Mongolian Language Grammar
Chapter 002 - Noun Structure
In order to spread a little bit more about Mongolia, I have decided to share my language learning notes with you. Those notes might bring you another point of view and I hope, help you understand the Mongolian language a little bit better!
I'm able to share this information thanks to the support, patience and help of my dear teachers:
- Батхүүгийн Амгалан (Amgalan Batkhuu) who is a professional Монгол бичиг (Mongol bichig) teacher at the Choi. Lubsangjab University of Language and Civilization,
- Халзангийн Одончимэг (Odonchimeg Khalzan) who works as a professional Mongolian teacher for foreigners at Prime Bridge Анхны Гүүр and also,
- Лувсанжавын Соёмбо (Soyombo Lubsangjab), the director of the Choi. Lubsangjab University of Language and Civilization, who supports me from day one, and who suggest to host my cultural center.
Please note that I'm not a Mongolian native speaker so my language isn't perfect. Hence if some of you find mistakes or misspelling please feel free to contact me and I'll correct accordingly. Also the explanations provided here use simple comparisons in order to make the understanding of the Mongolian language as easy as possible.
They can sometimes be outside of the academic explanation or description, so if you need a further academic or linguistic point of view, please refer to your teacher, to a specialized book, or by eventually contacting me.
Of course, feel free to share and spread the Mongolian culture! Happy learning! I hope all of this will be helpful!
NB: Version Française ici.
Topic of this sharing:
- Principle of agglutination
- Noun structure
- List of suffixes for nouns
Principle of agglutination
The Mongolian language is part of the family of languages which use the Agglutination principle.
Here is what it is about:
Agglutination is a linguistic process in which complex words are formed by stringing together, or agglutinating morphemes without changing them in spelling or phonetics. Languages that use agglutination widely are called agglutinative languages.
In Mongolian for example, the word гэрээсээ, or "from your/my house", consists of the morphemes гэр-ээс-ээ with the meanings house-from-your/my.
A comparative example with English language could be the agglutinated plural marker -(e)s or derived words such as shame·less·ness.
My goal here is to give you a list of all the suffixes that can be added to a noun as well as their order.
The idea is to give you a road-map of all those elements in order to identify each one of them and take it as a treasure hunt game. Then discover the meaning of the words by understanding each part it is composed of.
Once we will have the list of all the suffixes for nouns, as well as for verbs, we will start seeing the explanation of each of them in detail! I believe that with this method it can be fun and also easier and clearer to get through the Mongolian language.
A noun can be composed of up to 4 different elements:
ROOT - NUMBER suffixes (7) - CASE suffixes (9) - POSSESSIVE pronouns and suffix (2)
- The ROOT is what is left of a word once all suffixes has been taken off. It holds the most basic meaning of any word.
For example, the root at the heart of "conformity", is "form.
- The NUMBER suffixes express the number (only one - singular; or more than one - plural) of a particular noun.
- The CASE suffixes are the grammatical function of a noun or pronoun within a phrase, clause, or sentence.
The word "case" is derived from the Latin word "casus" which means "to fall". It is used to describe words that have fallen away from their nominative, or root form.
To use English as an example, it’s essentially the difference between I and me, he and him, she and her. "I fell in love with him" or "He fell in love with me." It helps indicate who or what is doing the action and who or what it’s being done to.
- The POSSESSIVE pronouns or suffix express the possession of the noun it is attached to.
In Mongolian: Багш нартайгаа
nb: the "г" is simply used here to connect the two suffix together to avoid having 4 vowels in a row.
In English: With my teachers
List of suffixes for nouns
4. -чууд, -чүүд; -чуул, -чүүл
5. -уул, -үүл
6. -ууд, -үүд
1. Нэрлэхийн тийн ялгал
2. Харьяалахын тийн ялгал
-ы, -ий, -н, -ын, -ийн, -ны, -ний, -гийн
3. Өгөх оршихын тийн ялгал
4. Заахын тийн ялгал
-ыг, -ийг, -г
5. Гарахын тийн ялгал
-аас, -ээс, -оос, -өөс
6. Үйлдэхийн тийн ялгал
-аар, -ээр, -оор, -өөр
7. Хамтрахын тийн ялгал
-тай, -тэй, -той
8. Чиглэхийн тийн ялгал
-руу, -рүү; -луу, -лүү;
-аад, -ээд, -оод, -өөд
9. Жишихийн тийн ялгал
шиг, мэт, адил
1. Биед хамаатуулах
I: минь, маань
II: чинь, тань
2. Эзэнд хамаатуулах
-аа, -ээ, -оо, -өө
I decided to put the Mongolian terms in the list to be easier for you to find specific information. Below you will find a quick translation of those titles and examples for the different suffixes.
Know that we will see each one thoroughly in specific chapters. This, here, is just to give you a first taste of what is to come!
Ганц тоо - Singular
Олон тоо - Plural
1. Нэрлэхийн тийн ялгал - To name - Nominative case: This case indicates the subject.
Example: Уул - A mountain
2. Харьяалахын тийн ялгал - To be connected or affiliated - Genitive case: This case illustrates possession. It also corresponds with the preposition "of".
Example: Уулын - Of a mountain
3. Өгөх оршихын тийн ялгал - To give, to exist - Dative Locative case: This case indicates the indirect object of a verb, or a location.
Example: Ууланд - To a mountain
4. Заахын тийн ялгал - To show, to teach - Accusative case: This case indicates the direct object of a verb.
Example: Уулыг - The mountain
5. Гарахын тийн ялгал - To get out - Ablative case: This case indicates movement from something. It can also indicate a cause.
Example: Уулаас - From a/the mountain
6. Үйлдэхийн тийн ялгал - To perpetrate - Instrumental case: This case indicates an object being used as part of an action.
Example: Уулаар - By a/the mountain
7. Хамтрахын тийн ялгал - To join - Comitative case: This case expresses the person or thing that accompanies the subject of the sentence.
Example: Уултай - With a mountain
8. Чиглэхийн тийн ялгал - To move toward - Lative case: This case indicates the direction or destination.
Example: Уулруу - To/In direction of a/the mountain
9. Жишихийн тийн ялгал - To compare - Comparative case: This case shows a likeness to something.
Example: Уул шиг - Like a mountain
1. Биед хамаатуулах - Possessive pronouns as mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs
2. Эзэнд хамаатуулах - Possessive as of or 's.