What is the etymology of the word Altai?
Altai is associated with the Türkic-Mongolian word quot; altynquot; which means quot; goldenquot ;. In addition, this word is Altai consists of two Turkic words: AL and TAI. At the same time, the AL is sublime, great, tall. TAI is a mountain. The mountain range on the Russian-Mongolian border is called Altai.
Altai - Golden Mountains
Etymology of the word Altai goes back to the Mongolian root "alt", "altanquot", meaning - gold. In Turkic languages, this root also means gold. For example, in Tatar, in Kazakh, in Turkish: quot; altynquot ;.
Mountain range Altai in ancient times was the birthplace of the Turkic tribes (which replaced the Huns and Sarmatians, and those in turn, the Scythians). Then in the 13th century Mongol tribes Chingiz Khan came there. This affected the changes in the toponymy of the names of the surrounding places.
The second part of the word quot; tajkot; is the Mongolian suffix -tai / -tui, which corresponds to the Turkic suffix -yly / dy. These suffixes turn the basis of the word into an adjective, meaning the property of being rich with this (the basis of the word), abound with it. That is, in our case, literally: a gold mine or a place where there is gold in large quantities. One can draw an analogy with other toponyms: Tarbagatay (Suyrly) - a place where many marmots, Shyndygatay (Russian Chandagatui, Akkoyandy) - a place where there are a lot of white hares, Kandagatai (Bulanda) - a place where there are a lot of moose.
It is not excluded that before the Mongols these places were called something like this: Altyntag, Altyn yish, Altynau. Here the second part of the word means "mountain;". In the Mongolian oronyms (* a kind of toponym for mountains, ridges, hills, etc. *), the word "mountain" is rarely used directly; - uul. Instead, the suffix -tai / -tui is used.
When translating from Mongolian to Turkish, it would be: quot; Altyndyquot ;.
It should be noted that in the Chinese translation, this area is called "Jin-shan"; (Kin-shan) - "The Golden Mount";
It should also be recalled that, according to the toponymic clue in the XVIII century, gold was found in Altai.
There are other, less convincing, versions of the etymology of the word Altai. With some you can meet, for example, here.