The Tangut language (also known as Xīxià or Hsi-Hsia) is an ancient northeastern Tibeto-Burman language once spoken in the Western Xia Dynasty, also known as the Tangut Empire. It is classified by some linguists as one of the Qiangic languages, which also include Qiang and rGyalrong, among others. It is distantly related to Tibetan and Burmese, and even more distantly to Chinese.
Tangut was one of the official languages of the Western Xia Dynasty (known in Tibetan as Mi-nyag, and in Chinese as 彌藥 mí yào), which was founded by the Tangut people and obtained its independence from the Song dynasty at the beginning of the 11th century. The Western Xia Dynasty was annihilated when Genghis Khan invaded in 1226.
The Tangut language has its own script, namely the Tangut script.
The latest known text written in the Tangut language, an inscription of a Buddhist dharani, dates to 1502, suggesting that the language was still in use nearly three hundred years after the destruction of the Tangut Empire.
The Tangut identified with the state of Western Xia were traditionally thought of as a Qiangic-speaking people who moved to northwestern China sometime before the 10th century AD. Recent research indicated that the term "Tangut" most likely derives from Chinese Donghu; "-t" in the Mongolian language means "people". Whereas "Donghu" was a Chinese transcription, its Mongolian reference was "Tünghu".