Malagasy (language)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spoken in

Madagascar , Comoros , Reunion
speaker approx. 19,000,000
Official status
Official language in MadagascarMadagascar Madagascar
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Malagasy , German also Malagassi or the Malagasy language ( French Malgache ), is the language of the Malagasy Foko , the indigenous ethnic groups.

It is the westernmost language of the Austronesian language family and, alongside French, one of the official languages of Madagascar . The closest related languages ​​outside of Madagascar are the languages ​​of the Eastern Barito group (including Ma'anyan ) in the Indonesian province of Kalimantan Tengah , in the south of the island of Borneo , which is almost 7000 km from Madagascar. The Malagasy came to Madagascar along with immigrants from Southeast Asia. According to different hypotheses, these migratory movements took place either around 450 AD (Dahl 1951) or in the 7th century AD (Adelaar 1989).

Malagasy as a spoken language (Wikitongues project)


The language has five vowels - phonemes . The stress is on the penultimate syllable, unless the word ends in ka , tra, or na . In this case, it is stressed on the third from last syllable. Elision often occurs with unstressed syllables.

The morphology is exclusively concatenative (“concatenating”), and up to five grammatical categories can be expressed on the verb . Reduplication is a productive mechanism in word formation . In Malagasy there is no gender ; the plural is not coded. There is a definite but not an indefinite article , that is, if there is no article, the noun phrase has an indefinite meaning. Malagasy knows (like many Austronesian languages) an inclusive-exclusive distinction in the personal pronoun for "we": isika (inclusive), izahay (exclusive).

The word order in Malagasy is of the Verb-Object-Subject (VOS) type. The case marking follows (as in German) the accusative scheme.

In the course of its language history, Malagasy has borrowed words from Bantu languages ( e.g. Swahili ), Arabic , English (e.g. book → boky) and French (savon → savony).


The Malagasy alphabet consists of 21 Latin letters: A, B, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, V, Y, Z . Accents (accent grave) can be added to the five vowels ( A, E, I, O, Y ), which indicate accents that deviate from the basic rules.

In the very regular spelling , i is always pronounced like / i / and written as y at the end of the word . y can only appear at the end of a word (exception: proper names) and i only in the middle of the word (exception: the word “i”, article before proper names). o is pronounced like / u /, oa like / o / and j like / ds / (IPA: [dz]). The h is mute. The s is like a German voiceless / s /, the z is a voiced / s / (IPA: [z]). Unstressed vowels, especially at the end, are often left out (elidated), so that olona "Mensch" is pronounced like [uln] and Malagasy sounds like its French transcription Malgache [mal'gaʃ] in some dialects - but in most dialects the word is Pronounced [mala'gas (i)] (or shortened to gasy ['gas (i)]).


  • KA Adelaar: Malay influence on Malagasy: linguistic and culture-historical implications . In: Oceanic Linguistics . Vol. 28/1, 1989, pp. 1-46.
  • O. Chr. Dahl: Malgache et Maanjan . Egede Instituttet, Oslo 1951.
  • Martin Haspelmath et al. (Ed.): The World Atlas of Language Structures . Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • John Alden Houlder: Ohabolana, ou proverbes malgaches. Imprimerie Luthérienne, Tananarive 1960.


  • GW Parker: A concise grammar of the Malagasy language . Trübner, London 1883.


  • Joseph Biddulph: An introduction to Malagasy . Biddulph, Pontypridd (Wales) 1997.
  • Janie Rasoloson: Textbook of the Malagasy language: with exercises and solutions . Buske, Hamburg 1997.


  • Ludmilla Kartaschowa: Conversation book German-Malagasy / Resadresaka tsotra Alemana-Malagasy . Verlag Enzyklopädie, Leipzig 1990. (translated from Russian)
  • Janie Rasoloson: Phrasebook Malagasy . Buske, Hamburg 2000.
  • Janie Rasoloson: Malagasy-English, English-Malagasy Dictionary and Phrasebook . Hippocrene Books 2001.
  • Helena Ravoson Voahanginirina: Malagasy for globetrotters . Rump, Bielefeld 1989.
  • Rasoanaivo Hanitrarivo: Malagasy Basics . FMS Publications, London 1992. (With cassette).


  • Henning Bergenholtz: German-Malagasy dictionary . Tsipika, Antananarivo and Aragon, Moers 1994.
  • Henning Bergenholtz, Suzy Rajaonarivo, Rolande Ramasomanana, Baovola Radanielina, Jürgen Richter-Johanningmeier, Eckehart Olszowski, Volker Zeiss: Malagasy-German dictionary . Tsipika, Antananarivo and Aragon, Moers 1991.
  • Étienne de Flacourt et al. Gabriel Ferrand: Dictionnaire de la langue de Madagascar: d'après l'édition de 1658 et l'Histoire de la grande Isle Madagascar de 1661 . Leroux, Paris 1905.

Web links

Wiktionary: Malagasy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Malagassi  - explanations of meanings, word origins , synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Malagasy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Malagassi. Duden, accessed on September 23, 2014 .