Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Europe > Russian Federation (Europe) > Kalmyk-Oirat


A language of Russian Federation (Europe)

ISO 639-3xal

Population  154,000 in Russian Federation (2002). Population total all countries: 499,000. Ethnic population: 173,996.
Region  Republic of Kalmykia, on Volga-Don steppes northwest of the Caspian, north of the Caucasus; lower Volga region, Astrakhan Province. Also in China, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Taiwan, United States.
Language map  European Russia, reference number 19
Alternate names   European Oirat, Kalmack, Kalmuck, Kalmuk, Kalmytskii Jazyk, Khalli, Oirat, Qalmaq, Volga Oirat, Western Mongolian
Dialects  Buzawa, Oirat, Torgut (Torguut, Torguud, Torghud, Torghoud), Dörböt (Dörböd, Derbet), Sart Qalmaq. Diverged from other Mongolian languages. Called ‘Kalmyk’ in the Russian Federation; ‘Oirat’ in China and Mongolia; in USA Kalmyk not heavily influenced by Russian. Different from other varieties in China called Oirat [xal], which are sometimes called ‘Asiatic Oirat’.
Classification  Altaic, Mongolic, Eastern, Oirat-Khalkha, Oirat-Kalmyk-Darkhat
Language use  91% speak it as L1. Also use Russian. Tibetan [bod] is religious language.
Language development  NT: 1827–2002.
Writing system  Cyrillic script, adopted in 1924, used in Russia and Mongolia. Mongolian script, Todo style, used in China.
Comments  Buddhist (Lamaist).

Also spoken in:


Language name   Kalmyk-Oirat
Population  139,000 in China (Wurm et al. 1987). 106,000 of Torgut (Tu’erhute) dialect and 33,000 of Kök Nur (Qinghai).
Region  Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; Bayan Gool Autonomous Prefecture, Bortala Autonomous Prefecture.
Language map  China
Alternate names  Oirat, Weilate, Western Mongol, Xinjiang Mongolian
Dialects  Torgut (Tu’erhute), Kök Nur (Qinghai), Jakhachin, Bayit, Mingat, Olot (Ööld, Elyut, Eleuth), Khoshut (Khoshuud), Dorbot.
Language use  Official regional language. Schooling in Chahar Mongolian [mvf]. High bilingualism in Chahar Mongolian.
Comments  Classified as Mongolian nationality.


Language name   Kalmyk-Oirat
Population  206,000 in Mongolia. 139,000 Oirat, 55,100 Dorbot, 11,400 Torgut.
Alternate names  Oirat, Western Mongol
Dialects  Jakhachin, Bayit, Mingat, Olot (Ööld, Elyut, Eleuth), Khoshut (Khoshuud), Uriankhai, Khoton (Hoton).
Comments  Khoton (Hoton) originally of Turkic origin (Kara 1990), and were Muslim. Different from Chinese-speaking Qotong (Hoton) [cmn].
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