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Malagasy language facts for kids

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Native to Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte
Native speakers 18 million  (2007)
Language family
Writing system Latin script (Malagasy alphabet)
Malagasy Braille
Official status
Official language in  Madagascar

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

  • 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. < >.

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