Talk:Malagasy language

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2006 comments[edit]

Hmm...not nearly as much information as I was hoping for. Surely the English speaking world knows more about the Malagasy language than this? More on phonology, grammar, anything! Is Malagasy isolating or agglutinative? Ergative or nominative-accustaive? How do nouns and verbs inflect, if at all? Genders? And so many other basic questions...--C.M. 16:14, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

There are several issues with this page:

1) Madagascar is home to around 17 million people, most of whom speak Malagasy, not 6 million as stated in the article. 2) I have heard of between 18-21 tribes in Madagascar, not 36 as stated in the article. I say 18-21 instead of one number because it is not generally agreed upon. --Brownlemur 20:28, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Malagasy on Wiktionary.[edit]

While this isn't necessarily related to this article, why in the world does Malagasy have so many Wiktionary articles? It has over 1 million, right up there with Chinese, French and English. No offense to the people who speak it, but I can't for the life of me figure out why a relatively obscure language, and in a place that isn't all that developed, has so many. -- (talk) 21:59, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Clearly there are quite a few people out there who are passionate about getting Madagascar represented on the net. I applaud them. :) Lemurbaby (talk) 12:00, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I noticed the same thing just today. I've visited the site, but can't quite work out the language to figure out whether it's the work of a whole community or just a select group of people translating existing Wiktionary projects and diving into Malagasy dictionaries. I'd love to find out, though.Rubykuby (talk) 19:50, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
The place is not developped. And then? Having a non-developped country does not avoid us to make such things. What do you think some people outside Madagascar do? Maybe most of Malagasy do not have money enough, but that has no importance. A few amount of us can use a computer like an European or an American do. You just need to be inventive and things can go fast, very fast, as has noticed. --Jagwar - (( talk )) 21:29, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Still, it's weird to have a language with just 18 million native speakers (in 2007) have a number even close to that of English and French. They must be very dedicated! (talk) 19:54, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
You can read about it here: 2:17, 4 April 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Malagasy literature?[edit]

Some open questions:

-- Petri Krohn 14:46, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

When the French established Fort-Dauphin in the 17th century, they found an arabico-malagasy script in use. The oldest known document in that script is a short Malagasy-Dutch vocabulary from the early 17th century first published in 1908 by Gabriel Ferrand. Radama I, the first literate representative of the Merina monarchy, though extensively versed in the arabico-malagasy tradition, opted for alphabetization in Latin characters and invited the Protestant London Missionary Society to establish schools and churches. Eklir (talk) 20:32, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the information. I corrected Radama I of Madagascar based on this. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:50, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
P.S. - I see you have already expanded this article. One question remains: what is the relationship between the Sorabe alphabet, the Ajami script and the arabico-malagasy script? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:01, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Malagasy Scouting[edit]

Can someone render "Be Prepared", the Scout Motto, into Malagasy? Thanks! Chris 03:27, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

We say : voahomana Jagwar - ((talk)) 17:52, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Redundant categorization[edit]

There is no reason for a language to appear in both a sub-group category and in the main language family. I am gradually removing most individual languages from Category:Austronesian languages. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 09:07, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Thank you. kwami (talk) 19:50, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
You're welcome! I'll appreciate your assistance at Talk:Borneo-Philippines languages. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 20:05, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
I feel that the procedure of removing individual languages from main language family categories is scientifically unwarranted, especially in cases where subgrouping techniques are contested as is the case for Austronesian where foundations for classification are unstable and moving, especially since techniques, in the absence of phylogenetical certainties, took a definitely typological bent. The procedure also conflicts with other editorial decisions that were made when allowing cross-referencings such as List of Austronesian languages and List of Austronesian regions. Eklir (talk) 21:53, 1 August 2008 (UTC)


Is there a free translator from English to Malagasy? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:50, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Yes, there is one : in freelang, this is the link :

-- (talk) 11:03, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

PS: I added it in the main article as External link. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

This one does English, French and Malagasy:

Lemurbaby (talk) 16:30, 5 December 2010 (UTC)


We should use the IPA for sentences in mapagasy. Jagwar - ((talk)) 17:56, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

