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

The Tangwang language (Chinese: 唐汪话 Tángwàng huà) 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. Mandarin pronoun ni () 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. 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. (Volume 13 of Trends in Linguistics, Documentation Series)., International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (Walter 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.

Further reading