sara 'moon'
ᠵᠦᠭ ǰüg 'direction'
ᠶᠡᠬᠡ yeke 'great'
Particles
ᠬᠦ
ᠦᠦ uu/üü
Wikipedia slogan
Manuscript Type Unicode Transliteration
(first word)
ᠸᠢᠺᠢᠫᠧᠳᠢᠶᠠ᠂
ᠴᠢᠯᠦᠭᠡᠲᠦ ᠨᠡᠪᠲᠡᠷᠬᠡᠢ ᠲᠣᠯᠢ ᠪᠢᠴᠢᠭ ᠪᠣᠯᠠᠢ᠃
ᠸᠢ wi/vi
ᠺᠢ gi/ki
ᠫᠧ /
ᠲ‍ᠢ di
ᠶᠠ ya
  • Transliteration: Wikipēdiya čilügetü nebterkei toli bičig bolai.
  • Cyrillic: Википедиа чөлөөт нэвтэрхий толь бичиг болой.
  • Transcription: Vikipedia chölööt nevterkhii toli bichig boloi.
  • Gloss: Wikipedia free omni-profound mirror scripture is.
  • Translation: Wikipedia is the free encyclopedia.

Child systems

The Mongol script has been the basis of alphabets for several languages. First, after overcoming the Uyghur script ductus, it was used for Mongolian itself.

Clear script (Oirat alphabet)

In 1648, the Oirat Buddhist monk Zaya-pandita Namkhaijamco created this variation with the goals of bringing the written language closer to the actual pronunciation of Oirat and making it easier to transcribe Tibetan and Sanskrit. The script was used by the Kalmyks of Russia until 1924, when it was replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet. In Xinjiang, China, the Oirat people still use it.

Manchu alphabet

The Manchu alphabet was developed from the Mongolian script in the early 17th century to write the Manchu language. A variant is still used to write Xibe. It is also used for Daur. Its folded variant may for example be found on Chinese Qing seals.

Vagindra alphabet

Another alphabet, sometimes called Vagindra or Vaghintara, was created in 1905 by the Buryat monk Agvan Dorjiev (1854–1938). It was also meant to reduce ambiguity, and to support the Russian language in addition to Mongolian. The most significant change, however, was the elimination of the positional shape variations. All letters were based on the medial variant of the original Mongol alphabet. Fewer than a dozen books were printed using it.

Evenki alphabet

The Qing dynasty Qianlong Emperor erroneously identified the Khitan people and their language with the Solons, leading him to use the Solon language (Evenki) to "correct" Chinese character transcriptions of Khitan names in the History of Liao in his "Imperial Liao Jin Yuan Three Histories National Language Explanation" (欽定遼金元三史國語解/钦定辽金元三史国语解 Qīndìng Liáo Jīn Yuán Sānshǐ Guóyǔjiě) project. The Evenki words were written in the Manchu script in this work.

In the 1980s, an experimental alphabet for Evenki was created.

Additional characters

Galik characters

In 1587, the translator and scholar Ayuush Güüsh (Аюуш гүүш) created the Galik alphabet (Али-гали), inspired by the third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso. It primarily added extra characters for transcribing Tibetan and Sanskrit terms when translating religious texts, and later also from Chinese. Some of those characters are still in use today for writing foreign names (compare table above).[43]

Unicode

Mongolian script was added to the Unicode standard in September 1999 with the release of version 3.0. However, there are multiple design issues in Mongolian Unicode that have not been fixed until now.[44] The model is extremely unstable[45] and the user group dislike the 1999 design.

  • The 1999 Mongolian script Unicode codes are duplicated and not searchable.
  • The 1999 Mongolian script Unicode model has multiple layers of FVS (free variation selectors), MVS, ZWJ, NNBSP, and those variation selections conflict with each other, which create incorrect results.[46] Furthermore, different vendors understood the definition of each FVS differently, and developed multiple applications in different standards.[47]
  • The Mongolian User Group is in a panic, and over 10,000 users signed up in 10 days in 2019 April to request local authority to fundamentally review the 1999 Unicode model.

Blocks

The Unicode block for Mongolian is U+1800–U+18AF. It includes letters, digits and various punctuation marks for Hudum Mongolian, Todo Mongolian, Xibe (Manchu), Manchu proper, and Ali Gali, as well as extensions for transcribing Sanskrit and Tibetan.

