A comparison of Mongolic and Turkic-speaking Yugur tribes and the origins of the Yugur Mongolic-speaking population   

Mongolian yurt
Mongolian yurt

The Yugur, also known as the Yellow Uyghur, live along the ancient Silk Road in China, at the cross-roads of Tibetan, Mongolic and Han communities.

This talk will look through the history of Yugur, examining the influence and administration of the Yugur by the ruling Qing, Republic and PRC, and how this impacted on the structure of Yugur society and absorption into the dominant culture, in particular through a more concrete analysis of the designated tribe and clan divisions and differences in assigned names in Chinese and Yugur, and especially comparing Mongolic speaking clans with Turkic speaking clans.

The Yugur population speak separately a Mongolic language and Turkic language raises some questions of the surprisingness and unusualness of that an ethnic group that can speak quite different languages yet identify themselves as one ethnic group. There are various theories why this is the case which shall be explored, including DNA evidence. It is a mystery why Yugur were descendants of the Old Uyghur kingdom who were Turkic, where the original ruling tribe ‘Yaɣlaqhar’ was Turkic speaking, however at some point in history half the population became Mongolic speakers and the ruling tribe ‘Xiketogh/Noyanotogh’ was also Mongolic speaking.


Dr Yarjis Xueqing Zhong is a linguist with interdisciplinary approaches, where her main research interests are on ethnic minority languages and especially endangered languages in China, including Turkic and Mongolic languages. She earned her PhD degree in 2019 in linguistics at The Australian National University.

Dr Zhong is currently working as an academic staff at the ANU. She is also a member and with a post-doc position of a European Research Council project: ERC-2019-ADG 883700-TRAM Tracing language and population mixing in the Gansu-Qinghai area (2020 - 2027).

Event details



Dr Yarjis Xueqing Zhong, ANU

Date & time

Friday 11 Nov 2022



Online Event


Uchralt Otede


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