Salar is a Turkic language that is mainly spoken by the Salar people, who can be found in the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai in China. Speakers can also be found in the Xinjiang and Yining provinces. The Salar people are thought to have migrated to their present location from the west in the 14th century. The main reason for this is because Salar is the only language that falls under the Oghuz group of languages in the region therefore, there are high chances that the Salar people did not live there originally but migrated from another place.
The Salar language was heavily influenced by the Chinese and Tibetan languages. Approximately 20% of the vocabulary in the Salar language came from the Chinese language and 10% of its vocabulary is borrowed from the Tibetan language. An alternate name for Salar is Sala. There are different dialects. This includes Mengda, Ili and Jiezi. The Salar language is recognized as the official language in areas that are heavily populated by the Salar people in China. Most Salar’s are bilingual, even though there are some who are monolingual. Out of a total population of 105,000 Salar people, only about 60,000 people speak the language, out of which 10,000 are monolingual. The language is mainly used in informal domains and at home. Speakers of other languages who live in the areas populated by the Salars also speak the language. Other languages that are used by Salar speakers include Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur. Most Salars are Muslims.
The Salar people use the Chinese writing system as they do not have a writing system in place. The Chinese government has been resistant to the calls by linguists for an Arabic or Latin script. Arabic script was used to write the language before. Documents that were centuries old were found written in Arabic script. Some linguists wanted this script to be standardized and used to write the Salar language. The Latin script has been used to write the Turkic orthography of the Salaar language but the script has proved to be be quite unpopular among the Salar people, especially the elders. The Arabic script has proved to be more popular.