Why Study Mongolian

Cultural Reasons. If western Civ is getting tedious, then Mongolia is quite the relief. Even the physicist Richard Feynman helped popularize throat singing in the west. Listen to the Mongolian zither, performed by local DC artist Jamiyan. Make yourself some Mongolian rice tea or milk beer. There are a surprising number of Mongolian events going on in the US and world wide. And if you are into extreme tourism, you can’t get further away from DC than Mongolia (last I checked it costs $2500 to fly to Ulaan Batar- but once you’re there there are some bargains to be found.)  *Still, don’t get too excite about finding the exotic in Mongolia, if youtube videos of Mongolian pop is any sign, it Mongolia is westernizing at a rapid rate*

Linguistic Reasons. Indo-European is so passe, it’s been done like a dozen time. In fact, most language books you find on the shelves are just more Indo-European. If you want to stretch your mind, you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone and try out something completely different, like an Altaic language. Mongolian is agglutinating, can be written in about 5+ different scripts depending on the period of history, the best looking is the one based on Uigher and is a tattoo quality font. It is spoken by several million people, so unlike some exotic languages, you could imaginably run into someone that speaks it.

Random Reasons. The Star Wars language “Ewok” was in part based on Mongolian.

And if you are in Washington, DC or there abouts, I’ve set up a Mongolian language group. If my experience with Icelandic is any indicator, it will take 6 months to get a critical mass of learners.

There is a Mongolian School in Arlington, but it appears to be aimed at Mongolian children.

“Mongolian School” opened in Arlington, VA on January 06. The school, which is open between 09.00 AM to 13.00 PM on Saturdays, offers lessons on Mongolian language, culture and history. Kids of age between 6 – 15 are happy to learn their motherland and discover many new things, said Mrs.Munkhtsetseg , Director of the school.

There is also an WaPo article about the Mongolian School.

And I’ve check Friends of Mongolia, the Mongolian Embassy, and so far nothing language related a la Alliance Française or Goethe-Institut.