Short answer is yes, Mongolians in Mongolia (or Outer Mongolia as some may incorrectly refer to) learn the traditional script in middle school. However, there are many reasons why Mongolians don’t use the traditional script day to day.
Now, if you’re scratching your head and wondering how come you saw traditional Mongolian script written on buildings and people actually using the script alphabet for writing. You may mixing it up with Inner Mongolia – which is part of China.
Writing Systems in Mongolian vs Inner Mongolia
Modern day Mongolia gained its independence from Manchurian colonial rule in 1921 and was recognized as an independent country in 1924 by the U.N, however, people still mix up Inner Mongolia and Mongolia. There are numerous instances where people thought I could speak Mandarin because I was Mongolian, but most Mongolians are not able to speak Mandarin.
Anyways, if we are to compare the official writing systems in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia, modern day Mongolians use the Cyrillic Alphabet day to day although Mongolian script is still an official writing system, please read “Why Mongolians Use Cyrillic” for details.
However, Inner Mongolia still uses the traditional Mongolian script and Mandarin Chinese since it’s a part of China. From what I hear, less and less Inner Mongolians are opting to study or learn Mongolian for better opportunities with Mandarin Chinese, however some people do disagree and state that the Mongolian language is still preserved. From personal experience in Erlian and Xilinghot, I barely came across anyone who could speak Mongolian, so who knows…
Are Mongolians Taught The Traditional Script?
Yes, Mongolians do learn the traditional Mongolian script when in school and gain somewhat of a comprehension in reading and writing in Mongolian script. Even though I myself have spent almost half my life outside Mongolia, I was required to learn the traditional script during Middle School and to this day, I am still able to make out the general gist of a sentence, though grammar wise I am terrible.
So, most people who grew up in Mongolia are able to read and write in traditional script, though it’s very elementary and basic.
When Is Traditional Script Used in Mongolia?
If you ever visit Mongolia, especially during the holidays, you will see plenty of Mongolian traditional script around. Mongolian script is moreso of a historical tradition and culture than an actual writing system. Some buildings and ads will be written in Traditional script for a more Mongolian old/vintage feel, but day to day everyone uses the Cyrillic.
The traditional script at the end of the day is something of the past and a tradition that Mongolians still like to preserve for historical and cultural reasons.
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