Most Mongolic languages are, as one would expect, spoken in or around Mongolia. But there’s one Mongolic language—Kalmyk—way over in western Russia, north of the Caucasus region, spoken in the Russian Republic of Kalmykia. Ethnic Kalmyks trace their lineage back to the Oirats of Eurasia, with their ancestors migrating west to this area of modern-day Russia from their homeland in Dzungaria, modern-day Xinjiang in China.
In the mid-1900s, Russian authorities deported ethnic Kalmyks en masse to Central Asia, Siberia, and the Russian Far East. When they were allowed back to Kalmykia after 14 years, the government imposed a Sovietization policy on them, which resulted in a dramatic decrease in Kalmyk speakers and vitality. In more recent times, efforts to revitalize the Kalmyk language have been underway, given its cultural importance to the Kalmyk people and identity. But the language remains endangered, and most translation agencies won’t work with minority languages that offer little profit. At TranslationServices.com, we set ourselves apart by dedicating ourselves to minority and endangered languages like Kalmyk, presenting our Kalmyk translation team with pride.
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Kalmyk: a Mongolic language in western Russia
Kalmyk is estimated to have around 80,000 speakers today, most of whom live in Kalmykia, where the language has official status alongside Russian. There are also small communities of speakers in the United States and France, but altogether, Kalmyk is categorized as a “definitely endangered” language, which means revitalization efforts should focus on getting more Kalmyk children to learn the language. The first script used to write Kalmyk was the Old Uyghur script, replaced in the 1600s by the vertical Clear Script based on the Mongolian script. A Latin-based orthography was briefly used in the USSR, but Kalmyks now write their language in the Cyrillic alphabet.
As part of the Mongolic language family, Kalmyk is an agglutinative language largely dependent on suffixes to convey grammatical meaning. It uses the most common word order among the world’s languages: subject-object-verb. With nine nominal cases, ten verbal moods, and eight tense or aspect forms, Kalmyk isn’t a simple language. Kalmyk also has a complex evidentiality system, which indicates where the speaker has obtained the information they are conveying, with seven distinct evidentiality forms.
Translating all the nuances of Kalmyk can be difficult, since the language is so different from English. However, our Kalmyk translators are native speakers who are happy to take on the challenge.
Kalmyk translation services for anyone
We’ve built our Kalmyk translation team with the goal of providing quality Kalmyk translation services to anyone who needs them. We know our clients have a diverse range of needs, so we’ve ensured that our translators can handle translation into Kalmyk as well as out of it. This means we can translate historical documents (regardless of the script) and literature in Kalmyk into English, which is a great way to share Kalmyk culture and history abroad. It also means we can translate educational materials and interesting content like books, games, websites, and more into Kalmyk, which is ideal for helping children and adults alike learn the language and enjoy using it.
If you want Kalmyk translation services, don’t wait to reach out and tell us about your needs.