Mongolian names differ markedly from the Anglo-Saxon model.
Read on, and avoid calling your guide by her father's name!
Mongolians have no surname. Instead, Mongolian children put their father's first name before their own. So instead of 'John Smith' your name would be 'Paul John'.
You can see how confusion can arise!
In the last Olympics, commentators often called Mongolian gold medal winners by their father's first name...
'Badar' not 'Enkhbat' wins an Olympic boxing gold for Mongolia
Imagine a commentator calling David Beckham: "Ted"!
If your guide gives you two names, it's the last name you should use!
Knowing how to pronounce the names of Mongolians you meet will help you make friends and get people's attention.
When saying any Mongolian word, pronounce the vowels harshly. The vowels sound more like English lower-case than capital letter equivalents. For example, the drink 'cola'is pronounced as 'collar'.
Pronounce names any other way and no one will understand.
If your guide has a long, unpronounceable name, ask them for the short version.
As a general rule, take the first syllable of the name and add the vowel to the end twice. For Example, Munkherdene shortens to Munuu.
Use the comments box below to get help on pronouncing a particular Mongolian name.
Although English names have a meaning, few know them. The names originate in ancient or foreign languages. Mongolian names, on the other hand, use nouns in common use. Mongolians call one other Flower, Rainbow and Moonlight as a matter of course.
Mongolian parents have different methods for choosing baby names. Many Mongolian urbanites visit a Buddhist monastery and ask a lama. A more traditional method amongst Mongolian nomads names a child after the first object seen following birth. Others write different names on slips of paper and shake a bowl of rice until a name emerges.
But if your guide calls herself "Savage Dog," don't worry!
Parents often give sickly children names which seem cruel in the belief that malignant spirits will be misled.
In fact, one family I know has three children called 'Nobody'(Khunbish); 'Not This One'(Enebish); and 'Not that one'(Terbish).
Such names do not embarrass Mongolians!
Many Web pages contain lists of Mongolian male and female names.
Many lists come from Inner Mongolia and include Chinese names. In Mongolia itself, hardly any Chinese names have entered the language.
Other lists apply Romanization inconsistently. I have seen the Mongolian letter "X" represented as 'K', 'Kh', 'H', 'Q'and 'X'.
I compiled the following list from friends and family using standard Romanization...
Everyone knows the name Genghis Khan. But few know that his real name was Temuujin of the Borjigin clan.
'Genghis Khan' was a title.
Mongolians have borrowed names from other cultures such as Tibet and Russia.
The most bizarre name comes from Soviet times. Melscho combines the initials of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Choibalsan (a former Mongolian president).
As Mongolia enters the modern world, many Mongolian Children are taking names with phonetic equivalents in English. Two such names are: 'Tod', which means 'clear'; and 'Mishell', which means 'smile'.
But one Western name you may want to avoid using is 'Alan'.
In Mongolian 'alan' means "I will kill you!"
Have an intriguing Mongolian name to share, use the comments box below!
If you don't know the meaning, we will translate it for you!