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Malagasy and French are the two official languages of Madagascar. Malagasy belongs to the Malay-Polynesian language family. The main colloquial language is Hova, spoken by the Merina, the largest population group.

French is mainly spoken in cities and in business. French lessons are also taught in education, especially in secondary education. English is really only spoken in the capital and the tourist centers. The Malagasy alphabet consists of 21 letters. The C, Q, U, W and X do not appear in the alphabet. In recent years, books and newspapers have also been published in Malagasy.

Map of the dialects of the Malagasy language Map of the dialects of the Malagasy language Photo: User:SUM1 CC 4.0 International no changes made

To give an impression of Malagasy the following words:


Bradt, H. / Madagascar

Greenway, P. / Madagascar & Comoros
Lonely Planet

Lanting, F. / Madagascar : een wereld verdwaald in de tijd

Rozeboom, A. / Madagaskar: mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur, milieu
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen/Novib

Stevens, R. / Madagascar
Chelsea House Publishers

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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