Your Mongolian Language Cheat Sheet

Greetings, questions, and important Mongolian words to know for your big Mongolia adventure.

Mongolian language is… not easy. It’s not a language you can look at (or hear) and deduce with some degree of certainty what it means. In other words, good luck!

Just kidding. (Kind of.)

Mongolian language is full of phonetics that most Americans and foreigners aren’t used to hearing, let alone saying.

And while Mongolian language is mostly written in Cyrillic, there is a traditional (and beautiful) Mongol Script that sometimes adds another confusing element to the equation. Fortunately with globalization, Mongolian language is now often written using the Latin alphabet, making the language more accessible (and understandable) to a degree.

Since you may never master the Mongolian language, simply use the cheat sheet below for getting around – even the humblest attempt to speak the language will be recognized and deeply appreciated by locals during your travels.

Quick Mongolian Phrase Guide for Travelers

Greetings and Introductions

Hello, how are you? Sain baina uu! Sain suuj baina uu?

Good. Are you good? Sain, ta sain baina uu?

What’s up? (Slang between friends.) Yu baina daa?

I’m good. Bi zugeer.

I’m not good. Bi taaruu baina.

I’m hot. Bi haluuzaad baina.

I’m cold. Bi daarj baina.

I’m tired. Bi yadrad baina.

What is your name? Tanii ner hen be?

Nice to meet you. Tanilzhad taatai baina.

How old are you? Ta heden nastai be?

Where do you live? Ta haana amidardag ve?

I am American. Bi Amerik hun.

When approaching a ger in the countryside…

Is anyone home? Hun baina uu?

(After they answer, yell this.) Hold the dog! Nohoigoo bariarai!


How much is this? Ene hed ve?

Where is… ? Haana baidag ve… ?

Please tell me directions… Zaagaad uguuch…

Where’s the bathroom? Noil haana ve?

Can you help me? Nadad tuslaach?

Which way… ? Ali tiishee we… ?

Can I sleep/stay here? Bi end honoj boloh uu?

Can you slow down? (When driving.) Jaahan udaan yawaarai.

What time is it? Zag hed bolj baina?

Do you understand? Ta namaig oilgoj baina uu?

Yes, I understand. Tiimee, bi oilgoj baina.

Key Phrases

Please Guij baina

Thank you Bayarlaa

You’re welcome. Zugeeree.

Excuse me. Uuchlarai.

I’m sorry. Namaig uuchlarai.

I am very hungry. Mash ih ulsuj baina.

Have a nice meal! (Let’s eat!) Saihan hoollooroi!

That was very delicious. Uneher amttai bailaa.

I’m full. Bi zadsan.

I’m done. Bi bolson.

Cheers Toloo

Key Phrases (continued…)

I’m going to State Department store. Bi ih delgur yawj baina Ih delgur.

(State Department store Ih delgur)

Help! Tuslarai!

Let’s go. Yawzgaay.

Good morning. Ugloonii mend.

How was your sleep? Saihan amarsnu?

Good night. Saihan amrarai.

See you tomorrow. Margash uulzay.

Yes/okay Za

No Ugui

Good Sain

Bad Muu

Mean Muuhai aashtai

Nice Saihan

Maybe Magadgui

Big Tom

Small Jijig

Very pretty. Uneheer huurhun.

You (If older than you.) Ta

You (If same age or younger.) Chi

Me Bi

Us Bid

Today Unoodor

Tomorrow Margash 

Horse Mori

Camel Temee

Car Mashin


Straight Chigere

Right Barun

Left Zuun

Over there. Tend baina.


One Neg

Two Hoyor

Three Guraw

Four Dorow

Five Taw

Ten Araw

100 Zuu

Facts About the Mongolian Language

The Mongolian language is a language spoken by about 5.65 million native speakers across Mongolia and China.

The language belongs to the Altaic family of languages, which includes Turkic, Tungusic and Korean languages.

Mongolian has many dialects depending on region and ethnicity, but the two main branches are Khalkha Mongolian, which is spoken in Mongolia proper, and Oirat, which is spoken in Inner Mongolia.

Learn Mongolian Language

Learning to speak the Mongolian language is no easy task. It has its own unique writing system and grammar that can be difficult to master, even for native speakers of other Altaic languages.

However, if you are planning a trip to Mongolia it is important to learn a few key Mongolian phrases as many Mongolians in the country do not speak English. Knowing some Mongolian will help you communicate with locals and make your travels much more enjoyable.

Author: Breanna Wilson

Hi! Sain uu! I’m Breanna, an American travel writer and adventurer living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for more than 5 years. I’ve written for and been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, CNN, Forbes, and the New York Times, among others. Read more of my Mongolia travel articles here.

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