Malagasy

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Malagasy

1. a native or inhabitant of Madagascar
2. the official language of Madagascar belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian family
3. of or relating to Madagascar, its people, or their language

Malagasy

 

a people and basic population of the Malagasy Republic. They number approximately 6.5 million (1970, estimate) and speak Malagasy. A large number are Christians, both Protestant and Catholic. Traditional beliefs derived from ancestor worship also survive. The question of the origin of the Malagasy has not been fully answered. The first inhabitants probably came to Madagascar from southeastern Africa. From the tenth century B.C. to the tenth century A.D. the island was settled by successive waves of migrants from the islands of Southeast Asia, who completely assimilated the older population. The Malagasy’s Negroid features are the only evidence of an ancient Negroid substratum.

The Malagasy are usually divided into ethnic groups, erroneously called tribes in bourgeois writings. The most important groups are the Merina of the central plateau and the Betsileo to the south of the Merina, both of whom practice irrigation farming and animal husbandry; the Betsimisaraka, who live along the eastern coast and grow tropical fruits and vegetables; the Sakalava, who inhabit the western coastal plains and practice the extensive form of livestock raising; and the Antandroy and Antanosy, who inhabit the arid southern regions and raise sheep and goats. Beginning in the colonial period (late 19th century) and particularly since the gaining of independence in 1960, the Malagasy have developed along capitalist lines. A native bourgeoisie, working class, and intelligentsia have evolved.

REFERENCES

Narody Afriki. Moscow, 1954. (With bibliography.)
Boiteau, P. Madagaskar: Ocherkipo istorii mal’gashskoi natsii. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from French.)
Rabemananjara, R. W. Madagaskar. Istoriia mal’gashskoi natsii. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from French.)
Faublée, J. L’Ethnographie de Madagascar. Paris, 1946.
Dandonau, A., and G. S. Chapus. Histoire despopulations de Madagascar. Paris, 1952.

A. S. ORLOVA


Malagasy

 

the language of the Malagasy people, one of the official languages of the Malagasy Republic. It is spoken on the islands of Madagascar, Nosy Bé, Sainte Marie, and several other islands of the Malagasy Republic. Malagasy belongs to the Indonesian branch of the Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) family, within which it occupies a special position. It is spoken by more than 7 million people (1970, estimate).

Modern Malagasy has six vowels, two diphthongs, and 22 consonants. Parts of speech are weakly differentiated. The language has indicative and imperative moods and active and passive voices, and tenses are formed with prefixes: m- for the present, n- for the past, and h- for the future. There are five participle forms and a special “relative,” or “adverbial,” form (found only in Malagasy), which expresses the predicate with adverbial modifiers of time, place, and so forth. The logical stress in the sentence falls on the adverbial modifiers, for example, “just yesterday” + relative form + subject. The noun is not inflected for number, gender, or case. The predicate occurs first in a sentence and the subject usually last; an attribute follows the word it modifies. Malagasy has borrowed elements from Sanskrit, Arabic, Swahili, French, and English. A literary language, based on the Imerina dialect, began to develop in the second half of the 19th century. The Malagasy writing system has employed the Latin script since the early 19th century.

REFERENCES

Arakin, V. D. Mal’gashskii iazyk. Moscow, 1963.
Korneev, L. A. Mal’gashsko-russkii slovar’. Moscow, 1966.
Dama-Ntsoha. Précis de linguistique de la langue malgache. Tananarive, 1952.
Malzac, R. P. Grammaire malgache, 3rd ed. Paris, 1950.
Rajaobelina, P. Gramera malagasy. Tananarive, 1958.
Garvey, C. J. Malagasy Introductory Course. Washington, 1964.

V. D. ARAKIN

References in periodicals archive ?
Madagascar was colonized by the French for about 60 years, so there are more Malagasies fluent in French than English.
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