Monguor Language
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Monguor Language
D?d Mongol, Tu
Native toChina
RegionQinghai, Gansu
Native speakers
150,000 (2000 census)[1]
  • Shirongolic
    • Monguor
  • Mongghul
  • Mangghuer
Latin script
Language codes

The Monguor language (Chinese: ; pinyin: T?zúy?; also written Mongour and Mongor) is a Mongolic language of its Shirongolic branch and is part of the Gansu-Qinghai sprachbund (also called the Amdo sprachbund). There are several dialects, mostly spoken by the Monguor people. A written script was devised for Huzhu Monguor (Mongghul) in the late 20th century but has been little used.

A division into two languages, namely Mongghul in Huzhu Tu Autonomous County and Mangghuer in Minhe Hui and Tu Autonomous County, is considered necessary by some linguists. While Mongghul was under strong influence from Amdo Tibetan, the same holds for Mangghuer and Sinitic languages, and local varieties of Chinese such as the Gangou language were in turn influenced by Monguor.



  • Vowel sounds may also be nasalized when preceding a nasal consonant, in different environments.
  • Vowels /i, e, u/ may also undergo a devoicing process in certain phonetic environments.
Phoneme/Sound Allophones Notes
/i/ [i] [?] in stressed syllables
[?] when following alveolar sibilants or affricates
[] when following a retroflex consonant
/e/ [e] [?] in stressed syllables without onset clusters or coda consonants
[?] in a syllable with a palatal onset or palatal coda
[] in a syllable with a nasal coda consonant
/a/ [ä] [?] in a syllable closed by a velar nasal coda /?/
[?] before a syllable-final /j/
[æ] when a syllable is closed by an alveolar nasal /n/
[?] when following a palatal onset consonant, and preceding an alveolar nasal /n/
/o/ [o] [?] may be closer in different environments
/u/ [u] [?] when in unstressed syllables
[?] when following palatal consonants


Labial Alveolar Alveolo-
Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular
Stop voiceless p t k q
aspirated p? t? k? q?
Affricate voiceless t?s t t
aspirated t?s? t t
Fricative f s ? ? ?
Nasal m n ?
Approximant liquid l ?
central j w
  • /?/ can also be heard as allophones [h] or [x], occurring in free variation.
  • /?/ can be heard as a voiced fricative [?] within the onset of a stressed syllable, or of a word-initial syllable. It can also be heard as a flap sound [?] intervocalically in the onset of an unstressed syllable. In a syllable-coda position, it is heard as a rhotic [] vowel sound.
  • /j/ can have a spirantized allophone of [?] strongly in stressed syllables.[3]


Mongolian numerals such as the following[4] are only in use in the Mongghul dialect, while Mangghuer speakers have switched to counting in Chinese.[4] Note that while the Mongolian script has only arban for 'ten', Middle Mongolian *harpa/n including *h can be reconstructed from the scripts.[5]

Numeral Classical Mongolian Monguor
1 nigen nige
2 qoyar ghoori
3 ghurban ghuran
4 dörben deeran
5 tabun tawun
6 jirghughan jirighun
7 dologhan duluun
8 naiman niiman
9 yisün shdzin
10 arban haran


  1. ^ Monguor at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Glottopedia article on Monguor language.
  3. ^ Slater, Keith W. (2003). A Grammar of Mangghuer: A Mongolic Language of China's Qinghai-Gansu Sprachbund. Routledge.
  4. ^ a b Dpal-ldan-bkra-shis, Slater et al. 1996: 4
  5. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 130


  • Dpal-ldan-bkra-shis, Keith Slater, et al. (1996): Language Materials of China's Monguor Minority: Huzhu Mongghul and Minhe Mangghuer. Sino-Platonic papers no. 69.
  • Georg, Stefan (2003): Mongghul. In: Janhunen, Juha (ed.) (2003): The Mongolic languages. London: Routledge: 286-306.
  • Slater, Keith W. (2003): A grammar of Mangghuer: A Mongolic language of China's Qinghai-Gansu sprachbund. London/New York: RoutledgeCurzon.
  • Svantesson, Jan-Olof, Anna Tsendina, Anastasia Karlsson, Vivan Franzén (2005): The Phonology of Mongolian. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Zhàonàs?tú ? (1981): T?zúy? ji?nzhì (Introduction to the Tu language). B?ij?ng : Mínzú ch?b?nshè .
  • Mostaert, A., and A. de Shmedt. 1930. "Le Dialecte Monguor Parlé Par Les Mongols Du Kansu Occidental. Iére Partie: Phonétique. (suite)". Anthropos 25 (3/4). Anthropos Institute: 657-69.
  • Mostaert, A., and A. de Smedt. 1929. "Le Dialecte Monguor Parlé Par Les Mongols Du Kansu Occidental. Iére Partie: Phonétique. (suite)". Anthropos 24 (5/6). Anthropos Institute: 801-15.
  • A. Mostaert et A. de Smedt : Le dialecte monguor parlé par les Mongols du Kansu occidental, 1ère à 3ème parties [compte rendu]

E. Gaspardone Bulletin de l'École française d'Extrême-Orient Année 1933 Volume 33 Numéro 1 p. 1014

External links

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