Reputable Members of Parliament have initiated a bill on the Mongolian language and submitted it to the Speaker of the Parliament. We interviewed one of the bill’s initiator, Member of Parliament N.Battsereg.
Linguists are appreciative of the initiation of this bill at a time when globalization has a strong influence on the world. There are many issues coming up surrounding the Mongolian language. Do you think that this law can manage all of them? Is not having a law on language the reason why the Mongolian language is being influenced by foreign languages?
Globalization is growing across a broad range. As the result of the limitless development of information technology and the establishment of cultural diffusion, our native language, traditions, and culture risks being blurred and diluted. The world’s nations pay significant attention to protecting their languages, cultures and traditions, but for Mongolia, we have overbalanced our state policy on language and culture in the last part of the 20th century. For instance, teaching Mongolian at all educational stages has weakened and streets and building addresses are written in foreign languages. Furthermore, some private schools don’t teach Mongolian. Besides that, even though we have the Board of the State Language, their role is to manage only terminology. So, we have submitted a bill on Mongolian language.
You said some schools don’t teach Mongolian. If the bill is passed, will there be new requirements which cover all schools?
Yes. There will be standards for all schools, despite their private or public status. Otherwise, children and youth will have poor Mongolian proficiency and it is possible they won’t understand the Mongolian lifestyle and national phrases. So, we need very good and comprehensive management on orthography.
Could you clarify what this management would be?
The National Board of Language Policy will be responsible for managing over 20 dictionaries and different kinds of grammar books that lead to confusion.
That means that instead of the Board of the State Language, there will be a National Board of Language Policy?
It will be established under the President and its role has already been reflected in the bill.
How many members will be on the National Board of Language Policy?
There will be nine people from different fields such as: Mongolian language and literature, press, media, science, and education. The president will appoint the members once every six years.
We are using foreign words such as “Facebook” and “Twitter” due to development. Will the new board manage this?
The board will release grammar texts, dictionaries and translations of foreign terminology. Dictionaries from this board will only be used officially.
How do foreign countries protect their native languages?
When I study other countries experiences, they all have language boards. Some countries have boards that have been active for 200-300 years. Also, France is still improving their language law which was passed in the mid-1700s. They passed it to protect their language during the time of England’s colonization. Now it is really strong.
About Mongolia, honestly we are an independent country, we are not a federation. We have saved our culture, language and history for a long time. Our current goal must be to pass down, protect, and improve them for our future generations. In any country, the language, culture and land are inseparable things.
These three things are the keys to a nation’s existence.
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