Mongolian language has a rich heritage that dates back centuries. Intertwined with the nomadic past of the Mongol people, the Mongol Empire, the development of the Mongolian language is part of the long and colorful history of Mongol people. Mongolian is an Altaic language spoken by approximately 5 million people in Mongolia, China, Afghanistan and Russia. In 1208, Chinggis Khan defeated the Naiman, and captured their Uyghur scribe Tatar-Tonga, who apparently adapted the Old Uyghur alphabet to write Mongolian. With this territorial expansion, the Mongolian language spread rapidly and moved further away from its original homeland. Modern Mongolian spoken language dates from 17th century onward. The development of modern Mongolian was marked by the loss of many archaic features of the language that are now found only in some of the outlying Mongolian languages. It was not until the 19th century that the modern spoken Mongolian language that had developed around the 17th century was translated into the written form. The traditional Mongolian script that developed in the 12th century was written vertically from left to right. This written script was replaced by a modified Russian Cyrillic alphabet in the 1940. To promote traditional Mongolian culture, in 1990 the Mongolian government reinstated the traditional Mongolian script, which is now taught in Mongolian schools. The Cyrillic script, however, is still commonly used for everyday purposes. Still, efforts to revive traditional Mongolian language and culture have proved successful. The tradition of folklore has maintained, and centuries-old myths, epics and traditional stories still survive in the modern Mongolian language.