Related Scripts

Quick Facts
TypeC&V Alphabet
LocationCentral Asia
Time12th Century CE to Present
DirectionTop to Bottom

The Mongolian people became one of the most powerful ethnic groups in history when their leader Genghis Khan carved a gigantic empire that stretched from Eastern Europe to Far East Asia.

The Mongolians adopted the Uighur script around the 12th century CE, but initially it didn't fit the Mongolian language well. Spelling was ambiguous due to Uighur letters representing multiple sounds. And, as the language evolved, sounds of words changed, but the spelling remained fossilized, thus creating a difference between written and spoken language. Language reform during the 16th century CE alleviated this problem, and the resulting script is known as the Mongolian script, as shown below.

The Mongolian script is written from top to bottom, and the columns go from left to right.

In addition to the Mongolian script, the Mongolian language has been written in other scripts, including Chinese, hPhags-pa, Latin, and lastly Cyrillic starting at 1937. However, with the breakdown of the Soviet Union and the waning of Russian influence in Mongolia, the Mongolian script has made an official, government-decreed return.

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