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Language Classes in CEUS :: Undergraduate Programs

Mongolian at Indiana University

Welcome to the Indiana University’s Mongolian Language Program!

A child on a horse

Mongolia is a vast land of wild nature, hospitable nomads, and unique culture located in the heart of Asia. Bordering on Russia in the north and China in the south, Mongolia is the homeland of the legendary Genghis Khan (Chinggis Khan in Mongolian) who established the biggest land empire in human history. It is one of the last countries of nomads on earth! Learning Mongolian is the gateway for discovering the unique nomadic culture and the great history of Chinggis Khan and his descendents.

Janraisag Today Mongolia has become a captivating tourist destination and a site of competition for the world’s mining industries. Mongolia as an emerging democracy is becoming a center of international attention and an entrepreneurial magnet. Learning Mongolian can even help you build a career. The Peace Corps, the US State Department, mining companies, and non-profits are only a few of the American organizations working in Mongolia. Learning the language and culture will enhance your chances to seize these opportunities. Learn more about Mongolia here

Mongolian is spoken by approximately 7 million people, not just in Mongolia, but also in Inner Mongolia in China and areas of Russia as well. The official language of Mongolia is Khalkha Mongolian, which uses the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet, and it is spoken by 90% of the Mongolian population.

From the time of the Mongol empire to the 1940s, Mongolia used its traditional “vertical” script, introduced by Chinggis Khan. In 1945, this old Mongolian script was replaced by the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet under the pressure from the Soviet Union―this is the script still used in independent Mongolia and in our language classes today. The traditional script may be more beautiful, but with almost no difference between spelling and pronunciation the Khalkha Mongolian with Cyrillic alphabet is much easier to learn! But the traditional Mongol Script remains the standard script in Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China, and is still taught in Mongolia’s schools and colleges, and also in upper-level classes at Indiana University.

Mongolian Language

Монгол хэл

In the Cyrillic Script―this is what students start with!

Mongolian Text

In the traditional script―this is what advanced students can go on to!

The Mongolian vocabulary is rich in early Turkic, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese elements that reflect the country’s nomadic, Buddhist, and Asian heritage. Mongolian continues to adopt words from Russian and English, but very much retains its own distinctive character.

Indiana University is the only university in American continent which offers a Mongolian program and formal Mongolian instruction for three levels—Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced Mongolian—as a part of a university degree during the academic year. Introductory Mongolian is also available during summer.

Small classes, individual attention, friendly and fun atmosphere, well-designed textbooks, a fully developed curriculum, scholarship opportunities for future studies and study abroad, and fun extracurricular activities (conversation hours, movies etc.) are some of the highlights of our Mongolian language teaching. We are dedicated to enabling all our language learners to achieve their learning goals to the best of their ability.

Sign up now for Fall or inquire further information at Central Eurasian Studies, Goodbody 157, 855-2233 or