Is Learning Mongolian Very Hard?
If you are wondering how difficult it is to learn Mongolian, it’s just like learning any other foreign language. For people who know how to speak a Slavic language or know how to read in Cyrillic, it will be much easier.
However, do keep in mind that the Mongolian language roots are completely different from the Slavic languages. While a lot of Eastern Europeans are able to read things in Mongolian, they won’t be able to comprehend anything. If interested, you can read why Mongolians use the Cyrillic Alphabet.
The Hardest Aspect of Mongolian
The hardest aspect of learning Mongolian is spelling and pronunciation of words. Even I as a native speaker can misspell words here and there because Mongolian words are not exactly spelled as it sounds. There is subtle tone difference in similar sounding words, and depending on the context of the sentence, the spelling can be very different although the words might sound exactly the same.
- Translation for king in Mongolian is Хаан or Khaan
- Translation for where in Mongolian is Хаана or Khaann.
They sound very similar when spoken, but there is a very subtle tone difference at the end, where Khaann has a bit of an extra A sound at the end. For new learners this could be very confusing when trying to speak the language as there are plenty of other similar sounding words with completely different meanings.
Another struggle most non-native speakers seem to have when learning Mongolian is the pronunciation of L, R, H, and G. The pronunciation of those letters are very guttural, and the sound might be completely foreign to some people as they might have never heard of such words. Learn Beginner Lessons for Mongolian Here.
With practice, you will however be able to become fluent in the language, however to truly become a master in Mongolian is a craft of its own. Even most native speakers never fully master the language nor speak it to its full potential.
Mastering the Mongolian Language
Mongolian is a very poetic language with rich vocabulary of words, which is why we have scholars and philosophers who dedicate their life learning the Mongolian language and Mongolian literature. For special feasts, weddings, and celebrations it’s almost mandatory to hire a Mongolian poet who has the full grasp of poetic Mongolian and the richness of the vocabulary.
In summary, if you want to learn Mongolian, the first step is to learn the alphabet and basic conjugations, introductions, and pronunciations. Once there, you can start learning the present, past, and future tenses. Then proceed to practicing your speaking, listening, and writing skills with people.
It will probably take you a few years of committed practice, but once you become fluent, there is a whole another level of Mongolian language that even natives don’t know about.
For beginners and travelers who just want to learn the basics and get by in Mongolia, you can download my free introductory eBook. You can learn the basics within a month or so.