Learn Malagasy

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About Malagasy

Malagasy (Fiteny Malagasy) is the national language of Madagascar. It is the westernmost of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, a group that spreads all the way to Hawaii and includes languages like Malay, Tagalog and Maori. Due to its geographical situation, its vocabulary and sounds have been influenced by the Swahili language, as well as by Arabic, English and French. In Madagascar, Malagasy is a co-official language with French and most Madagascans are bilingual in these languages. Malagasy is also spoken on the islands of Comoros and Réunion.

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East Barito

Fun facts — Malagasy

  • When travelling in Madagascar, it is important to respect the 'fady' or traditional taboos, which vary from region to region. For example, it is forbidden to point at a grave and to work on certain days of the week.
  • The formal word for 'you' is 'tompoko', which literally means 'my master / mistress'.
  • Despite being spoken on an island off the coast of East Africa, Malagasy is actually related to Malay, Indonesian, Filipino and the various Polynesian languages.

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