Altai Mountains

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The Altai Mountains (Russian: Алтай, Altay; Mongolian: Алтай or Алтайн нуруу; Kazakh: Алтай таулары; Chinese: 阿尔泰山脉) are a mountain range in central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their sources. The Altai Mountains are known as the original locus of the speakers of Turkic[1] as well as other members of the proposed Altaic language group. The northwest end of the range is at 52° N and between 84° and 90° E (where it merges with the Sayan Mountains to the east), and extends southeast from there to about 45°N 99°E / 45°N 99°E / 45; 99Coordinates: 45°N 99°E / 45°N 99°E / 45; 99, where it gradually becomes lower and merges into the high plateau of the Gobi Desert.

The name, in Turkic Alytau or Altai, means Al (gold), tau (mount); in Mongolian Алтайн нуруу Altain nuruu, the "Mountains of Gold". The proposed Altaic language family takes its name from the mountain range.


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