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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 366 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TALAING, more accurately called Mon, the name given to the remnant of the Peguan race, which for long strove with the Burmans for the ascendancy in what is now Burma. In the middle of the 18th century the Peguans were masters of the country from the Gulf of Martaban to far to the north of Mandalay. Now, however, the Talaing population is practically confined to the Tenasserim and Pegu divisions of Lower Burma, and even there it seems to be dying out. According to the census of Igo' they numbered only 321,898 persons, of whom 154,480 spoke the Talaing language. The Talaings are, historically, the most important representatives in Burma of the M6n-Annam linguistic family, who have left tokens of their presence from the Khasia Hills in Assam to the Gulf of Siam. The origin of the name Talaing is disputed, but it is most commonly believed to be a term of reproach, meaning " downtrodden," given by the conquering Burmans. The people call themselves Mons. They are lighter in complexion and more sturdily built than the Burmans and the face is rounder.
End of Article: TALAING

Additional information and Comments

Sir, The origin of the word "Talaing" is not Burmese.It is derived from the word 'Talinga" or "Talingana" coming from "Kalinga". the present Orissa region of India because most Mon people came from that region. Lower Burma then was called Ramanna or Ramannya Desa meaning the Land of Rama or Raman. The first town of these people was called Utta or Uttha derived from Orissa of India. Hence these people have Indian connections in religion (Buddhism or Hinduism), language (Southern Indian Tamil or Telagu) and culture (Southern India). The word Talaing is inscribed in the Bagan (Pagan) epigraphs since the middle of the 11th Century. There are names with Talain in Burma (Myanmar) like Talaing Ywama (Main Talaing village), Talaing Ein( Talaing House), Talaing Sanbin) (Talaing Styled Haircut). Yours sincerely, Dr Maung Maung Nyo -1.05.2009
Talaing: is morally, physically assaulted Mon people by Burmese king U Aungzeya ( Alaung paya) in 1757 when he invaded Hongsawatoi, Mon Kingdom (now lower Burma). Burmese military killed thousands of thousands of Mon people included pregnant women, children, students and monks. In Mon language "Ta" means father, "Laing" mean to be perished. On May 8, 1757, when Burmese King U Aungzeya completely conquered Hongsawatoi (Mon kingdom), he gathered all the Mon people from the cities and villages and sorted them in the stockades as school children, pregnant women and monks to be kill and burn. When they (U Aungzeya) heard Mon people cried " oh ta Laing ra " (oh father we will be perished), he laughed to his soldiers with evil action and started calling Mon people as "Talaing" since then.
Dr. Maung Maung Nyo is absolutely wrong when he says Talaing was derived from Talingana/Telingana and above all he can not prove it right yet up to now. Even though they got Culture, Literature and Religion etc from India, Mon people did not migrated from South of India as he said. Mon’s original place was South of China. I have no intention to go on this subject in details yet at the moment. His saying, “The word Talaing is inscribed in the Bagan (Pagan) epigraphs since the middle of the 11th Century” just misleads the readers. Talaing which was found in Sawlu Min’s incription, was spelled as Tan Laing, not Talaing as he mentioned. Without enough researches he took it for granted as a word truly referred to Mon. According to my research Tan Laing in the inscription was solely referred to Tai Long Shan. As we all know that Mon People were one of the oldest inhabitants who had been settled in Burma since time immemorial. They had never been recorded as Talaing. There are no record or account which could suggest that Mon had been called as Talaing. Mon People had been known to Europeans as Mon or Peguans or Peguers. Only when they came to Burma during the 18th century Europeans came across this word for the very first time that made them so surprised. As we all know that Alongbaya used Talaing word to attack his enemy Mon of Hongsawati during the war which was took place in 1752-57. One thing we can say for sure is that all the words, used during the wars, could be described as a word to humiliate the enemy. In most cases such kind of words were intentionally invented. Concerning Talaing word, Dr.Forchhammer, a well-known archaeologist, said that Talaing was invented by Alongbaya. Dr. Forchhammer make his contention clearly as he did not see any evidence, after conducted so many researches, which could suggest him to believe that Mon had been recorded in history as Talaing. (Nai Pe Thein Zar-24/10/09)
Sir, The origin, meaning and race of the word "Talaing" are controversial. In Burmese orthography according to U Tha Myat, Talaing is derived from Talingana or Taringana alluding to Talinga or Kalinga of the present "Orissa" region of India. If it is accepted the word has no derogatory meaning. The origin of the people is disputed, either from Kalinga, India, or from Southern China, its language belonging to the Mon-Khmer group. U Nai Pe Thein Za stated that the word " Talaing" is derived from Tai or Shan word "Tai Long" meaning "Shan Gyi".Then, it has no derogatory meaning at all.But, the Burmans never call the Shan (Tai) as Talaing or Tan Laing. In Burmese Tan Laing and Talaing are the same as Tagu and Tan Ku as well as Ta Saung Mone and Tan Saung Mone, names of the Burmese months, are the same. Ethnically I was told that there are 4 types of Mon or Talaing. A genetic study id needed to trace their origin.I like the Mon as they are polite and peaceful.I'm neither an historian nor a linguist, just a lover of history and Burmese races. Yours sincerely, Dr Maung Mung Nyo
