Dating in the mongoloid tent
The phonologies of other varieties such as Ordos, Khorchin, and even Chakhar, differ considerably.This section discusses the phonology of Khalkha Mongolian with subsections on Vowels, Consonants, Phonotactics and Stress.Though phonological and lexical studies are comparatively well developed, The status of certain varieties in the Mongolic group—whether they are languages distinct from Mongolian or just dialects of it—is disputed.There are at least three such varieties: Oirat (including the Kalmyk variety) and Buryat, both of which are spoken in Russia, Mongolia, and China; and Ordos, spoken around Inner Mongolia's Ordos City. For example, the influential classification of Sanžeev (1953) proposed a "Mongolian language" consisting of just the three dialects Khalkha, Chakhar, and Ordos, with Buryat and Oirat judged to be independent languages.These languages have been grouped under the now discredited Altaic language family and contrasted with the Mainland Southeast Asia linguistic area.Mongolian literature is well attested in written form from the 13th century but has earlier Mongolic precursors in the literature of the Khitan and other Xianbei peoples.In the discussion of grammar to follow, the variety of Mongolian treated is Standard Khalkha Mongolian (i.e., the standard written language as formalized in the writing conventions and in the school grammar), but much of what is to be said is also valid for vernacular (spoken) Khalkha and for other Mongolian dialects, especially Chakhar.
The following description is based primarily on the Khalkha dialect as spoken in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital.
The standard language has seven monophthong vowel phonemes.
They are aligned into three vowel harmony groups by a parameter called ATR (advanced tongue root); the groups are −ATR, ATR, and neutral.
Although an unknown number of Mongols in China, such as the Tumets, may have completely or partially lost the ability to speak their language, they are still registered as ethnic Mongols and continue to identify themselves as ethnic Mongols. The delimitation of the Mongolian language within Mongolic is a much disputed theoretical problem, one whose resolution is impeded by the fact that existing data for the major varieties is not easily arrangeable according to a common set of linguistic criteria.
Such data might account for the historical development of the Mongolian dialect continuum, as well as for its sociolinguistic qualities.