A language of Russian Federation

Alternate Names
European Oirat, Kalmack, Kalmuck, Kalmuk, Kalmytskii Jazyk, Khalli, Oirat, Qalmaq, Volga Oirat, Western Mongolian

80,500 in Russian Federation (2010 census). Population total all countries: 360,800. Ethnic population: 183,000 (2010 census).


Kalmykiya Republic, Astrakhanskaya Oblast’, and Stavropol’skiy Kray; Volga-Don steppes northwest of the Caspian, north of the Caucasus; Dörböt dialect: mostly west Kalmykia; Torgut dialect: mostly east, lower Volga region,Province.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened).


Buzawa, Dörböt (Derbet, Dörbet, Dörböd), Oirat (Oyrat), Sart Qalmaq, Torgut (Torghoud, Torghud, Torguud, Torguut). Diverged from other Mongolian languages. Called Kalmyk in the Russian Federation; Oirat in China and Mongolia; in the United States, Kalmyk not heavily influenced by Russian [rus]. Different from other varieties in China called Oirat [xal], which are sometimes called Asiatic Oirat. In Mongolia, some scholars consider Oirat to be a dialect of Halh Mongolian [khk].

Language Use

91% speak it as L1. A few children learn the language. Tibetan [bod] is religious language. Also use Russian [rus].

Language Development
Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1827–2009.

Cyrillic script [Cyrl], adopted in 1924, used in Russia and Mongolia. Mongolian script [Mong], Todo style, used in China.

Other Comments

The modern literary language is mainly based on the Torgut dialect, though it incorporates a large number of concessions to Dörböt. Buddhist (Lamaist).

Also spoken in:

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