Malagasy language

Malagasy (/mæləˈɡæsi/;[2] Malagasy pronunciation: [maləˈɡasʲ]) is an Austronesian language and the national language of Madagascar. Malagasy is the westernmost Malayo-Polynesian language, brought to Madagascar by the settlement of Austronesian peoples from the Sunda islands around the 5th century AD. The Malagasy language is one of the Barito languages and is most closely related to the Ma'anyan language, still spoken on Borneo to this day. Malagasy also includes numerous Malay and Javanese loanwords, from the time of the early Austronesian settlement and trading between Madagascar and the Sunda Islands.[3] After c. 1000 AD, Malagasy incorporated numerous Bantu and Arabic loanwords, brought over by new settlers and traders.

Native toMadagascar
Native speakers
25 million (2015)[1]
Latin script (Malagasy alphabet)
Sorabe alphabet (Historically)
Malagasy Braille
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1mg
ISO 639-2mlg
ISO 639-3mlg – inclusive code
Individual codes:
xmv  Antankarana
bhr  Bara
buc  Bushi
msh  Masikoro
bmm  Northern Betsimisaraka
plt  Plateau Malagasy
skg  Sakalava
bzc  Southern Betsimisaraka
tdx  Tandroy-Mafahaly
txy  Tanosy
tkg  Tesaka
xmw  Tsimihety
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A woman speaking Malagasy.

Malagasy is spoken by around 25 million people in Madagascar and the Comoros. Most people in Madagascar speak it as a first language, as do some people of Malagasy descent elsewhere. Malagasy is divided between two main dialect groups; Eastern and Western. The central plateau of the island, where the capital Antananarivo and the old heartland of the Merina Kingdom is located, speaks the Merina dialect. The Merina dialect is the basis of Standard Malagasy, which is used by the government and media in Madagascar. Standard Malagasy is one of two official languages of Madagascar alongside French, in the 2010 constitution of the Fourth Republic of Madagascar.

Malagasy is written in the Latin script introduced by Western missionaries in the early 19th century. Previously, the Sorabe script was used, a local development of the Arabic script.

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