Gennady Korneev, MA

Community consultant - Oirat-Kalmyk in Kalmykia

I am a specialist in the Oirat-Kalmyk, Mongolian and Tibetan languages. I was raised by my grandmother in the Kalmyk language, and at school, I was fascinated by Oirat-Kalmyk language and folklore, and started to learn the old alphabet Todo bichig. I later enrolled at Kalmyk State University, where I also learnt Modern Mongolian.

I have vast experience as a translator of religious and historic manuscripts written in the Oirat-Kalmyk script Todo bichig, as well as in the Tibetan language. Furthermore, I am an author of scientific articles and books on the Kalmyk language, as well as on Buddhism and its traditions in Kalmykia, Dzungaria, Mongolia and Tibet.

Over the last ten years, I have been teaching Todo bichig and Tibetan language courses, held periodically at different institutions. Apart from my scientific and teaching experience I am a founder of the "Bilgin dala" (The Ocean of Wisdom) cultural organization, which focuses on different projects concerning the Kalmyk language and culture development.

I am glad to be collaborating with the VLACH team, consulting and contributing with my advice regarding Oirat-Kalmyk grammar and lexicology, as well as with Buddhist knowledge and traditional beliefs. I strongly believe that the result of the VLACH project on Oirat-Kalmyk materials will be a fruitful contribution for the scientific community in Kalmykia and worldwide, and for the Oirat-Kalmyk people especially.

Viktoria Mukabenova, MA

Community consultant - Oirat-Kalmyk in Kalmykia

I am an Oirat-Kalmyk language teacher and expert in language education at the Center for Kalmyk Language Development. I studied Kalmyk language and folklore at Kalmyk State University, and for many years, I have been working as a teacher and methodologist in the national education system.

Furthermore, I have participated in various cultural projects aimed at popularizing the Kalmyk language, such as the "Oirat Club", Kalmyk language communication evenings, and TV broadcasts made in Kalmyk.

Since 2013, I have been collaborating with members of the VLACH commission regarding the organization of fieldwork and other content related questions regarding the grammar, syntax and morphology of the Kalmyk language. I believe that their work has great value for all Kalmyks and will help us to preserve our language and cultural heritage.

Elistina Shinyakaeva, MA

Community consultant - Oirat-Kalmyk in Kalmykia

I am a philologist and author of songs in the Oirat-Kalmyk language. I studied Kalmyk language and folklore at Kalmyk State University. Whilst studying, I began to write my own songs in the Kalmyk language, and participated in different cultural projects.

After graduation, I worked in different government and public organizations and was responsible for the Oirat-Kalmyk language and music development among the younger generation. In addition, I have translation experience of religious literature from Russian into Kalmyk.

In 2016 I began my collaboration with the VLACH commission in the framework of their Oirat-Kalmyk project. I work on phonetical transcriptions and translations of video interviews recorded in Russian and Kalmyk. I have already learned a lot of new information about phonetic, dialect lexicon and methods of linguistic work whilst working on this project.

Since I very much care about the future of my native language, I am strongly motivated and pleased to participate in the VLACH project on Oirat-Kalmyk. I believe that the activity of the VLACH commission is currently very relevant, as it is contributing to the popularization and development of endangered languages.

Bayandalai Batan, BA

Community consultant - Oirat language in Xinjiang

I come from Baingol, a Mongolian county in the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous province of China.

A few years ago I moved to Kalmykia, to study Oirat-Kalmyk Language and Literature at the Kalmyk State University.

I am a native speaker of the Oirat language (Torgut variety). I studied in school with Oirat as the primary language of education, and following that I finished my Bachelor degree in the field of Mongolian and Chinese Languages and Literature.

I have good knowledge of the Oirat Mongolian language and its dialects in Xinjiang, Todo bichig and Hudam bichig scripts, and folklore.

My scientific field of interest is in the medieval literature of the Oirat Mongolian people.

I was kindly invited to help the VLACH team with the proofreading of their transcriptions of video interviews made in Xinjiang. I am glad to be part of this project, aimed at documenting our Oirat language and culture, and I am motivated to contribute towards preserving it as much as I possibly can.

Otgonbayar Chuluunbaatar, MA

Community consultant - Oirat language in Western Mongolia

I studied Mongolian Studies and Linguistics in Ulaanbaatar. Presently, I work as a contracted researcher for the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. My main research focuses on Oirat studies, ethnomusicology, intangible culture, Mongolian studies, language and ethnology.

Since my youth, I have had expertise as a singer of traditional music in Western Mongolia. This passion was the beginning of my initially private and later academic field research trips to the Altai Mountains, in which I have participated frequently for several decades. Thus, owing to numerous first-hand experiences under various forms of government, and in addition, due to digital services reaching even the most remote places, I have witnessed the changes in traditional music. Currently, I am examining lyrics and musical instruments from the everyday culture of the Oirat people in Western Mongolia, focusing on specific songs and dances from the oral tradition of the Oirat people, which have only rarely been preserved.

My research on Oirat and Mongolian music has been published in various international journals and books. I have also published books about Mongolian scriptures and languages and own a substantial private collection of early writings in the Oirat todo bichig script. Currently, I am also the Liaison Officer of Mongolia for the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM).

Ben Moschkin, BA

Community consultant – Oirat-Kalmyk language in the USA

I am a native Oirat-Kalmyk speaker of the Buzava ethnic group and a descendant of the Taichuud tribe of the Khamag Mongol Khanate. My parents fled Russia in 1920 with the White Army. At the time, my father was 17 years old, married and a Cossack in the 80th Don Kalmyk Cossack regiment (also known as the Dzhungarsky regiment). Both of my grandfathers were in the same regiment. My mother was thirteen back then. I was born in the United States, more than thirty years after my parents left Russia.

I was raised amongst the generation that had to leave the steppes of the Sal river and spoke only in the Kalmyk language. At the age of seven, I entered the Buddhist monkhood and learned to read, write and memorize Tibetan sutras. I remained in the monkhood for seven years, attaining the rank of “getsul”. My family had good relationships with Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, who lived with us in Howell, New Jersey, and with Norbu, the elder brother of the Dalai Lama.

My professional life was spent in the Information Technology sector. My avocation is collecting and shooting videos of Kalmyk and Buddhist events. I am the founder of and main contributor to the YouTube channel “Kalmyk American Videos”.

I collaborate with Vanishing Languages and Cultural Heritage commission and help the team identify the voices of Kalmyks recorded over 50 years ago. I provide information about the history and the present of American Kalmyk diaspora, including some photographs and newspaper articles that I have collected over the years.

It is a privilege to be associated with the VLACH team. Their work is very valuable for preserving and promoting the Kalmyk culture and language. By the Blessings of the Three Jewels, may good fortune befall all whose efforts bring this project to fruition.