Malagasy, an Austronesian language, is spoken by everyone on the island. The term “Malagasy” also refers to the island’s language and inhabitants. Because of the island’s size, there are many dialects. The Merina dialect is the island’s “Official Malagasy” and is spoken in the Antananarivo highlands. The majority of Malagasy, on the other hand, speak Merina across the island. The Malagasy people appreciate and support outsiders’ attempts to learn and speak Malagasy. Malagasy is now the everyday language of 98 percent of Madagascar’s people, and it has been utilized as a language of instruction in certain schools since 1972. Malagasy is more closely linked to languages spoken in maritime Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands than to other African languages as an Austronesian language.
French is Madagascar’s second official language, and most people in parks and other touristic places speak fluent French; knowing a little French can make any trip to Madagascar a lot simpler. Most parks will have at least a few English-speaking guides, since English is becoming more widely spoken. Italian, German, Spanish, and Japanese are all spoken to a lesser degree in tourist-friendly regions.
Some basic Malagasy terminology to help you communicate with Malagasy people (please remember that the Malagasy language is divided into several regional dialects throughout the country):
Vowels are treated as if they were French, and consonants are treated as if they were English in Malagasy pronunciation.