Still more Mongolic

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Moghol (or Mogholi; Dari: مُغُلی) is a critically endangered or possibly extinct Mongolic language spoken in the province of Herat, Afghanistan, in the villages of Kundur and Karez-i-Mulla. The speakers were the Moghol people, who numbered 2,000 members in the 1970s. They descend from the remnants of Genghis Khan's Mongol army stationed in Afghanistan in the 13th century.

In the 1970s, when the German scholar Michael Weiers did fieldwork on the language, few people spoke it, most knew it passively and most were older than 40. It is unknown if there are still speakers of the language.

The language has been strongly influenced by Persian in its phonology, morphology and syntax, causing Weiers to state that it has the appearance of a "true Inner Asian creole language".


Moghol's grammar, phonology, and script have all been heavily influenced by Persian, but at least its numerals can be traced back to Proto-Mongolic (Janhunen (2003):

English gloss Moghol Proto-Mongolic Modern Mongolian
1 one nikah ~ nika/n *nike/n neg
2 two qeyår ~ qiar *koxar ~ *koyar khoyor
3 three ghorbån ~ qurban *gurba/n gurav
4 four dorbån ~ durba/n *dörbe/n döröv
5 five tåbun ~ tabun *tabu/n tav
6 six åsun ~ essun ~ jurghan ~ shish *jirguxa/n zurgaa
7 seven dålån ~ húft *doluxa/n doloo
8 eight sålån ~ húshtu *na(y)ima/n naym
9 nine tåsån ~ no *yersü/n yös
10 ten arbån ~ arban ~ dá *xarba/n


Selected readings

[Thanks to Geoff Wade]

1 Comment

  1. Peter B. Golden said,

    April 7, 2024 @ 2:01 pm

    Articles by Lajos Ligeti are still useful: "О монгольских и тюркских языках и диалектах Афганистана" Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, IV/1-2 (1955): 93-117 and "Le lexique moghol de R. Leech" in that same volume of AOH: 119-158.
    The Hazārā, among whom an East Asian/Mongolian phenotype prevails, are considered by some to be descendants of Mongols who settled in Afghanistan, but adopted Dari (a variant of Persian). Hazārā origins remain a matter of dispute as Turkic and local Afghan-Iranian elements were absorbed by them. Their Shi'ite religious beliefs distinguish them from the majority of the Afghans (Tajik, Pashtun, Uzbek et al.) and have led to their persecution under a variety of regimes.

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