Interesting Facts About the Buryat Language

Interesting Facts About the Buryat Language

Every language has its own history and background. Buryat language is no different and there are many interesting facts about this dialect that you likely are not familiar with.

This language is actually closely connected to Mongolic and was spoken mostly by Buryats. Many of the speakers of this language live in Russia, but also reside very close to the north border of Mongolia. This language is an official language in the Buryat Republic of Mongolia. A language study in Russia showed that about 73% of Russians can speak Buryat fluently. However, Buryats that live in Russia and Mongolia have a different literary standard that is accepted.

Suffering Language

The Buryat language is unfortunately not flourishing right now. Less and less people are learning Buryat and are writing it. The main problem that keeps Buryat language from becoming completely popularised is the vocabulary difference. Many of the Buryat words are taken from Russian language, which causes a lot of confusion among Buryat speakers. This language is under somewhat of a crisis that might not be able to be repaired. Even though at one time about 73% of Russians spoke Buryat, this number is steadily decreasing with each passing year. Now different dialects of Buryat are spoken and this confusion is what has caused the language crisis. There is no standard for Buryat dialect in place.

1933 Ban

You may not know it, but the Buryat font was banned in 1933. It was during this prohibition that the language became known as Buryat-Mongolian instead of just Buryat.  This language was actually written in Latin and this made the dialect difference first apparent. The written form of Buryat changed in 1939 with the invention of the Cyrillic alphabet. The Buryat language has undergone many changes over time and has been influenced by many factors that have altered this dialect.

Different Dialects of Buryat

The two main types of Buryat are Mongolian-Buryat and Khamnigan-Buryat. This is due to the fact that these regions are where Buryat is most closely located. The Buryat language has been changed by the Khori people and the lower Uda dialect. The Khori group is located east of Lake Baikal and many people living in Mongolia speak this form of Buryat dialect. However, the lower Uda dialect of Buryat is spoken at the most west point and incorporates the influence of the Turkic people.

Image: Oleg Golovnev /

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