Malagasy, Plateau


A language of Madagascar

Alternate Names
Ambaniandro, Borizany, Fiteny Malagasy, Hova, Malgache, Official Malagasy, Standard Malagasy, Teny ofisiealy

7,520,000 in Madagascar (2011 SIL). Total users in all countries: 7,544,380.


Antanarivo and Fianarantsoa provinces; Mahajanga province: Betsiboka region.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (2010, Provisional Constitution, Article 6), use limited in higher education.


Merina, Betsileo, Sihanaka, Bezanozano, Tanala, Vakinankaritra, Zafimaniry. Reportedly the most similar language outside Madagascar is Ma’anyan [mhy] in south Borneo (Kalimantan, Indonesia). A member of macrolanguage Malagasy [mlg].


VOS; prepositions; noun head initial; definite article; verb affixes mark person, number; active, passive and circumstantial voices; tense; causatives; 29 consonants, 5 vowels, 3 diphthongs; non-tonal; stress on penultimate syllable; inclusive/exclusive pronouns.

Language Development

Fully developed. Bible: 1835–2011.


Braille script [Brai]. Latin script [Latn], primary usage.

Other Comments

The standard is most similar to the Merina dialect, with loans incorporated from Bantu languages, Swahili [swh], Arabic, English, French. Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.

Also spoken in:

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