Dongxiang is a Mongolic language. Dongxiang has neither vowel harmony nor distinctions of vowel length. Except for a limited number of cases there is no vowel harmony, and the harmonic rules governing the suffix pronunciation are by far not as strict as those of Mongolian. There are no dialects in strict sense, but three local varieties (tuyu) can be found: Suonanba (ca. 50% of all Dongxiang speakers), Wangjiaji (ca. 30% of all Dongxiang speakers) and Sijiaji (ca. 20% of all Dongxiang speakers).
In common with other Mongolic languages, Dongxiang is basically a subject–object–verb language. In Linxia, however, under the influence of the Mandarin Chinese dialects spoken by the neighbouring Hui people, sentences of the subject–verb–object type have also been observed.
There are seven short vowels in Dongxiang, such as, [a], [a], [i], [m], [o], [u], [w] and nine diphthongs [ail, [ ail, [ui] [au], [ au], [ia], [ia 1, [iu] [ua].
1.1 Short Vowel The examples [a] anda 'friend' [a] anda 'here' [i] ima~ 'goat' ['JJl quwu 'frost' [o] boro 'gray' [u] buru 'mistake' [s] i 'twenty"
1.2 The Description of Simple Vowel [a] Low back unrounded vowel. [a] Mid central unrounded vowel. [i] High front unrounded vowel. [w] High back unrounded vowel.  Mid central rounded vowel. [u] High back rounded vowel.
1.3 Diphthongs [ail qaiei 'scissorsr [ail failia- 'blow' [ui] kuit~ia n 'cold' [au] sau- 'sit' [au] daura 'under' [ia] nim- 'paste' [ia] gia 'house' [iu] niu- 'to hide' [ua] ua 'two'
Dongxiang has the following 28 consonants, [b], [p], [dl, [t], [g], [k], [GI, [q], [dzI, [&I, [@I 3 [@I, [GI, [fl, [sI, [$I 3 [GI, [XI [hI. [wI [TI, UI, [my [nI, [gI, [I], [rl
2.1 The contrast of consonants [b] bau- 'comedown' [PI PaU 'gun' [dl dm- 'to follow' [t] tam- 'dismiss' [g] gian 'sickness' [k] kian 'who' [q] quru- 'fry' [GI Guru 'finger' [&I &a- 'sue' [@I @a 'tea' [a] &ig 'scripture' [GI Gig 'that way' [fl failia 'blow' [w] w~a 'wash' ~ira 'yellow' [GI pira 'under' [x] xulq 'red' [E] no~i [m] mau 'bad' [g] jarjdzi 'shape' [r] narq 'sun' [z] ~auji- 'rub' [s] sira- 'cut off [hI haroy] 'ten' bl ja 'what' [n] nau- 'to hit a target' [I] laWy] 'leaf' [dz] badza 'town'
2.2 The description of consonants b] Bilabial unaspirated plosive [p] Bilabial aspirated plosive. [dl Alveolar unaspirated plosive [t] Alveolar aspirated plosive. [g] Velar unaspirated plosive [GI Uvular unaspirated plosive [k] Velar aspirated plosive. [q] Uvular aspirated plosive. [dz] Alveolar unaspirated affricative [el Postal alveolar unaspirated affricative. [Q] Postal alveolar aspirated affricative [a] Palatal unaspirated affricative. [Q] Palatal aspirated affricative [fl Labiodental voiceless fricative. [s] Alveolar voiceless fricative [$I Retroflex unaspirated fricative. [GI Retroflex aspirated fricative [x] Velar voiceless fricative. [h] Glottal voiceless fricative [q] Retroflex voiced fricative [I(] Uvular voiced fricative [n] Alveolar nasal [w] Bilabial voiced fricative. Ij] Palatal approximant. [m] Bilabial nasal [q] Velar nasal. [l] Alveolar lateral approximan t [r] Alveolar approximant.
Suffix Condition -la any noun Examples ~oni 'sheep1 eoni-la 'sheep' -sla/-sila certain noun and pronoun in 'girl' o~in-sla 'girls' -pi only noun indicating relatives gajieiau 'brother' gajieiau-pi 'brothers'
An audio example of what the Santa Language (Dongxiang) sound like can be found HERE
More specifics on the Dongxiang language can be found here: http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp055_dongxiang_language.pdf
Knowledge of Arabic is widespread among the Sarta, and as a result, they often use the Arabic script to write down their language informally (cf. the Xiao'erjing system that was used by Hui people); however, this has been little investigated by scholars. As of 2003, the official Latin alphabet for Dongxiang, developed on the basis of the Monguor alphabet, remained in the experimental stage.
There are about 20,000 people in the north-eastern part Dongxiang County, who self-identify as Dongxiang or Hui people who don't speak Dongxiang language, but speak natively a Dongxiang-influenced form of Mandarin Chinese. The linguist Mei W. Lee-Smith calls this the "Tangwang language" (Chinese: 唐汪话), based on the names of the two largest villages (Tangjia and Wangjia, parts of Tangwang Town) where it is spoken and argues it is a creolized language. According to Lee-Smith, 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.
Like standard Mandarin, Tangwang is a tonal language, but grammatical particles, which are typically borrowed from Mandarin, but are used in the way Dongxiang morphemes would be used in Dongxiang, don't carry tones.
For example, while the Mandarin plural suffix -men (们) 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 (你) can be used in Tangwang as a possessive suffix (meaning "your"). Unlike Mandarin, but like Dongxiang, Tangwang has grammatical cases as well (but only 4 of them, instead of 8 in Dongxiang).