A language of China

ISO 639-3: sce

Population 250,000 (1999 Junast). About 80,000 monolinguals. Half in the Suonanba dialect. Ethnic population: 373,872 (1990 census).
Region Southwest Gansu Province, mainly in Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, 7 counties and a city, and in Yining and Huocheng counties in Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Alternate names   Tunghsiang, Santa, Tung
Dialects Suonanba (Xiaonan), Wangjiaji, Sijiaji. Some intelligibility of Bonan. Minor dialect differences in pronunciation and borrowed words. Suonanba is considered to be the standard.
Classification Altaic, Mongolian, Eastern, Mongour
Language use Use in religion, local commerce, oral tradition. Positive language attitude. Written Chinese is in common use.
Language development Literacy rate in second language: 12%. Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar.


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An official nationality. 30% of vocabulary borrowed from Chinese. The people call themselves 'Santa'. SOV; no vowel harmony or vowel length distinction; rich in consonants including uvulars; case marking. Plain. Agriculturalists; pastoralists. Muslim (Sunni).