Indo-Chinese Races (etc. between Siam and Anam, in the dominions of China, Siam, Anam, and Burmah. (See the separate articles on the political divisions.) Indo-Chinese Races And Languages. The nations belonging to this division of the Mongolian race inhabit southeastern Asia, and speak monosyllabic languages. They may be subdivided into seven groups: the Thibetan and Himalayan or Bhotiya races; the Burmese and Lo-hita races; the aboriginal races of the Indo-Chinese peninsula; the Thai races; the Ana-mites; the aborigines of China; and the Chinese. Several ethnologists and linguists prefer various other classifications; but, as has been observed by Prof. "Whitney and other authorities, one cannot well resist the conviction that these races, which speak the only languages known of a monosyllabic type, and which are clustered together in one corner of a single continent, all belong to the same family of mankind, and that the dialectic differences, however great, are the result of discordant historic growth. - The Thibetans inhabit Thibet proper, or the elevated region north of the Himalaya mountains. Several races in those mountains, between the Indus and the Brahmapootra, also speak a language related to the Thibetan tongue.
They have all remained in a low stage of civilization, retain the superstitions of the ancient north Asiatic races and the custom of polyandry, and have kept aloof from Buddhism. As that religion was carried into Thibet about the 7th century of our era, it is supposed that these tribes separated from the kindred races in Thibet in the 6th century or earlier. The races belonging to this division are the Mishnu, Bors, Dophla, and Aka, between the Brahmapootra and the Chumulari mountains; the Lepchas and Bhotans, in the central region of the watershed of the Teesta; the Kiranti and Limbu, in the region of the Coosey; the Newar and Murmi, between the Coosey and Gunduck; the Sunvar, Gurung, and Magar, in the territory of the river Gun-duck; the Rongbo and Gurwhal, in the territory of the Surju river; and north of them the Kohli, Kakka, Bamba, Gakar, Khatir, Avan, and Ganjuh. The lower region is inhabited by the Mecha, Kichak, Tharu, Denwar, Bok-sar, Hayu, Chepang, Kusunda, Durro, and Bramho tribes. - The Burmese inhabit the W. portion of the Indo-Chinese peninsula, where they conquered the aborigines and formed a mighty empire.
They are closely related to the inhabitants of Aracan on the coast of the bay of Bengal. "With these two races are connected a number of wild tribes, generally designated collectively as Lohita, which is another name for the Brahmapootra; their relation to the Burmese is similar to that of the Bhotiya or Himalaya races to the Thibetans. Each of these numerous tribes speake a peculiar dialect. The most important of them are the Bodos, Borros, or Kacharis, who were formerly called Rangtsa, and who, according to their tradition, emigrated into their present country from some place N. of Assam. They were the conquerors of the ancient empire of Kamarupa, and the founders of the dynasty of Ha-tsung-tsa. The Garrows live W. of the Cossyah mountains; the Changlos inhabit the upper valley of the Brahmapootra; the Miris the hilly country N. of Luckimpoor; the Abors the mountainous region S. of the Himalaya; the Singphos the N. portion of the Burmese empire; and the Mikirs the district of Nowgong in central Assam. To this division also belong the numerous Naga tribes, or Kwaphis according to their own designation; they inhabit the regions W. of the river Kopili, E. of the mountains which separate Assam from the Bor-Khamti country, and N. of the valley of Assam. The Khyeng inhabit the Youmadoung range which separates Aracan from the valley of the Irrawaddy. The Karens live in the mountains of Aracan, in Pegu, and in southern Burmah; also in the valleys of the Irrawaddy and the Salwen. The Sabaing who dwell in the valley of Sittoung, near the city of Toungoo, also belong to this group. - The aborigines of the Indo-Chinese peninsula are probably all the tribes inhabiting principally its mountainous districts and river embouchures.
