The Mongolian language is a member of the Ural-Altaic family of language which includes . Most people speak the Khalkha Mongolian dialect; it is also used in schools and for official business. Mongolia’s traditional script was replaced under communism with a Cyrillic alphabet similar to the Russian one in 1946. In 1991 parliament voted to revive the old script. It will eventually be used in all official business and is slowly being reintroduced in schools.
The Mongol alphabet has 26 characters, which are written vertically but in different ways according to their position in a word. The Kazakhs use their own language (which uses a Cyrillic alphabet) in schools and local government. Mongols educated under the Communists speak Russian, and many Russian words have been incorporated into the Mongolian language. The use of English is spreading rapidly, and many official signs are written only in the traditional script and English.