The IPA for the sentences could use a bit of elucidation. What exactly do superscripted vowels denote, for example? This might be a specialist notation, and that's fine, but anyone who knows general IPA should (in theory) be able to pronounce those, and there ought to be a key somewhere if it is a specialist notation. Also, is this an informal pronunciation? That's mostly out of curiosity; the preceding section notes that vowels are devoiced or elided when speaking rapidly, and it looks like that has been applied everywhere. Vaaarr (talk) 17:04, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, superscripted vowels are used here to note the deformation of the consonant like « j » in the palatalized t (« tj »). They are generally omitted when speaking rapidly but they must be pronounced when speaking slowly or loudly, or when the following word starts with a consonant. The phonetic transcription of fanorona ([fḁˈnurnḁ]) is incorrect if is a elisioned vowel : labial deformaiton has been omitted (It should be /fa.ˈḁ/). --Jagwar - (( talk )) 18:56, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Interesting then. It might be good for the sake of the article to give the table a second column of pronunciation, so that the rapid pronunciation is listed alongside the careful pronunciation. Few articles get to that level of detail in terms of variation, which is something that pains me. A propos Jagwar, je vois que vous êtes un(e) francophone. Je sais aussi bien parler français, pas très courant, mais en tout cas, en train de discuter ceci vous pouvez utiliser celle que vous trouvez la plus agréable, pour faciliter la communication, pourvu qu'on fournit des traductions. [Approximate translation: Jagwar and I might talk in French on this point to ease communication, since we both turn out to be Francophones, and we should provide translations] Vaaarr (talk) 23:36, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
(j'ai corrigé les fautes d'accents que vous avez commis, and I made translation of the words which may be difficult to be understood) Il est bien rare de discuter en français sur la wikipédia anglophone, mais si vous pouvez comprendre ce que j'écris, il n'y a pas de quoi (vous me facilitez (make easy) vraiment la communication, croyez-moi) ; alors, commençons : l'élision des voyelles (vowel) se fait généralement lorsqu'ils sont à la fin des pour la voyelle finale a ; et à la fin du mot pour les voyelles y et o (qui sont respectivement prononcées /i/ ou /j/ et /u/ ou /w/) sauf pour les mots monosyllabiques tels que ny ou encore vy. La règle est simple, et en tout cas, logique. Une règle (rule) équivalente existe en français pour la lettre e (prononcé dans 99 pour cent des cas /ə/ à la fin des mots)
trans : the elision of vowels occurs at the end of sentences for letter a and at the end of words for o and y, except for monosyllabics like ny, vy where tonic accent must be put). An equivalent rule exists in french for the letter e.
Bien cordialement, --Jagwar - (( talk )) 11:16, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Corriger des fautes, ca m'est egal, les "fautes" ne sont que la faute de mon ordinateur, qui n'ont pas un methode facile pour ajouter des lettres avec accent. Je comprends le francais specialise pour des etudes linguistiques, alors il ne vaut pas le peine d'ajouter les traductions pour ces mots. Si on continuera comme ca, le francais dominera la page, alors nous devrions continuer a mon sandbox, j'ai etabli un espace pour ca. [trans: some banter, and then: this might get long, so we should move this discussion to a space that I set up on my sandbox so that French doesn't dominate the page.] Vaaarr (talk) 23:14, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm copying the rest of the conversation at User:Vaaarr/sandbox#Malagasy_Talk here, as it's interesting and pertinent to the article. — kwami (talk) 11:34, 29 May 2011 (UTC):

Autre choses concernant les règles d'élision : celles-ci s'élident lorsque l'accent tonique primaire est passée. C'est-à-dire, que lorsque l'accent tonique principal (notamment celui du radical) a été prononcée, tous les voyelles des syllabes suivantes s'élident, sauf si le mot contient une voyelle /e/ après la place de l'accent tonique (par exemple : kapaike se prononce /ka.ˈ
Une autre règle concernant l'accent tonique : le katrana, qui se réfère aux trois syllabes élidées à la fin des mots. Lorsqu'un mot se termine par un des trois syllabes citées précédemment, l'accent tonique est sur l'avant-avant-dernière syllabe du mot sauf si le mot contient une voyelle /e/ après la place de l'accent tonique (par exemple sorena se prononce /su.ˈ et torina se prononce /ˈ Cependant, des irrégularités d'accent tonique existent dûs notamment aux racines phonétiquement monosyllabiques. --Jagwar - (( talk )) 08:55, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Avant de repondre: les lettres <<a>> eleves veulent dire quoi exactement (utilisant IPA)? J'avais suppose qu'ils denotaient des voyelles [a] elisees, mais je peux a la fois remarquer que les lettres <<j>> et <<w>> eleves ne denote que la palatisation et la labialisation, pas voyelles propres. Pour les <<o>> et les <<e>> j'ai la meme question. Il faut etre tout clair, eh. Vaaarr (talk) 07:33, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Je suis désolé pour la réponse tardive, j'etais en effet en train de m'occuper du Wiktionnaire en malgache,
Au risque de passer pour un radoteur, je vais reformuler ce que j'avais dit. Les lettres a élevées se prononcent comme un a expiré mais non prononcé. Quant à la lettre "o", elle se prononce u dans tous les mots malgaches (je ne parle pas des emprunts lexicaux éventuels). Cette voyelle déforme les consonnes placées en fin de mot en les labialisant. Le y qui n'est qu'un i final, déforme la consonne finale en fin de mot en la palatalisant. Quant à la voyelle e, elle ne s'élide jamais et prend au contraire l'accent tonique (sauf dans certains accents régionaux, qui sont parlés sur la côte ouest de Madagascar ; bien que cette exception existe, elle est toutefois rare).
(PS) Les déformations labiales, palatales et "pulmoniques" en milieu de mot sont des déformations qui résultent de la règle ka-tra-na. Cette règle s'applique sur tous les mots se terminant par les syllabes ka, tra et na, d'où son nom. Cette règle stipule que tous les mots (se terminant par les syllabes que j'ai cités précédemment) doivent porter leur accent tonique sur l'avant-avant-dernière syllabe du mot ; ce qui fait que tous les syllabes suivants ayant comme voyelles i/y et o déforment leur consonnes en les palatalisant ou en les labialisant ; en ce qui concerne le a, elle tend vers la voyelle ɐ mais elle ne devient pas "pulmonique". Les syllabes ayant comme voyelle e sont prioritaire pour l'accentuation s'ils se trouvent dans les deux dernières syllabes (en règles générale) ou sur les trois dernières syllabes (pour les mots en -ka, -tra ou en -na).
J'espère que mes explications vous ont aidé. Cordialement, --Jagwar - (( talk )) 11:46, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Links to Malagasy Audio[edit]