Mongolian[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
 0123456789ABCDEF
U+180x FV
 S1 
FV
 S2 
FV
 S3 
 MV 
S
U+181x
U+182x
U+183x
U+184x
U+185x
U+186x
U+187x
U+188x
U+189x
U+18Ax
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

The Mongolian Supplement block (U+11660–U+1167F) was added to the Unicode Standard in June, 2016 with the release of version 9.0:

Mongolian Supplement[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
 0123456789ABCDEF
U+1166x 𑙠 𑙡 𑙢 𑙣 𑙤 𑙥 𑙦 𑙧 𑙨 𑙩 𑙪 𑙫 𑙬
U+1167x
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Font issues

Although the Mongolian script has been defined in Unicode since 1999, there was no native support for Unicode Mongolian from the major vendors until the release of the Windows Vista operating system in 2007 and fonts need to be installed in Windows XP and Windows 2000 to show properly, and so Unicode Mongolian is not yet widely used. In China, legacy encodings such as the Private Use Areas (PUA) Unicode mappings and GB18030 mappings of the Menksoft IMEs (espc. Menksoft Mongolian IME) are more commonly used than Unicode for writing web pages and electronic documents in Mongolian.

The inclusion of a Unicode Mongolian font and keyboard layout in Windows Vista has meant that Unicode Mongolian is now gradually becoming more popular, but the complexity of the Unicode Mongolian encoding model and the lack of a clear definition for the use variation selectors are still barriers to its widespread adoption, as is the lack of support for inline vertical display. As of 2015 there are no fonts that successfully display all of Mongolian correctly when written in Unicode. A report published in 2011 revealed many shortcomings with automatic rendering in all three Unicode Mongolian fonts the authors surveyed, including Microsoft's Mongolian Baiti.[48]

Furthermore, Mongolian language support has suffered from buggy implementations: the initial version of Microsoft's Mongolian Baiti font (version 5.00) was, in the supplier's own words, "almost unusable",[49] and as of 2011 there remain some minor bugs with the rendering of suffixes in Firefox.[50] Other fonts, such as Monotype's Mongol Usug and Myatav Erdenechimeg's MongolianScript, suffer even more serious bugs.[48]

In January 2013, Menksoft released several OpenType Mongolian fonts, delivered with its Menksoft Mongolian IME 2012. These fonts strictly follow Unicode standard, i.e. bichig is no longer realized as "B+I+CH+I+G+FVS2" (incorrect) but "B+I+CH+I+G" (correct), which is not done by Microsoft and Founder's Mongolian Baiti, Monotype's Mongol Usug, or Myatav Erdenechimeg's MongolianScript.[51] However, due to the impact of Mongolian Baiti, many still use the Microsoft defined incorrect realization "B+I+CH+I+G+FVS2", which results in an incorrect rendering in correctly-designed fonts like Menk Qagan Tig.

Mongolian script can be represented in LaTeX with the MonTeX package.[52]

Sometimes even if a font is installed the script may display as horizontal rather than vertical depending on the operating system or font.

Sample

In text sample below, the appearance of the scripts should match. The more specific shapes include the final shapes on lines 1 (yin suffix), 3 (separated a), and 4/6 (vowel harmony dependent g) in the middle column, and the interrogative particle uu/üü in the rightmost column. Note that in some browsers, letters are rotated 90° counterclockwise. If the isolate letter a () resembles a 'W' and not a 'Σ', rotate the letters 90° clockwise.

Reference text
Browser-rendered text ᠴᠣᠷᠢᠶᠢᠨ ᠭᠠᠭᠴᠠ ᠪᠣᠰᠤᠭ᠎ᠠ ᠪᠢᠴᠢᠭ᠄ ᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ ᠪᠢᠴᠢᠭ ᠦᠦ

