Burmese, which was spoken by 7,006,495 people in the province in 1901, is a monosyllabic language, with, according to some authorities, three different tones; so that any given syllable may have three entirely different meanings only distinguishable by the intonation when spoken, or by accents or diacritical marks when written.
The fellow-countrymen of Stevinus were proud that he wrote in their own dialect, which he thought fitted for a universal language, as no other abounded like Dutch in monosyllabic radical words.
The language now consists of about 15,000 words, of which compounds of two monosyllabic words and appropriations from foreign sources form a very large part.
Their language, which is neither monosyllabic nor tonic, has nothing in common with that of the MonAnnam group. It has, moreover, been pointed out that had the Malays been driven southwards by the stronger races of the mainland of Asia, it might be expected that the people inhabiting the country nearest to the border between Siam and Malaya would belong to the Malayan and not to the Mon-Annam or Mon-Khmer stock.
This script, together with the general Sumerian culture, was taken over by the Babylonians upon their settlement in the Euphrates valley and adapted to their language, which belonged to the Semitic group. In this transfer the Sumerian words - largely monosyllabic - were reproduced, but read as Semitic, and 1 Cf.