If you’re looking for assistance on a project involving Malagasy, we can help.
As a language service provider with a focus on Africa, we have a wide network of linguists from across the continent including from Madagascar and the Comoros.
Very much a rare language in terms of its use within translation, we advise you contact us to discuss your particular project or needs so we can best advise.
If you’re new to Malagasy, you’ll find a brief outline below.
- Alternate names & spellings: ø.
- Language ISO code: mg/mlg
- Number of speakers: about 17 million speakers
- Writing system: It is based on the Latin alphabet and consists on 21 letters.
- Spoken in: Madagascar, the Comoros and Réunion.
The Malagasy language is part of the Austronesian language family, which is one of the largest language families of the world and belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch. Malagasy is a group of related language varieties spoken on the island of Madagascar, where is the official language along with French, the Comoros and Réunion. Malagasy is also related to the South-East Barito subgroup, which are spoken in Borneo. On the other hand, the indigenous people of Madagascar, of African and Indonesian roots, are known as Malagasy.
Both Africans and Indonesians reached Madagascar in the 5th century AD. It is assume that Indonesians came from Borneo and they came in contact with Africans settlers coming from the eastern coast of the continent who spoke Bantu language. Later on in the 19th century European missionaries codified the main Medina dialect on which the nowadays standard dialect is based on. During the French colonization, the Malagasy language was relegated to an inferior position meanwhile the French language enjoyed the privileges of the dominant language. Currently French continues being considered the language with more status very much due to its international recognition, nevertheless, both languages are official and are used by the media and the government institutions.
The standard Malagasy (name also as Malagasy Plateau) is considered the official Malagasy dialect and it is based in the Merina dialect spoken in the capital, Antananarivo. The rest of the dialects are quite similar to it, which means they are mutually intelligible. Some other important dialects include Antankarana (northern part of the island), Betsimisaraka (spoken in the east part of the country) and Tandroy-Mahafaly (spoken in the southern part of the island).