Khorchin Mongolian
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Khorchin Mongolian

The Khorchin (Mongolian Qor?in, Chinese K?'?rqìn) dialect is a variety of Mongolian spoken in the east of Inner Mongolia, namely in Hinggan League, in the north, north-east and east of Hinggan and in all but the south of the Tongliao region.[1] There were 2.08 million Khorchin Mongols in China in 2000,[2] so the Khorchin dialect may well have more than one million speakers, making it the largest dialect of Inner Mongolia.



Khorchin consonant phonemes[3][a]
Labial Coronal Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ?
Stop voiceless p t t k
aspirated p? t? k?
Fricative s ? x
Approximant w l j
Trill r

Historical /t/ has become modern /?/, and in some varieties, /s/ is replaced by /t?/.[4] Then, *u (<*?<*u) has regressively assimilated to /?/ before *p, e.g. *putaha (Written Mongolian buda?-a) > pata 'rice'.[5] However, less systematic changes that pertain only to a number of words are far more notable, e.g. *tital 'capacity'> Khorchin /x?tl/.[6] This last example also illustrates that Khorchin allows for the consonant nuclei /l/ and /n/ (cp. [?ln] 'many').[7]


/?/, /?:/, /?/, /?:/, /?/, /?:/, /u/, /u:/, /y/, /y:/, /i/, /i:/, /?/, /?:/, /oe/, /oe:/, /?/,/?:/, /?/[8][b]

The large vowel system developed through the depalatalization of consonants that phonemicized formerly allomorphic vowels, hence /oe/ and /?/. On the other hand, *ö is absent, e.g. Proto-Mongolic *ke > Kalmyk //, Khalkha /o?k/ 'colour',[9] but Khorchin /u?/, thus merging with /u/.[10]/y/ is absent in the native words of some varieties and /?/ is completely restricted to loanwords from Chinese,[11] but as these make up a very substantial part of Khorchin vocabulary, it is not feasible to postulate a separate loanword phonology. This also resulted in a vowel harmony system that is rather different from Chakhar and Khalkha: /u/ may appear in non-initial syllables of words without regard for vowel harmony, as may /?/ (e.g. /?tu/ 'horses' and /unt/ 'expensive';[12] Khalkha would have /?t?/ 'horses' and /unt?e/). On the other hand, /u/ still determines a word as front-vocalic when appearing in the first syllable, which doesn't hold for /?/ and /i/.[13] In some subdialects, /?/ and /oe/ which originated from palatalized /a/ and /?/, have changed vowel harmony class according to their acoustic properties and become front vowels in the system, and the same holds for their long counterparts. E.g. *mori-bar 'by horse' > Khorchin [moe:roer] vs. Jalaid subdialect [moe:r?r].[14]


Khorchin uses the old comitative /-l?/ to delimit an action within a certain time. A similar function is fulfilled by the suffix /-?ri/ that is, however, restricted to environments in the past stratum.[15] In contrast to other Mongolian varieties, in Khorchin Chinese verbs can be directly borrowed; other varieties have to borrow Chinese verbs as Mongolian nouns and then derive these to verbs. Compare the new loan /t?lu-/ 'to ask for money' < zh?ngluó () with the older loan /t:l-/ 'to borrow' < jiè (?)[16] that is present in all Mongolian varieties and contains the derivational suffix /-l-/.


  1. ^ Bayan?o?tu sometimes uses other symbols.
  2. ^ Bayan?o?tu also assumes a phoneme /?/ (~ [?]), but following the analysis of Svantesson et al. 2005 that claims that Mongolian (except for Ordos) only distinguishes phonemic and non-phonemic vowels in non-initial syllables, we arrive at an analysis where [?] and [?] are in complementary distribution, thus constituting a single phoneme. We thus arrive at the similar phoneme system as that of Se?enba?atur et al. 2005: 317 who, however, don't mention the vowel /?/ that is restricted to loanwords and doesn't play a role in the vowel harmony system of Khorchin.



  1. ^ Se?enba?atur et al. 2005: 565
  2. ^ Se?enba?atur et al. 2005: 317
  3. ^ Bayan?o?tu 2002: Todurqayilalta 2-3.
  4. ^ Se?enba?atur et al. 2005: 327
  5. ^ Qai yan 2005: 92
  6. ^ Bayan?o?tu 2002: 79
  7. ^ Bayan?o?tu 2002: 109-110
  8. ^ Bayan?o?tu 2002: 1, 80.
  9. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005:135, 171
  10. ^ Bayan?o?tu 2002: 15
  11. ^ Bayan?o?tu 2002: 28-29
  12. ^ Bayan?o?tu 2002: 89, 91
  13. ^ Se?enba?atur et al. 2005: 328-329
  14. ^ Bayan?o?tu 2002: 93
  15. ^ Bayan?o?tu 2002: 149
  16. ^ Bayan?o?tu 2002: 529, 531-532


  • Bayan?o?tu (2002): Qor?in aman ayal?un-u sudulul. Kökeqota: Öbür mong?ul-un yeke sur?a?uli-yin keblel-ün qoriy-a.
  • Qai yan (2003): Qor?in aman ayal?u ba aru qor?in aman ayal?un-u abiyan-u ?arim neyitelig on?ali?. In: Öbür mong?ul-un ündüsüten-ü yeke sur?a?uli 2005/3: 91-94.
  • Se?enba?atur et al. (2005): Mong?ul kelen-ü nutu?-un ayal?un-u sin?ilel-ün uduridqal. Kökeqota: Öbür mong?ul-un arad-un keblel-ün qoriy-a.
  • Svantesson, Jan-Olof, Anna Tsendina, Anastasia Karlsson, Vivan Franzén (2005): The Phonology of Mongolian. New York: Oxford University Press.

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