A language of Russian Federation

Alternate Names
European Oirat, Kalmack, Kalmuck, Kalmuk, Kalmytskii Jazyk, Khalli, Oirat, Qalmaq, Volga Oirat, Western Mongolian
хальмг келн‎ (Xaľmg keln)

80,500 in Russian Federation (2010 census). Ethnic population: 183,000 (2010 census). Total users in all countries: 431,800.


Kalmykia republic; Astrakhan province; and Stavropol krai; Volga-Don steppes northwest of the Caspian, north of the Caucasus. West Kalmykia republic (Dörböt dialect); east, lower Volga region, Astrakhan province (Torgut dialect).

Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in Republic of Kalmykia (1999, Law on the Languages of the Republic of Kalmykia, Article 3), Co-official with Russian.


Buzawa, Oirat (Oyrat), Torgut (Torghoud, Torghud, Torguud, Torguut), Dörböt (Derbet, Dörbet, Dörböd). 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. Also use Russian [rus]. Also use Central Tibetan [bod], in religious domains.

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.

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