Published October 25, 2018
This video was recorded by Harry Wilson in Sonora, Mexico and features native Malagasy speaker Haingo. Malagasy is spoken by roughly 25 million native speakers worldwide. The variety of Malagasy known as Merina has achieved prominence as the national language of Madagascar, where most speak it natively. Malagasy is the westernmost Malayo-Polynesian language within the Austronesian language family, and Ethnologue reports roughly 12 varieties of Malagasy as distinct languages. The earliest writings in Malagasy are attested in the 1400s in a script known as Sorabe, an Arabico-Malagasy system thought to be introduced in the 15th century. Sorabe is an Ajami, meaning an Arabic alphabet applied typically to African languages. Malagasy contains a highly complex system of deixis, words such as English 'these', 'those', and 'there' that refer and depend upon contextual information to be understood. Additionally, Malagasy makes use of evidentiality, the linguistic feature that encodes how a speaker has obtained the information they are relaying.