Volume 21, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



Dongxiang is a language mainly spoken in the Autonomous District of southwest Gansu Province, People’s Republic of China. The Dongxiang nationality (東鄉族), as they are officially called, represents about 300,000 speakers. The Dongxiang language is one of the peripheral Mongolic languages spoken in the Gansu-Qinghai area, also known as the Shirongol group. These languages have been isolated from the other Mongolic languages and have been influenced by the surrounding Chinese dialects to a greater or lesser degree. They have common typological forms inherited from Middle Mongolian as well as features which have been induced by language contact. In this paper, I shall discuss the reflexive possessive markers in the Dongxiang language with a special focus on the suffix . I shall show that the functions and use of Dongxiang reflexive possessive markers and are similar to those of the common Mongolic markers * and *. The reflexive possessive marker seems to be found in Dongxiang only and its origin remains unclear. In sources available from the 1980s to the 2000s, it is found associated with a restrictive number of pronouns, nouns, and idiomatic expressions and is highly grammaticalized. However, in more recent sources, it is found associated with a greater number of nouns and seems to have more semantic implications. Moreover, it is also found in a role which could be associated with that of a pronoun, and which can receive a plural and reflexive morphology. can be used completely independently and is probably a calque of the Chinese dialect of Linxia 個家. This shows that it is most probably an innovation developed from the original suffix.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): calque; Dongxiang; linguistic innovation; Linxia; reflexive markers
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