They were driven back to these regions by the Anam and Thai races who immigrated and settled in the valleys. They are barbarous nations, on whom neither Buddhism nor Chinese civilization has produced any impression. Among them may be mentioned the Mons, in the delta of the Irrawaddy, called Talaing by the Burmese; the Khomens or inhabitants of Cambodia, dwelling near the Mekong; the Tsiampas, S. of the Anamese, who call them Lau; the Kwantos, who are the real aborigines of Tonquin and live in the mountains on the frontier of China; and the Mois, W. of Cochin China. Several travellers have described the last as being essentially of a negro type. - The Thai is the dominant race of the Indo-Chinese peninsula. The Siamese are the Thais proper, and the most numerous. The Burmese, Chinese, and Anamese give them the name of Shian, whence comes the Portuguese Siao, and our Siam. The Laos inhabit the interior and the north of the peninsula; they are subdivided into white Laos (Lau-pang-kah) and black Laos (Lau-pang-dun). Other Thai races are the Ahoms, Khamtis, and Cossyahs. The Anamese inhabit Tonquin and Cochin China; they are not as closely related to their western neighbors as to the Chinese. - Several uncivilized races, which differ from the Chinese proper in language, religion, and manners, seem to be, and are called, the aborigines of China. They adhere to the Shamanism of the people of High Asia. The most important races among them are the Sifan, the Miautze, and the Lolo. The Sifans inhabit the mountainous regions W. of the Chinese provinces Shensi and Szechuen on the upper course of the tributaries of the Hoang-ho and Yangtse-kiang.
They are mentioned in the annals of China from A. D. 634, and are at present tributary to the Chinese. They lead a nomadic life, raise sheep, and live in tents. The Miautze are scattered over portions of several provinces, especially in Szechuen, Kweichow, Hunan, Hupeh, Yunnan, Kwangsi, and on the frontier land of Kwangtung. It is supposed that the inhabitants of Hainan are related to them. The Lolos are the aborigines of Yunnan in S. China; they are good miners and skilled forgers of weapons. In the ancient annals of China two barbaric races are mentioned, the Man and the Y; but it has not been determined whether they were distinct races, or related to those already described. - The Indo-Chinese languages, if we include those spoken in Thibet and China, comprise all the monosyllabic languages known. The language now spoken in Cochin China is to be considered, according to Max Muller, as a dialect of Chinese, at least as much as Norman French was a dialect of French. The Chinese was grafted on the Anamitic, the native language of Cochin China; yet few Chinese scholars would recognize their language in that of Cochin China. For instance, it is one of the most characteristic features of the literary Chinese, the dialect of Nankin, or the idiom of the mandarins, that every syllable ends in a vowel, either pure or nasal.
In Cochin-Chinese, on the contrary, we find words ending in k; t, p; thus ten is thap, at Canton chap, instead of the Chinese tchi. In Chinese, Anamitic, Burmese, Siamese, and all other monosyllabic tongues, there are six or eight musical accents or modulations by which the different meanings of the same monosyllabic root are kept distinct. The Chinese has no more than about 450 distinct sounds, and with them it expresses between 40,000 and 50,000 words or meanings. Thus, in Anamitic, ba pronounced with the grave accent means either a lady or an ancestor; pronounced with the sharp accent, the favorite of a prince; with the semi-grave accent, what has been thrown away; with the grave circumflex, what is left of a fruit after it has been squeezed; with no accent, three; with the ascending or interrogative accent, a box on the ear. Thus the series Ba, ba, ba, ba means, if properly pronounced, "Three ladies gave a box on the ear to the favorite of the prince." The difference between the speech of the Siamese and their neighbors the Burmese is very marked.
The Burmese use an excessive number of triple consonants, mho and similar combinations; but in nothing is the difference more noticeable than in the frequent use by the Burmese of the th sound, uttered with a strong guttural breathing, where the Siamese use s. The two alphabets also are very dissimilar in form, the Burmese using a round character derived from Ceylon, while the Siamese have a comparatively square character supposed to be derived from the ancient Cambodian letters still used for their sacred books, and generally for the Pali language, and which in turn appears to be a form of the Devanagari. The Laos in N. Siam speak a mixed dialect of which Siamese is the principal component, and use the Burmese alphabet. - See De Carne's "Travels in Indo-China and the Chinese Empire " (London, 1872), and Vincent's "Land of the White Elephant" (London, 1874).