At the beginning of September, Eric and I resumed language classes after a six year absence from official language study (we stopped taking classes when Z was born). A lot of our classes have been review with fine tuning of grammatical structures, etc. (And a lot of it is new because let’s face it, we are not fluent. At. All.) Earlier this week, I was talking with my teacher in class and realized that some Mongolian vocab might be interesting to our readers. Without further ado, I present the days of the week!
The common way of saying the days of the week is as follows:
- Нэг дэх өдөр*/Neg dekh ödör** (Monday)
- Хоёр дахь өдөр/Khoyor dakhi ödör (Tuesday)
- Гурав дахь өдөр/Gurav dakhi ödör (Wednesday)
- Дөрөв дэх өдөр/Döröv dekh ödör (Thursday)
- Тав дахь өдөр/Tav dakhi ödör (Friday)
- Хагас сайн өдөр/Khagas sain ödör (Saturday)
- Бүтэн сайн өдөр/Büten sain ödör (Sunday)
Monday through Friday, the literal translation of the Mongolian is first day (Monday), second day (Tuesday), third day (Wednesday), etc. Saturday is translated as “half good day” and Sunday is “all good day” because during socialism, Mongolians worked half days on Saturdays while they had all of Sunday free. Neat, huh?
There is another way of referring to the days of the week in Mongolia, but it is typically reserved for formal writing rather than used in spoken language. You might see it used when businesses post their hours, for example. Anyway, this formality comes from Tibetan (as Mongolia historically has strong ties to Tibet). Monday through Sunday are as follows:
- Даваа гараг*/Davaa garag**
- Мягмар гараг/Myagmar garag
- Лхагва гараг/Lkhagva garag
- Пүрэв гараг/Pürev garag
- Баасан гараг/Baasan garag
- Бямба гараг/Byamba garag
- Ням гараг/Nyam garag.
Although people don’t really use these words for talking about the days of the week, I do see them combined with other names (or solo) to create first names. Ex: Lkhagvadorj, Purevdagva, Byambaa… I had a theory this naming practice came from what day of the week a person was born, and my language teacher confirmed it. So someone born on a Monday might end up with the name Davaasuren, for example.
I double-checked the Wikipedia article for spelling in this post, and apparently there are also Sanskrit days of the week that are used in Mongolian, but I’ve only ever heard those used as names for people and not in reference to the days of the week. However, there seems to be a similar day naming situation going on. Bonus fact: the Sanskrit days of the week relate to several planets as well as the Sun and the Moon. So there you have it! Just as the English names for the days of the week reflect the history of the English language, so do the Mongolian names for the days of the week reflect Mongolia’s rich history. Language and culture fascinates me!