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The Mongolic Santa language has loaned a copula from the Chinese language
A quote from “The Languages of China” by S. Robert Ramsey:
The Mongolian languages of the Gansu-Qinghai Area
Santa. The Santa live south of the Yellow River , about fifty miles southwest of Lanzhou , high in the mountains east of the Chinese town of Linxia . Because of this geographical location , which is east of the principal Chinese settlements , they have been given the appellation Dongxiang , or 'eastern villages' by the Chinese . The PRC government has followed this Chinese custom and officially named the group "Dongxiang," even though the people call themselves " Santa." There are approximately 280,000 Santa living in several towns and villages . Most of them make their living by farming . Like the Hui , who have settled all around them, the Santa are Muslims.
More than likely, many of the changes that have taken place in Santa can be attributed to the centuries of contact that the speakers of this language have had with northern Chinese groups. The tendency toward an open syllable is typical of the Mandarin dialects, as is the change of final –m to –n. One particularly striking adaptation to Chinese is the hybrid construction made in Santa using the Chinese copula shi 'is.' This copula is put into the sentence in Chinese syntactic order, between the nouns being equated; but the old Mongolian copula is also kept, appearing in its usual position at the end of the sentence. The result is a strange double-copula construction that is neither Chinese nor quite Mongolian. Here are two examples (the Chinese copula is given in small capitals):
Ene kɨwan SHI kienni we.
this youth IS whose is
'Whose boy is this?'
Bi kieliesen kun SHI ene we.
I spoke person IS this is
'The person I was talking about is this one.'
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