Mongolia

Understand

With only 1.7 people per square kilometre, Mongolia has the lowest population density of any independent country, and it is this vast and majestic emptiness that is the country’s enduring appeal, bringing the traveler, as it does, into a close communion with nature and its nomadic inhabitants. Mongolia is entirely landlocked, between China and Russia. The country is nicknamed the “Land of Blue Skies,” and with good reason. There is said to be about 250 sunny days throughout each year.

Talk

With the exception of the westernmost province where Kazakh is spoken, everybody in the country speaks Mongolian. The language is extremely difficult for Westerners to learn and speak, even after multiple months of being immersed in the culture. Westerners typically take a minimum of 9-18 months of full-time Mongolian language study to be conversant. Most locals will appreciate attempts to speak phrases in Mongolian, although the traveller will inevitably pronounce them wrong (be careful when ordering water in a restaurant – the word for water [pronounced “oos”] is indistinguishable for that of “hair” to the English ear! Makes for a good laugh over and over …). Picking up a phrasebook and practising a few phrases will help. The numbering system is regular, and fairly easy to learn.

If you can speak Russian you are at an advantage. It has been widely taught for most of its history and you shouldn’t have much trouble getting by, especially in the capital. English is not widely spoken, although it’s been getting more popular lately.

(source: Wikitravel)

 

 

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