Please bear in mind, King of Ava, Maha Dhamma Zaya Dhipati was the first person who used this word, ‘Talaing’ to attack his enemy, Okpho-Mattara Shan, (referred to ‘Kounbaung Shwe Pyi’/ Dr. Toe Hla) who revolted against him in 1740. It is absolutely wrong to say that Burman had never called the Shan as Talaing. Later in 1752, U Aungzaya (Alaungbaya), who rebelled against Mon who had been ruling in Ava, used this word, Talaing, again in attacking his enemy, Mon. So, according to the historical facts we know that Talaing can be Mon or Shan. Let us go back to the 11th century history for a moment. In those days, apart from Arakhaing People, there were only three main races struggled each other for the power of these regions, now called as Burma. They were, Mon, Burman and Tai Long (Shan). Shan had been known as Tai Long since they migrated into Burma from the south of China during 1st century of B.C. They had never called themselves as Shan, but instead Tai or Tai Long until today. But in those days Chinese called Tai Long people as southern barbarians. This is the main reason why Burman had not used Tai Long word widely but Shan instead. And this is why Dr. Maing Maung Nyo says that Burman had never called the Shan as Tai Long. But with the meaning of barbarians, extensively Burman had used this word ‘Tai Long’ during the war in order to humiliate their enemy i.e. Shan. To cut it short, in those days these three races Mon, Burman, and Tai Long had been living intermingled in some areas. So during 11th century when Sawlu Min put a name ‘Tan Laing Inn’ in his pillar to whom could it be possibly referred to? With just a common sense instantly we know that it was solely referred to Shan not Mon. As Burman could not write the word ‘Tai Long’ exactly as Shan did, they had to write according to their pronunciation as ‘Tan Laing’ instead. Not U Thar Myat as Dr. Maung Maung Nyo said, but definitely Sir Arthur P. Phayre, the first General-Governor of British Burma, who was the first person who designed the hypothesis that Mon came down from the southern part of India. Why? The reason was quite easy to understand. According to my understanding Phayre and British scholars in those days just wanted to relieve the agony inflicted upon Mon People by this word, ‘Talaing’ which had been abused by Burmans as a word with a meaning of ‘Down Trodden’. Of course his hypothesis was at last absolutely denied by the results of the researches conducted by well-known Historians around the world. (Nai Pe Thein Zar)
[Tan Laing and Talaing] Some believe that “Tan Laing” found in Saw Lu Min’s inscription (11th century) was the original word of Talaing. They argue that Talaing was derived from “Tan Laing”. In addition they want to argue that Mon had been known as Tan Laing or Talaing well before Alaung Baya’s era. In this regard Dr. Maung Maung Nyo want to reason that, as Tan Saung Mone can become Tasaung Mone and Tan Gu can become Tagu in Burmese writing, “Tan Laing” can simply become Talaing. As I am not an expert in Burmese literature, honestly I have no idea whether or not Tan Saung Mone could really become Tasaung Mone amd Tan Gu can really become Tagu. What I want to say is there was no evidence whatsoever to prove that “Tan Laing” in Saw Lu Min’s inscription was actually referred to Mon people. They just take “Tan Laing” for granted to say that Mon had been known as Tan Laing or Talaing well before Alaungbaya. In consequence they mistakenly said that Talaing was derived from “Tan Laing”. Apart from what they said is totally wrong; I would like to say that their reasoning is completely irrelevant to the case of Talaing. According to my research “Tan Laing” and Talaing were just different spellings for the same word, “Tai Long”. “Tai Long” was the original name of Shan people. When they migrated into Burma during the first century of B.C., they had been known as “Tai Long”. Until today Shan people prefer to be called as Tai or Tai Long rather than Shan. As Burman could not pronounce Tai Long properly, they had to pronounce as “Tan Laing” or Talaing. Only because of the variation of phonetic, Burman had written two different styles, Tan Laing first and later they changed it as Talaing. For example let us take the capital city of China. In old days they spelled as Peking and nowadays they change and spell as Beijing. These two different words are the result of phonetic variation; we can not say that Beijing was derived from Peking neither can we say that Peking was derived from Beijing. Another example is Pegue, the capital city of Mon Kingdom. Some westerners spelled as Pegue and some spelled as Bagoo. These two different spellings is the result of phonetic variation. We can not say Bagoo was derived from Pegue, nor is Pegue derived from Bagoo. The same hold true for “Tan Laing” and “Talaing”. These two different words, “Tan Laing” and Talaing were just the result of phonetic variation. They were Burmese usages for Shan’s word, “Tai Long”. So, we can not say Talaing was derived from “Tan Laing”, neither is it true to say that “Tan Laing” was derived from Talaing. Nai Pe Thein Zar (Federal University) ---------------------------------------
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