By Terje Mathiassen
A descriptive grammar of Latvian
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In Mongolian (proper), also, the frequency of this vowel (eu) has been reduced by a tendency to replace it by the corresponding high vowel (u) in many individual lexical items. The situation varies from dialect to dialect, however. In many forms of modern Khorchin (proper) the merger has been fully completed, leading to the reduction of the vowel paradigm, as illustrated by examples like Khorchin uder vs. Khalkha euder ‘day’ (< *ödör). This may be a recent innovation, as it is not yet consistently present in older sources on Khorchin (as in Todaeva 1981–1985).
Poul [ph~l] ‘splash’ (onomatopoetic particle), dal [t"l] ‘seventy’ vs. tal [th"l] ‘steppe’, gang [k"ŋ] ‘steel’ (from Chinese gāng) vs. kang [kh"ŋ] ‘kang’ (heated sleeping ground, from Chinese kàng). The same opposition is also present in the palatal stops, which are normally realized as palatal affricates, as in jing [tɕiŋ] ‘freight’ vs. cing [tɕhiŋ] ‘Qing’ (dynasty). The pronunciation of the affricates varies dialectally, however. While the palatal pronunciation prevails in all dialects in the position before the high palatal vowel i, the realizations before other vowel qualities range from the alveopalatal [tʃ tʃh] to the retroflex [tʂ tʂh] (the latter especially in the Kharachin dialect).
Altai Uriangkhai, whose area of distribution extends to the Chinese (Sinkiang) side of the border, is basically a regular Tuvinian diaspora dialect introduced from Tuva in the 19th century, while Dukha and Uighur Uriangkhai represent a separate (eastern) branch of Sayan Turkic. Currently, all these forms of speech are disappearing under the assimilative pressure of the Khalkha type of Mongolian dialects. The largest, but least indigenous Turkic-speaking group in Mongolia is formed by the Kazakh, who at times have formed the main population in the westernmost part of the country (the Bayan-Ölgii Aimak), with colonies further east (in the Central Aimak, Chapter 1.