A language of China

Alternate Names
Santa, Tung, Tunghsiang

200,000 (Bradley 2007). Half in Suonanba dialect. 80,000 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 514,000 (Bradley 2007).


Southwest Gansu Province, Linxia Hui autonomous prefecture, 7 counties and a city; Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture, Yining and Huocheng counties.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened). Language of recognized nationality: Dongxiang.


Sijiaji, Suonanba (Xiaonan), Wangjiaji. Some intelligibility with Bonan [peh]. Minor dialect differences in pronunciation and borrowed words. Suonanba considered the standard.


SOV; no vowel harmony or vowel length distinction; rich in consonants including uvulars; case marking.

Language Use

Shifting to Chinese. Home, religion, local commerce, oral tradition. Positive attitudes. Written Chinese in common use.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 12%. Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar.
Other Comments

30% of vocabulary borrowed from Chinese. Muslim (Sunni).