See also

Notes

  1. In Mongolian script: ᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ ᠪᠢᠴᠢᠭ Mongγol bičig; in Mongolian Cyrillic: Монгол бичиг Mongol bichig
  2. In Mongolian script: ᠬᠤᠳᠤᠮ ᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ ᠪᠢᠴᠢᠭ; Mongolian Cyrillic: Khalkha: Худам Монгол бичиг, Khudam Mongol bichig, Buryat: Худам Монгол бэшэг, Khudam Mongol besheg, Kalmyk: Хуудм Моңһл бичг, Xuudm Moñhl biçg
  3. Mongolian: Уйгуржин монгол бичиг
  4. Mongolian: Хуучин монгол бичиг
  5. Mongolian: Шинэ үсэг
  6. As in ba 'and'.[2]:22
  7. Stand-in for the correct (context-sensitive only) glyph.
  8. As in bi 'I'.[2]:22
  9. As in bo.[20]:22
  10. Interrogative particle.[25]:38
  11. As in the final diphthongs u-a and uu-a.[2]:31
  12. As in the strengthening particle.[25]:46
  13. Interrogative particle.[25]:38
  14. As in бо.[20]:22
  15. As in the strengthening particle.[25]:46
  16. As in /хөө.[20]
  17. As in ǰa/за(а) 'well', 'allright'.[2]:24[17]:345[20], emphatic final.[25]:46, 59, doubt-expressing ǰa and corroborative ǰe particle.[39].
  18. As in ᠸᠢᠸᠠᠩᠭᠢᠷᠢᠳ wiwanggirid / вивангирид vivangirid.[2]:12[20]
  19. As in ᠳᠠᠸᠠ dawa / даваа davaa.[20]
  20. [8][12]:102[22]
  21. As in ᠪᠣᠳᠢᠰᠠᠳ bodisadwa / бодисадва bodisadva.[20]
  22. With a vertical tail is correct, but ᠺᠦ renders incorrectly (without) as of Noto 1.04.
  23. With a yodh/shilbe is correct, but ᠺᠦ renders incorrectly (without) as of Noto 1.04.
  24. With a vertical tail is correct, but ᠺᠦ renders incorrectly (without) as of Noto 1.04.
  25. As in ᠼᠧᠮᠧᠨ cēmēnt / цемент tsyemyent.[20]
  26. As in ᠰᠲᠠᠨᠼᠢ stanci / станц stants.[20]
  27. As in ᠲᠷᠠᠫᠧᠼ trapēc / трапец trapyets.[20]
  28. As in ᠽᠠᠨᠳᠠᠨ zandan / зандан zandan.[20]
  29. As in ᠪᠧᠨᠽᠢᠨ bēnzin / бензин benzin.[20]
  30. As in ᠪᠷᠣᠨ bronz / бронз bronz.[20]
  31. As in sanskrit hari 'green',[2]:15 or ᠾᠷᠣᠮ hrom / хром khrom.[20]
  32. Lee & Zee (2003) and Lin (2007) transcribe these as approximants, while Duanmu (2007) transcribes these as voiced fricatives. The actual pronunciation has been acoustically measured to be more approximant-like.[40]

