Learning any type of foreign language can be hard, but especially the Mongolian language, it can be even more difficult for someone who is not used to Mongolic languages.
Contrary to many people’s belief, Mongolian doesn’t share any similarities with Mandarin Chinese or Russian as it’s a separate language on its own with its own unique qualities. The closest languages to Mongolian are Buryat, Kalmyk, Chahar, Ordos, etc which are in the Mongolic language family. You could even say they are a dialect of the Mongolic language as a whole.
So unless you are at least somewhat experienced with other Mongolic languages, it will be hard to fully master the Mongolian language / Khalkha dialect (which is the most commonly spoken in the world).
If you are interested in learning the basic fundamentals of Mongolian, be sure to check out my online video course and eBook
Video Course: Learn
This video course comes with audio files and tutorials to help you with correct pronunciations for additional practice. You can download them and learn offline
- Taught by a Mongolian world traveler
- Audio mp3 with native pronunciations
- Video lessons, downloadable content
- Facebook VIP group for students
- Downloadable eBook – PRINTABLE on paper!
Easy Aspects of Mongolian
Mongolian does not have different conjugations or grammar rules based on feminine or masculine words. The same grammar rule applies to neutral, masculine, and feminine words, so it makes memorizing conjugations a lot easier. Unlike Russian and some other languages, Mongolian also does not change how adjectives are written whether it’s masculine, neutral, or feminine. Lastly, most conjugations are all the same whether it’s a “he” “she” “they” “us” or “them”.
For example: I fly, he flies, they fly, we fly would be Би нисдэг, Тэр нисдэг, Тэд нисдэг, Бид нисдэг… they are all the same.
Hard Aspects of Mongolian
It’s not necessarily that the alphabet or the grammar is hard to learn, but it’s the lacking amount of available resources. It’s very hard to come across quality textbooks that teach Mongolian in English or other common languages.
While I do have a basic introductory course for Mongolian, the intermediate and advanced levels of grammar are difficult to teach. Most teachers who are qualified to teach upper-level Mongolian rarely speak English, so there just aren’t enough qualified tutors and teachers in the world.
Other Challenges With Learning Mongolian
Aside from that, accent/pronunciation is THE most common challenge a lot of people learning Mongolian have. The sounds in the Mongolian language are very different from most common languages around the world.
It’s very throaty and harsh while at the same time soft and harmonious. There are subtle vowel sounds in the middle or the end of words that can completely change the meaning of the word.
However, from my personal experience, almost everyone has difficulty pronouncing the Mongolian Л sound.
Also, if you are used to Latin languages, sometimes it might be hard to wrap your head around sentences because English for example uses SVO (Subject Verb Object) sentences whereas Mongolian is SOV (Subject Object Verb).
Lastly, the rules and spelling of words keep changing from time to time by the government, hence the educational system has to play catch up with such changes. You can check if the certain spelling is correct or wrong here: http://spellcheck.gov.mn/