The Soyombo Alphabet and the Soyombo Symbol


The Soyombo alphabet was created in 1686 by the famous Mongolian monk and scholar Zanabazar. Modelled after the Lantsa-Dewanagari script, it is capable of representing Mongolian as well as Tibetan and Sanskrit.

Though the script has a unique appearance it failed to established itself as a script for everyday use; today it survives in the form of inscriptions on prayer mills and temples.

A variant of the opening symbol of the Soyombo script (a symbol which appears before the letter A) however is in wide use today. It became the national symbol of Mongolia and as such it can be found on money, official documents, official stamps, and the like. It is literally omnipresent and is proudly displayed e.g. at the Süxbaatar Square in central Ulaanbaatar.

The exact proportions of the Soyombo symbol were defined in the Constitution of 1992; the Soyombo symbol in the title of this page was constructed according to these proportions.

Soyombo for TeX/LaTeX

The Soyombo script and the Soyombo symbol are available as metafont sources for TeX and LaTeX users. They can be used in any document. A detailed introduction and installation guide is contained in the file soyo4tex.tex. This document features an example of Soyombo text (both original and in a decomposed manner) as well as an encoding table.

In order to make Soyombo work on your system, you need the following five files:

  1. soyombo.sty : A package for using the Soyombo Script and the Soyombo Symbol in LaTeX2e documents. Place this file into a directory where your LaTeX installation can find it. In an emtex installation, a suggested path is \emtex\texinput\mls\soyombo.sty provided you have a subdirectory named mls containing Mongolian Language Support (MLS) Software.
  2. : Metafont source for the Soyombo Script.
  3. : Metafont source for the Soyombo Symbol. Place the previous and this file into a directory where your Metafont installation can find them; this could be \emtex\mfinput\mls\ on a system with Mongolian Language Support.
  4. soyombo.tfm : Font Metrics for the Soyombo Script.
  5. soyombot.tfm : Font Metrics for the Soyombo Symbol. Place the previous and this file into a directory where your TeX installation can find them; this could be \emtex\tfm\mls\ on an emtex installation prepared for processing Mongolian.
  6. : Zip archive containing all above-mentioned files.
The Soyombo symbol was not included in the Soyombo alphabet font for some reasons. There are certainly many more users who just wish to use the Soyombo symbol but who do not intend to use the Soyombo script. For them, loading and compilation time of the fonts can be reduced significantly since the contains but one symbol.

In addition, the Soyombo symbol as it appears on the National Flag etc. has a precisely defined height and width ratio which is different from the width ratio in the Soyombo script. It is just natural to separate those into two distinct files.

Last but not least, the Soyombo symbol and the Soyombo initial of the alphabet show different flames, different suns and other subtle differences.

Technical Restrictions

A preprocessor for converting Mongolian (transliterated) into Soyombo encoding is planned but could not be realized yet.

There is one tiny caveat: The author could not test the fonts for other than a few standard devices such as 300dpi and 600dpi laser printers and 360dpi BubbleJet printers. It may be possible that the fonts do not digitize well at lower resolutions. Please complain loudly if you encounter such a problem.

Legal Restrictions

The usual legal restrictions known from the MLS package apply; you may freely use this software for academic and non-commercial purposes. Commercial use requires the negotiation of a license.

You are welcome and encouraged to redistribute this software to others. You must not however derive a profit from redistributing this software.

You are not allowed to alter or modify the software. If you want to modify or improve the software, please contact the author, O. Corff. You can reach him at