Ilay Andriandahy Kely, in Malagasy — an Austronesian language spoken in Madagascar.
Malagasy is the westernmost Malayo-Polynesian language, brought to Madagascar by the settlement of Austronesian peoples from the Sunda islands around the 5th century AD. The Malagasy language is one of the Barito languages and is most closely related to the Ma’anyan language, still spoken on Borneo to this day. Malagasy also includes numerous Malay and Javanese loanwords, from the time of the early Austronesian settlement and trading between Madagascar and the Sunda Islands. After c. 1000 CE, Malagasy incorporated numerous Bantu and Arabic loanwords, brought over by new settlers and traders. The language has also been influenced by French, which is still widely spoken in Madagascar as a second language.
Malagasy is spoken by around 25 million people in Madagascar and the Comoros. Most people in Madagascar speak it as a first language, as do some people of Malagasy descent elsewhere. Malagasy is divided between two main dialect groups; Eastern and Western. The central plateau of the island, where the capital Antananarivo and the old heartland of the Merina Kingdom is located, speaks the Merina dialect. The Merina dialect is the basis of Standard Malagasy, which is used by the government and media in Madagascar.
Malagasy is written in the Latin script introduced by Western missionaries in the early 19th century. Previously, the Sorabe script was used, a local development of the Arabic script. Despite efforts to promote the use of Malagasy, particularly in education and government, French remains the dominant language in many formal settings in Madagascar. However, Malagasy remains an important part of Malagasy culture and identity, and continues to evolve and thrive as a vibrant and unique language.