While learning Ukrainian, I noticed a lot of words were ones that I had learnt while studying Mongolian. However, they tended to be words that post-date the time of the Mongol empire, such as Машина versus машин, and Фото, and tend to be fairly convenient, un-exotic words that share a cognate in English (with a shared ancestor of Russian, not English, for these examples).

Did any words enter the ancestor of Ukrainian from the Mongolian language during the time of the Mongol empire? Ideally they should be general purpose words, as opposed to words that are specifically about Mongolian culture, Mongolian food, or animals native to Mongolia - words like "tsunami" rather than "sushi" to compare two Japanese loanwords into English.

I tried seeing if Wikipedia or Wiktionary had any info on this - I didn't spot anything in Mongol invasion of Rus', and the Wiktionary category Category:Terms derived from Mongolian gave slim pickings for Russian and none for Ukrainian, and there wasn't any sign that the Ukrainian or Russian editions of Wiktionary had a corresponding category page.


Actually at the Mongolian time there were no Ukrainian language - it was Old East Slavic, which later split into different languages including Ukrainian.

Also I'm not sure that it is correct to search for Mongolian borrowings, possibly it is more correct to search for Turcisms.

According to this article many turkisms were included in Ukrainian during 13-14 century (the Mongol empire times), including the following words:

козак, ватага, сарай, чардак, базар, харч, башлик, калита, бариш, бугай, карий.

As for машина, фото, etc. those words are borrowings in both languages and have English origin. Basically, prior to 1924 when pro-Soviet government came to power, Mongols lived in "middle ages", not knowing about electricity or any other power sources except for horses. So all technical terms are borrowed there.

As for other non-Mongol empire related words. I'm not sure you can hear them in Mongol language, but since they are turkisms, they have a chance to be there as well.

However many borrowings came later when cossaks had many contacts with Turkey and Crimean Khanate (and those borrowings came into Ukrainian language):

Скотарство: чабан, отара, табун, аркан, торба, кабан, лоша, буланий, чалий, гайда; степове життя: байрак, комиш, лиман, туман, беркут, сарана, бакай, гарба, курінь; городництво: баштан, гарбуз, кавун, тютюн; військо: кіш, табір, осавул, бунчук, чайка, со(га)йдак; одежа: габа, кунтуш, кобеняк, шаравари, штани, очкур, сап’ян, чоботи, постоли, тасьма, серпанок; торгівля, промисел, побут та ін.: чумак, аршин, могорич, майдан, чавун, казан, килим, тапчан, локша (локшина), кав’яр, кава, кобза, люлька, гайдамака, харциз, канчук, кайдани, чума.

And many borrowings came to Old Russian because Ukrainian territory in those times bordered with many other turk-speaking tribes like Khazars, Pechenegs, etc.:

каган, багатир, сан, сабля

The linked article also states that there are over 4000 turkisms in modern Ukrainian.

  • машина, фото rather look like loanwords from German (via Polish) or French, not English.
    – bytebuster
    Feb 9 '17 at 16:39
  • 2
    @bytebuster Quite possibly so, I did not check it. I think in Mongol they were borrowed from Russian, since Mongol republic was under USSR control (they even executed two Mongol rulers until third was loyal enough). Anyway the path of borrowing is very close in both languages.
    – Artemix
    Feb 9 '17 at 16:45

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