Hi all - Regarding the link to Malagasy audio just added to the page, it's true that it does not work consistently and I don't understand why. But when it does work, we have some much needed audio for this page. Perhaps we should unlink it after we are able to either find a better outside link or can find someone willing to record pronunciations for this page. Any volunteers or suggestions for Malagasy audio? Lemurbaby (talk) 15:52, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Hi Lemurbaby! On my personal website I am running an online Malagasy-Czech dictionary with pronunciation recs. However, on the English lang. version of my page I have also a pure list of words with pronunciation recorded by a native Malagasy - by now about 650 recorded words, still working on others. The address is [] ... see if this is of any use for you. All the best Tominiko (talk) 04:34, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Early references[edit]

In Sir Thomas Herbert's travel literature Some yeares travels into divers parts of Afrique and Asia he describes the language of the native people of Madagascar which can only be assumed to be the Malagasy language. He writes down the numbers 1 to 10 which bear partial resemblence to Malagasy:

...neceſſity has taught them ſome parts of the rudiments of Arithmetick; the number 10. limits their invention, Iſſo,1., Tone,2., Tello,3., Effad,4., Fruto,5., Woubla,6., Sidda,7., Fonlo,8., Malo,9., Nel,10.,...

Jakeybean (talk) 19:47, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

The earliest known writing in Arabic script seem to be from about the same time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:42, 1 April 2011 (UTC)


Note that van Reeland seems to have mentioned the Malayan languages only, and not the alleged Austronesian group. At the least, we need a quotation from the Dutchman. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:33, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Dempwolff, in 1920, seems to have been the first to refer to Austronesian. I am not sure that van Reeland even referred to Polynesian. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:42, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Polynesian languages did not come to the notice of Europeans in any big way until after 1708. It seems that
Van Reeland was speaking of Malayan languages only.
Roger Blench contradicts himself. In the text, he uses words like "Polynesian" and "Austronesian", then, in note 1, he admits that
"earlier sources" only refer to "Malay" and "Indonesians".
The Ethnologue web-site does not contain a quotation from Houtman or van Reeland at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:18, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

For GA expansion[edit]

The Tamil language article is at FA and offers a good model for improving this. The article is arranged in this order:

   :1 Classification
   :2 History
      ::2.1 Etymology
      ::2.2 Old Tamil
      ::2.3 Middle Tamil
      ::2.4 Modern Tamil
   :3 Geographic distribution
   :4 Legal status
   :5 Dialects
       ::5.1 Region specific variations
          :::5.1.1 Loanword variations
   :6 Spoken and literary variants
   :7 Writing system
   :8 Phonology
       ::8.1 Vowels
       ::8.2 Consonants
       ::8.3 Āytam
       ::8.4 Numerals and symbols
   :9 Grammar
       ::9.1 Morphology
       ::9.2 Syntax
   :10 Vocabulary
   :11 Influence
   :12 See also
   :13 Footnotes
   :14 References
   :15 External links
Useful resources here: history of transcription, gendered language use, visibility online, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, and 37. - Lemurbaby (talk) 15:49, 1 June 2015 (UTC)


If orthographic mp, nd and so on are really prenasalized and not just nasal + oral stop sequences, why isn't it taken into account anywhere in the transcription? (talk) 22:31, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

Malagasy language materials[edit]

Malagasy for beginners

Introduction to the Malagasy language

A concise grammar of the Malagasy language (1883)

Diksionary englisy sy malagasy ho any izay mianatra teny englisy (1875)

Ny Diksionary amin ny Baiboly


Vocabulaire français-malgache

Dictionnaire français malgache

R. P. H. Dubois. (1917). Essai de dictionnaire betsileo. Première partie: A-L.

Introduction au malgache

Grammaire malgache hova

Précis théorique et pratique de langue malgache : pour faciliter l'usage rapide du HOVA, clef des autres dialectes (1904)

Elements de malgache

Essai de grammaire malgache

History of Madagascar. Comprising also the progress of the Christian mission established in 1818, and an authentic account of the persecution and recent martyrdom of the native Christians (1838)

Three visits to Madagascar during the years 1853-1854-1856. Including a journey to the capital; with notices of the natural history of the country and of the present civilization of the people (1859)

Madagascar; or, Robert Drury's journal, during fifteen years' captivity on that island. And a further description of Madagascar, by the Abbé Alexis Rochon (1890)

Rajmaan (talk) 14:25, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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