South and south-east Asian scripts
DOI link for South and south-east Asian scripts
South and south-east Asian scripts book
In south-east Asia, too, most scripts, for example, those in Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, are ultimately derived from Brahmi. The principal exceptions are Malay, which used Arabic script before the European colonial era but now uses Latin, and Vietnamese, which adopted the Latin alphabet relatively recently, having previously used Chinese. When the British East India Company ruled India, Persian was the language of administration. When the British government took over in 1858, English became that language, but the largely native civil service preferred to continue the use of the Persian script although it gradually morphed into what became known as Hindustani by being based on Hindi phonology. Phonetics was much studied in ancient India and the collation of letters in Devanagari and the majority of other scripts of south and south-east Asia dates from the Brahmi and Sanskrit of that time.