Dēd Mongol, Tu
Native toChina
RegionQinghai, Gansu
Native speakers
150,000 (2000 census)[1]
  • Southern Mongolic
    • Shirongolic [fr]
      • Monguor
  • Mongghul
  • Mangghuer
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3mjg

The Monguor language (Chinese: 土族语; pinyin: Tǔzúyǔ; also written Mongour and Mongor) is a Mongolic language of its Shirongolic branch and is part of the Gansu–Qinghai sprachbund (also called the Amdo sprachbund). There are several dialects, mostly spoken by the Monguor people. A writing system was devised for Huzhu Monguor (Mongghul) in the late 20th century but has been little used.

A division into two languages, namely Mongghul in Huzhu Tu Autonomous County and Mangghuer in Minhe Hui and Tu Autonomous County, is considered necessary by some linguists. While Mongghul was under strong influence from Amdo Tibetan, the same holds for Mangghuer and Sinitic languages, and local varieties of Chinese such as the Gangou language were in turn influenced by Monguor.



Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a
Phoneme/Sound Allophones Notes
/i/ [i] [ɪ] in stressed syllables
[ɨ] when following alveolar sibilants or affricates
[ɨ˞] when following a retroflex consonant
/e/ [e] [ə] in stressed syllables without onset clusters or coda consonants
[ɛ] in a syllable with a palatal onset or palatal coda
[ə̝] in a syllable with a nasal coda consonant
/a/ [ä] [ɑ] in a syllable closed by a velar nasal coda /ŋ/
[ɐ] before a syllable-final /j/
[æ] when a syllable is closed by an alveolar nasal /n/
[ɛ] when following a palatal onset consonant, and preceding an alveolar nasal /n/
/o/ [o] [ɵ] may be closer in different environments
/u/ [u] [ʊ] when in unstressed syllables
[ʉ] when following palatal consonants


Labial Alveolar Alveolo-
Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular
Plosive voiceless p t k q
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡ɕ t͡ʂ
aspirated t͡sʰ t͡ɕʰ t͡ʂʰ
Fricative f s ɕ ʂ χ
Nasal m n ŋ
Approximant liquid l ɻ
central j w


Mongolian numerals such as the following[4] are only in use in the Mongghul dialect, while Mangghuer speakers have switched to counting in Chinese.[4] Note that while the Mongolian script has only arban for 'ten', Middle Mongolian *harpa/n including *h can be reconstructed from the scripts.[5]

Numeral Classical Mongolian Monguor
1 nigen nige
2 qoyar ghoori
3 ghurban ghuran
4 dörben deeran
5 tabun tawun
6 jirghughan jirighun
7 dologhan duluun
8 naiman niiman
9 yisün shdzin
10 arban haran


  1. ^ Monguor at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Glottopedia article on Monguor language.
  3. ^ Slater, Keith W. (2003). A Grammar of Mangghuer: A Mongolic Language of China's Qinghai-Gansu Sprachbund. Routledge.
  4. ^ a b Dpal-ldan-bkra-shis, Slater et al. 1996: 4
  5. ^ Svantesson et al. 2005: 130