References

  1. Daniels, Peter T. (1996). The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507993-7.
  2. Poppe, Nicholas (1974). Grammar of Written Mongolian. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-00684-2.
  3. György Kara, "Aramaic Scripts for Altaic Languages", in Daniels & Bright The World's Writing Systems, 1994.
  4. Shepherd, Margaret (2013-07-03). Learn World Calligraphy: Discover African, Arabic, Chinese, Ethiopic, Greek, Hebrew, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Russian, Thai, Tibetan Calligraphy, and Beyond. Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale. ISBN 978-0-8230-8230-8.
  5. Berkwitz, Stephen C.; Schober, Juliane; Brown, Claudia (2009-01-13). Buddhist Manuscript Cultures: Knowledge, Ritual, and Art. Routledge. ISBN 9781134002429.
  6. Chinggeltei. (1963) A Grammar of the Mongol Language. New York, Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. p. 15.
  7. Lessing, Ferdinand (1960). Mongolian-English Dictionary (PDF). University of California Press.
  8. "UNU/IIST Report No. 170 Traditional Mongolian Script in the ISO/IEC 10646 and Unicode Standards" (PDF). unicode.org. Aug 1999. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  9. Скородумова, Лидия Григорьевна (2000). Введение в старописьменный монгольский язык: учебное пособие (PDF) (in Russian). Изд-во Дом "Муравей-Гайд". ISBN 9785846300156.
  10. Shagdarsürüng, Tseveliin (2001). "Study of Mongolian Scripts (Graphic Study or Grammatology). Enl". Bibliotheca Mongolica: Monograph 1.
  11. Unicode MD020 (2004)
  12. Janhunen, Juha (2006-01-27). The Mongolic Languages. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-79689-1.
  13. Jugder, Luvsandorj (2008). "Diacritic marks in the Mongolian script and the 'darkness of confusion of letters'". In J. Vacek; A. Oberfalzerová (eds.). MONGOLO-TIBETICA PRAGENSIA '08, Linguistics, Ethnolinguistics, Religion and Culture. 1/1. Praha: Charles University and Triton. pp. 45–98. ISSN 1803-5647.
  14. "The Mongolian Script" (PDF). Lingua Mongolia.
  15. Mongol Times (2012). "Monggul bichig un job bichihu jui-yin toli". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. "The Unicode® Standard Version 10.0 – Core Specification: South and Central Asia-II" (PDF). Unicode.org. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  17. Bat-Ireedui, Jantsangiyn; Sanders, Alan J. K. (2015-08-14). Colloquial Mongolian: The Complete Course for Beginners. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-30598-9.
  18. Gehrke, Munkho. "Монгол бичгийн зурлага :|: Монгол бичиг". mongol-bichig.dusal.net (in Mongolian). Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  19. "ᠵᠢᠷᠤᠯᠭᠠ ᠪᠠ ᠲᠡᠭᠦᠨ ᠦ ᠨᠡᠷᠡᠢᠳᠦᠯ - ᠮᠤᠩᠭᠤᠯ ᠪᠢᠴᠢᠭ". www.mongolfont.com. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  20. "Mongolian State Dictionary". mongoltoli.mn. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  21. "Unicode Technical Report #2". ftp.tc.edu.tw. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  22. "Mongolian Traditional Script". cjvlang.com. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  23. by Manchu convention
  24. in Inner Mongolia.
  25. Grønbech, Kaare; Krueger, John Richard (1993). An Introduction to Classical (literary) Mongolian: Introduction, Grammar, Reader, Glossary. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-03298-8.
  26. "A Study of Traditional Mongolian Script Encodings and Rendering: Use of Unicode in OpenType fonts" (PDF). w.colips.org. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  27. Svantesson, Jan-Olof (2005). The Phonology of Mongolian. https://media.turuz.com/Language/2012/0122-(5)moghol_(monqol)_dilinin_ses_bilimi-fonoloji(18.163KB).pdf#page=61: Oxford University Press. pp. 40–42. ISBN 0-19-926017-6.
  28. "Mongolian / ᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ Moŋġol" (PDF). www.eki.ee. Retrieved 2017-11-18.
  29. Viklund, Andreas. "Lingua Mongolia – Mongolian Grammar". www.linguamongolia.com. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  30. "PROPOSAL Encode Mongolian Suffix Connector (U+180F) To Replace Narrow Non-Breaking Space (U+202F)" (PDF). Unicode.org. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  31. Janhunen, Juha A. (2012). Mongolian. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 978-9027238207.
  32. "Mongolian transliterations" (PDF). Institute of the Estonian Language.
  33. "Writing | Study Mongolian". www.studymongolian.net. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  34. Clauson, Gerard (2005-11-04). Studies in Turkic and Mongolic Linguistics. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-43012-3.
  35. "Retrieval in Texts with Traditional Mongolian Script Realizing Unicoded Traditional Mongolian Digital Library (PDF Download Available)". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  36. Baumann, Brian Gregory (2008). Divine Knowledge: Buddhist Mathematics According to the Anonymous Manual of Mongolian Astrology and Divination. BRILL. ISBN 978-9004155756.
  37. "BabelStone : Mongolian and Manchu Resources". babelstone.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
  38. Inner Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party emblem
  39. Chiodo, Elisabetta (2000). The Mongolian Manuscripts on Birch Bark from Xarbuxyn Balgas in the Collection of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-05714-1.
  40. Lee-Kim, Sang-Im (2014), "Revisiting Mandarin 'apical vowels': An articulatory and acoustic study", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 44 (3): 261–282, doi:10.1017/s0025100314000267
  41. "ᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ ᠪᠢᠴᠢᠭ᠌ ᠦᠨ ᠣᠷᠤᠭᠤᠯᠬᠤ ᠠᠷᠭ᠎ᠠ - ᠮᠤᠩᠭ᠋ᠤᠯ ᠪᠢᠴᠢᠭ᠌". www.mongolfont.com. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  42. "Exploring Mongolian Manuscript Collections in Russia and Beyond" (PDF). www.manuscript-cultures.uni-hamburg.de. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  43. Otgonbayar Chuluunbaatar (2008). Einführung in die Mongolischen Schriften (in German). Buske. ISBN 978-3-87548-500-4.
  44. Liang, Hai (23 Sep 2017). "Current problems in the Mongolian encoding" (PDF). Unicode.
  45. D, Badarch (20 Nov 2018). "The Mongol script encoding – 2018" (PDF). Unicode.Org.
  46. Anderson, Debbie (22 Sep 2018). "Mongolian Ad Hoc meeting summary" (PDF). Unicode.
  47. Moore, Lisa (27 Mar 2019). "Summary of MWG2 Outcomes and Goals for MWG3 Meeting" (PDF). Unicode.Org.
  48. Biligsaikhan Batjargal; et al. (2011). "A Study of Traditional Mongolian Script Encodings and Rendering: Use of Unicode in OpenType fonts" (PDF). International Journal of Asian Language Processing. 21 (1): 23–43. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  49. Version 5.00 of the Mongolian Baiti font may be displayed incorrectly in Windows Vista
  50. "490534 - ZWJ and NNBSP rendered incorrectly in scripts like Mongolian". bugzilla.mozilla.org.
  51. Menk Qagan Tig, Menk Hawang Tig, Menk Garqag Tig, Menk Har_a Tig, and Menk Scnin Tig.
  52. "CTAN: Package montex". ctan.org. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
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