I saw that Turkish people are considered of Mongolic race even though Mongolic and Turkic are separate language families? Why are those races considered the same but their languages are so different that they come from different language families ?

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    Both Turkish and Mongolic people are considered to be part of the human race. What is the Mongolic race? how is it defined? by whom? I will also downvote any question that includes an unreferenced citation. If you saw that assertions somewhere, you have to cite that. There is a huge difference between an assertion in a scholarly article and one in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
    – MCW
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 13:14
  • You and I speak the same language, yet there's a good chance we're not the same 'race'. Why should that be so?
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 13:18
  • I never heard about Mongolic race,and racial classification has nothing to do with language. Also, Turkik languages are in the same language family as Mongolian. In short, all your premises are wrong.
    – Greg
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 16:28
  • The point of such statements seems to be that the first (recorded) people who called themselves "Turks", i.e. the Göktürks, were centered in what is now Mongolia. That was roughly 1500 years ago. So what is now Mongolia does indeed take an important place in Turkish history. This topic seems to pop up a lot in certain nationaliatic contexts and therefore often accompanied by a certain level of stupidity. But that does not mean that the history behind it is uninteresting.
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 30, 2021 at 10:54

4 Answers 4


There's no scientific definition of "race", so that part of the question is unanswerable.

Linguists do try to classify languages though, since that can be done (mostly) objectively, based on similarity of grammar and words. One popular theory has been Turkic languages and Mongolic languages are part of a larger family of languages, named Altaic.

Today this is no longer a universally accepted theory, with the alternative being that the similarities are more due to long proximity than heritage. But Altaic was the consensus accepted theory until about 15-20 years ago (which is practically yesterday for oldsters like me). So it can be found in many textbooks and references floating around today.

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    «There's no scientific definition of "race"» — T. E. D. // Untrue. Of course, there are scientific definitions of ‘race’ – several of them. Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 7:21
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    @DmitryAlexandrov - I'm sorry, but for the most part (the way people like to use it for visual identification of individuals, like the question appears to be shooting for) its just not. For instance, I have "black" friends here in the USA that have genetically tested out (due to their interests in Genealogy) more European than a lot of "white" people. Most "black" African-Americans, if they go to Africa, are considered "white" over there. Nothing physically changed about them on the flight over. The popular view of race is an entirely social construct (with a nasty hammer on the end).
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 14:26
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    @T.E.D. Well, the "popular" view on everything is a social construct - that's what "popular" means. But scientists do discuss race and there are valid reasons to classify human populations according to genetic and physical traits. Epidemiologists, for example, are keenly interested in questions such as this.
    – pokep
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 18:00

First, Turkish people are not in general considered of Mongoloid race, neither are Turkic-speaking Azeris. These two peoples are usually classified to belong to Europoid race with maybe only admixture of Mongoloids.

Second, there is a lot of Turkic-speaking peoples that are indeed classified Mongoloid: Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Turkmen.

The reason is that Mongoloid race was named for Mongols who were a typical representation of the race, but includes also a lot of other peoples with totally unrelated languages: Sami (original), Nentsi, Mansi, Yakuts, Chukchi, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesians, Eskimo, Aleuts, Native Americans, etc.

Mongoloid race has multiple defining characteristics, but one typical feature is the existence of epicantus over the eyes.

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    This is the first time in my life I've seen the word "Europoid". My browser's spell check doesn't even think its a word. I'm wondering where else that is A Thing.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 2:07
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    @T.E.D. In school we were told it is "Europeoid" (in Russian) but Google search reveals it is called "Europoid" in English. Americans also call it "Caucasian" but it is very confusing term, especially here in Russia where Caucasians are those who lives in the Caucasus.
    – Anixx
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 3:14
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    Ah, yes, it is probably what we call Caucasian (which I totally agree is a really stupid term, since the actual Caucasian languages are their own language families, completely unrelated to Indo-European).
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 3:49
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    @T.E.D. Languages are nothing to do with race...
    – Greg
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 16:31

Your very question has no answer since it is factually wrong — most of population of modern Turkey belongs to Europoid race (more specifically — to Mediterranean, I guess).

However the answer to any question in a form of “Why X belong to Y race, but speak Z language” is because race is biology and language is culture.

I hope you are not very surprised by the fact that both Europoids of Spain and (some) Americanoids of Central America speak Spanish, or that both Europoids of Arabia and Negroids of of modern Sudan speak Arabic. Reasons to that are only few centuries ago from now so they are well-known: colonization and islamization respectively.

Even though turkization of Lesser Asia (≈ modern Turkey) dates back to IX century — pretty Historic age, the fact that language of Turks is akin to languages of Mongoloids of Central Asia might be surprising for someone. What to say about events that belongs to Prehistory...

  • You probably meant to write XI-th century, not IX-th?
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 30, 2021 at 10:41

I am writing this because I believe the Wikipedia article on Turko-Mongol tradition does not really help readers understand the concept, which gave rise to this question (my assumption).

Also, (perhaps) this question stems from a confusion between genetics (biology) and genealogical relationship (linguistics). If that is the case, this article on language family might help clarify: genetic relationship (linguistics).

Having said this, the answer given by T.E.D. is correct insofar that the proposed Altaic language family is now discredited because, if the hypohtesis is true, earlier forms of Turkic and Mongolic language should be more related (linguistically, not biologically) than later forms.

Instead, comparative linguistics has shown that, in fact, "the earliest written records of Mongolic and Turkic languages shows fewer similarities rather than more, which suggests that they do not share a common ancestor, but rather have become more similar through language contact and areal effects. Because of this, most modern linguists do not accept the Altaic family". Source

Again, back to T.E.D.'s answer, on his statement "the similarities are more due to long proximity than heritage" -- this is areal effects.

So, in fact, the present day similarities of Turkic and Mongolic languages is due to a long period of contact and was expedited by Mongolian expansionist policy, which gave rise to Turko-Mongol tradition (14th century).

To end, here's a paragraph from Turko-Mongol Relations (chapter twenty-one of The Mongolic Languages, Routledge, 2003):

A more plausible explanation (for the established Turko-Mongol tradition) is therefore offered by the assumption of a network of linguistic contacts, which have united the ‘Altaic’ languages since ancient times up to the present day. External contacts with Uralic and Indo-European suggest that Proto-Turkic was once the westernmost member of this network. On the basis of historical information it may be concluded that the period of the most intensive early contact between Turkic and Mongolic coincided with the appearance of the protohistorical ethnopolitical entities of Xiongnu and Donghu in the regions north of China (Mongolia and Manchuria).

Also, see Northeast-Asian sprachbund.

  • I'd love to see you commentary on the relationship between French, German, and English peoples/languages. (Nice answer, and thank you) Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 1:42
  • Thank you. I could do the French and English bit , but Germans ... really?? I'm afraid the Romantic philologists might go on strike. lol.
    – J Asia
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 6:05
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    French has the influences of Frankish (a Germanic language), Latin and some other roots that may or may not have survived from the Celtic and Breton ... :) Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 10:38
  • I was just having fun about the Germans ... they are a passionate lot when you start talking about their language. No offense intended. Yes, you are right - French is a Romance language (Latin from ancient Romans > Franks > French). Proto-Germanic, however, is pretty unique and also pervasive in Europe today. A lot of branches, so we're looking at influence into English, Dutch, Icelandic-Norwegian-Danish (Norse) & of course Gothic.
    – J Asia
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 15:18

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