The Classical Mongolian script originated with the Sogdo-Uighur alphabet. In the 13th century, this alphabet was used as the foundation for the Mongolian alphabet. The oldest known monument with this script is from 1227. In 1247, Tibetan scholars wrote the first Mongolian language grammar book. Since then, the Mongolian language has steadily developed and the script has been revised several times.
Currently use traditional Mongolian script more than five million people in Inner Mongolia in China. In today’s Mongolia was a classical script replaced by modified cyrillic in 1941.
Each letter of Classical Mongolian alphabet has always four versions. It depends on the position of the letter in the word. The letter can stand alone or in initial, medial or final position.
Traditional Mongolian alphabet
- Some letters have two final forms: one that joins the word, another that is separated.
- “na” and “γa” can be written in 2 ways. No. 3 is the modernized form as used in Inner Mongolia.
- These letters are used only in “strong” (masculine, back) words according to vowel harmony.
- These letters are used only in “weak” (feminine, front) words according to vowel harmony.
- These letters do not belong to the original Classical Mongolian alphabet, but were introduced because of the use of loan words.
Mongolian Grammar, D. Tserenpil and R. Kullmann, Ulaanbaatar 2005
Монгол Бичиг (сурах бичиг), Чоймаа Ш., 2002