16 BURMA, PAST AND PRESENT.
still taught in the Buddhist monasteries, and the sacred writings expounded in that dialect
It is, I consider, a source of regret that nationality of language was not restored to the Talaings on our occupation of the country. It would have removed the feeling of degradation of a conquered race, and, together with the grateful sense for such a consideration, have served as a check on any combination by them with the Burmese, which might possibly arise in the future.
The Burmese, as well as the Talaings, received their religion and alphabet from India. Their alphabets differ very slightly, both being a circular variety of the ancient De va Nagri ;* but the two languages have no radical affinity, the Burmese being cognate with the Tibetan, and the Talaing (as stated in the previous chapter) with the aboriginal Indian tribes of the north-east, Monda, or K6l family. The former is labial and soft as the Italian, the latter harsh and guttural as Arabic. In combination of words and sentences and in idiom they are entirely different In the Talaing languagef the subject usually precedes the verb, and the object follows it, as in English ; but in a Burmese and Tibetan sentence the order of the words is inverted
* A specimen of Burmese writing, being a transcript of a petition made to n*e when Chief Commissioner of British Burma, is given on the opposite page.
f The Rev. Dr. Mason, 44 Burma," p. 126.f The Rev. Dr. Mason, 44 Burma," p. 126.