Kalmyk

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Kalmyk

 

the language of the Kalmyks. It is related to the Mongolian language group. It has two dialects, Torgut and Derbet. Kalmyk is spoken in the Kalmyk ASSR, Stavropol’ Krai, and Astrakhan, Rostov, and Volgograd oblasts. There are approximately 126, 000 Kalmyk speakers in the USSR (1970 census). Kalmyk is also spoken by about 60, 000 persons in the People’s Republic of China (1953–54 census).

Kalmyk phonetics is characterized by long and short vowels; vowel harmony is preserved. Kalmyk nouns are inflected for number and for ten cases. There is no category of gender. Adjectives do not agree with nouns. Verbs have categories of aspect, voice, mood, tense, person, and number. The earliest lexical borrowings into Kalmyk were Greek, Arabic, and Sanskrit, which found their way into the language through Sogdian, Uighur, and Tibetan. Modern borrowings come primarily from and through Russian. The Kalmyks used the Mongolian vertical script until the middle of the 17th century (1648), when it was replaced by the Zaya-Pandita writing system. The Russian alphabet was introduced in 1924. The writing system was based on the Roman alphabet from 1931 to 1938, when the Russian-based orthography was reintroduced.

REFERENCES

Sanzheev, G. D. Grammatika kalmytskogo iazyka. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Badmaev, B. B. Grammatika kalmytskogo iazyka: Morfologiia. Elista, 1966.
Ochirov, U. U. Grammatika kalmytskogo iazyka: Sintaksis. Elista, 1964.
Russko-kalmytskii slovar\ Edited by I. Ilishkin. Moscow, 1964.
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