Moнгол Xэл – Mongolian Language

No change vis-à-vis the visa situation but we are still working on it.

We visited a husband and wife team who set up and run http://www.nomadstours.com/nuur/ yesterday.  They employ people as well as offering volunteer positions here in Mongolia.  Tim and I spent a hour and a half with a very interesting couple who have been living out here since the 1990’s and both speak Mongolian.  They gave us lots of ideas to think about.

We met last week with the Resident Director of the American Centre for Mongolian Studies and he is exploring some avenues on our behalf.

I sent my CV to http://www.mongoliatalentnetwork.com/ not sure anything will come of it but what have we got to loose?

The weather here is warming up.  Last week we had two days so warm we wore t-shirts but awoke on day three to find 6″ of snow on the ground.   The temperature is forecast to get up to a high of 17C by the weekend and we may even have rain. All around the city there are workers painting, building and fixing things now the worst of the cold weather has passed.

монгол хэл хичээл – Mongolian Language Lessons

We are fast progressing with our Mongolian.  We know around 1000 words but recalling them is the hard part.  Recent lessons learnt below.

1) Tim said he could eat a person rather than food.  Person хүн.  Food хоол хүнс.

2) When learning the past tenses I said I didn’t kill last year.  I meant to say I didn’t walk last year.  To kill алах.  To walk алхах.

3) Apparently the extremely changeable nature of the weather during the Mongolian spring makes people grumpy for no reason, which explains everything.  Not sure I can justify why I am grumpy in the summer 🙂

4) Words for days of the week were changed during the communist era and have become super functional; Monday нэг дэх өдөр.  Translated as Day 1.  Tuesday хоёр  дэх өдөр.  Day 2 etc.

Saturday & Sunday are different in that Saturday is хагас сайн өдөр.  Half a good day and Sunday is бүтэн сайн өдөр.  Whole good day.

5) Happy is баяртай which is also used to say goodbye.  It means “Stay happy until we next meet.”  I think this is a lovely sentiment.

6) Tim and I celebrated our 7th Wedding Anniversary on Monday and on that day I learnt how to nag in Mongolian.  Our lesson covered how to say you need to make someone do something.  E.g.  I need to make Tim clean the house.

монголыг судлал – Mongolian Studies

1) The traditional Mongolian alphabet was adopted in 1208 based on an earlier script and remained in use until 1931 when it was replaced by a version of the Latin alphabet.

2) The Latin alphabet was replaced by a Cyrillic script in 1937.

3) Today the Mongolian language uses a Cyrillic alphabet, similar but not identical to the Russian one.  It has 35 letters and text is written from left to right – handy as it is same as English.  Tim and I are slightly better at reading than we are at speaking.

4) I mentioned the vowel harmony on one of the first blog entries when I had very little understanding of what it all meant.  Mongolian vowels are divided into two groups: front vowels, pronounced with the front of the mouth and back vowels, pronounced with the back of the mouth.

For example, there are two “o.”  First of all, “o” said like the English “o” in the word “pot.”  If you say this word you will notice the “o” sounds resonates around the centre of the mouth.   This is a back vowel.

The other “ө” is pronounced in the same way as in the “ou” in the English word “should”.  If you say this word you will notice that the “ou” resonates at the front of the mouth.  This is a front vowel.

If the first syllable of a word contains a front vowel all the remaining vowels in that word must also be front vowels.  Likewise, words with back vowels in their first syllable will also have back vowels in the rest of their syllables.

The Mongolian language has both long vowel sounds and short vowel sounds.  If you apply a long vowel to a word that has a short vowel chances are you will change the meaning   For example, Sam (Comb), Saam (Mare’s milk).

For language learning tips this site is great  www.fluentin3months.com/blog

The guy who writes it, Benny, smashes through all the normal excuses people give for not learning a new language.  It helps me when I feel like I am not progressing and want to give up.

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