There are many theories as to the roots of the Mongolian language. A common theory was the Altaic language group, however recent research is still debating the roots of Mongolian. Some Mongolian originated from the Turkic languages from thousands of years ago, while others suggests it’s norther Siberia. It’s still up to much debate, however there is no denying the similarity between Central Asian languages.
Take for example the Central Asian languages:
And compare it with Mongolian:
People have varying opinions as to what modern day Mongolian sounds like from a foreigner perspective. Most commonly people think it sounds like a mix of German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish and Korean. Although there are odd instances of people thinking it sounds like something else.
However, what makes the language hard to learn is the fact that Mongolian is completely separate from the well known languages of today. The grammar structure, pronunciation, and characters are all its own thing. Eastern Europeans have a slight advantage compared to others due to already knowing the Cyrillic alphabet, however, aside from that, it makes no sense to Slavic language speakers.
The First Step in Learning Mongolian
The best and fastest way of learning the language is to enroll in an online Mongolian language course, but for curious folk wanting to just try it out, it’s best to learn the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet. It gives you some structure and order for what’s to come next.
The Most Difficult Aspect of Mongolian
The hardest aspect of learning Mongolian tends to be the pronunciation of certain letters and words. Specifically the L and rolling R sound. The language can be very guttural, harsh, and breathy at times, hence this poses a lot of challenges for most Westerners and Eastern Asians.
Spelling things correctly is still an issue for many native Mongolians. Mongolian words use a root word to make new words that are similar in meaning, but have different tense. Sometimes a root word could be in a long word, but have two totally different meanings. For example
Явах (yavah) means to go. The root word is Яв (yav) which means go. To say a person left you say Явчихсан (yavchihsan). While the root word stays the same, other letters get added in to make it in the past tense.
However, with determination and practice one can become fluent regardless of the steep learning curve.