Native toChina
Native speakers
(20,000 cited 1995)[1]
Arabic, Latin
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

The Tangwang language (Chinese: 唐汪话; pinyin: Tángwànghuà) is a variety of Mandarin Chinese heavily influenced by the Mongolic Santa language (Dongxiang). It is spoken in a dozen or so villages in Dongxiang Autonomous County, Gansu Province, China. The linguist Mei W. Lee-Smith calls this creole language the "Tangwang language" (Chinese: 唐汪话), based on the names of the two largest villages (Tangjia 唐家 and Wangjia 汪家, parts of Tangwang town) where it is spoken.[2]


According to Lee-Smith (1996), the Tangwang language is spoken by about 20,000 people living in the north-eastern part of the Dongxiang Autonomous County (Tangwang town). These people self-identify as Dongxiang (Santa) or Hui people. The Tangwang speakers don't speak Dongxiang language.[2]


The Tangwang language uses mostly Mandarin words and morphemes with Dongxiang grammar. Besides Dongxiang loanwords, Tangwang also has a substantial number of Arabic and Persian loanwords.[2]

Like standard Mandarin, Tangwang is a tonal language. However, grammatical particles, which are typically borrowed from Mandarin but used in the way Dongxiang morphemes would be used in Dongxiang, do not carry tones.[2]

For example, while the Mandarin plural suffix -men () has only very restricted usage (it can be used with personal pronouns and some nouns related to people), Tangwang uses it, in the form -m, universally, the way Dongxiang would use its plural suffix -la. The Mandarin pronoun () can be used in Tangwang as a possessive suffix (meaning "your").

Unlike Mandarin, but like Dongxiang, Tangwang has grammatical cases as well (but only four of them, instead of eight in Dongxiang).[2]

The word order of Tangwang is the same as Dongxiang subject–object–verb form.

Tangwang combines the characteristics of Mandarin Chinese and Dongxiang Mongolian.[3] The hybrid language is a symbol of language blending. According to Lee-Smith, the blending is caused by the Silk Road.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Smith, Norval (1994). "An Annotated List of Creoles, Pidgins, and Mixed Languages". In Arends, Jacque; Muysken, Pieter; Smith, Norval (eds.). Pidgins and Creoles. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. p. 371.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Lee-Smith, Mei W. (1996). "The Tangwang Language". In Wurm, Stephen A.; Mühlhäusler, Peter; Tyron, Darrell T. (eds.). Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas, Volume 2, Part 1. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 875–882. ISBN 978-3-11-013417-9.
  3. ^ Wurm, S. A. (1995). "The Silk Road and Hybridized Languages in North-Western China". Diogenes. 43 (171): 53–62. doi:10.1177/039219219504317107. S2CID 144488386.

Further reading

  • Zhong, Jinwen 钟进文 (2007). 唐汪话. Gān-Qīng dìqū tèyǒu mínzú yǔyán wénhuà de qūyù tèzhēng 甘青地区特有民族语言文化的区域特征 [Area Features of Minorities Language and Culture Unique to Gansu and Qinghai Provinces] (in Chinese). Beijing Shi: Zhongyang minzu daxue chubanshe. ISBN 978-7-81108-462-7.
  • Xu, Dan 徐丹 (2014). Tángwānghuà yánjiū 唐汪话研究 [A Study of Tangwang] (in Chinese). Beijing Shi: Minzu chubanshe. ISBN 978-7-105-13288-1.