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Malagasy language

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Native toMadagascar, Comoros, Mayotte
Native speakers18 million  (2007)[1]
Language family
Writing systemLatin script (Malagasy alphabet)
Malagasy Braille
Official status
Official language in Madagascar
Language codes
ISO 639-1mg
ISO 639-2mlg (B)
mlg (T)
ISO 639-3mlginclusive code
Individual codes:
xmv – Antankarana
bhr – Bara
msh – Masikoro
bmm – Northern Betsimisaraka
plt – Plateau Malagasy
skg – Sakalava
bzc – Southern Betsimisaraka
tdx – Tandroy-Mafahaly
txy – Tanosy
tkg – Tesaka
xmw – Tsimihety

Malagasy is an Austronesian language that is spoken in Madagascar. It is an Austronesian language. It is related to languages such as Indonesian, Javanese and Maori. That means that Malagasy is related to languages spoken in Indonesia. This is probably because immigrants from Indonesia came to Madagascar until A.D. 1400. It is the only Austronesian language spoken in Africa.


Malagasy is written using the English alphabet, but without c, q, u, w and x. No accents or other diacritical marks are used. It was invented by David Jones as a replacement for Sorabe (a type of Arabic script). Most letters have their IPA values. However, y and i are both pronounced like /i/ and h is often silent. A few consonant digraphs (tr, dr, ts) are used.

Examples of words

Manoa ahoana - Hello

Veloma - Goodbye

Nenibe - Grandmother

Dadabe - Grandfather


  1. Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  • Desanker, Paul V., Peri M. Klemm, Kenneth J. Perkins, Kwesi Kwaa Prah, and Paul Tiyambe Zeleza. "Africa." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.
  • Fetter, Bruce S. "Madagascar." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.
  • "Madagascar." SIRS Discoverer: Culture Facts. Sept. 16 2002: n.p. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
  • "Madagascar (Archive)." SIRS Discoverer: Country Facts. 2010: n.p. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
  • "Consonant Digraphs." First School Years. Web. 2 June 2014. <>.