A to Z challenge · Bloggers · languages

M is for … Malagasy

Blogging from A to Z

Theme: Languages of the World


Malagasy is spoken on the island of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa. Despite its close proximity to Africa, however, Malagasy is not a member of any African language family. Rather, it is a group of closely related varieties representing the westernmost extension of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. Its closest relative outside of Madagascar is Ma’anyan in southeast Borneo. The indigenous people of Madagascar, who make up some 36 tribes and are of mixed Indonesian and African stock, are also known as Malagasy.

Africans and Indonesians reached the island of Madagascar in about the 5th century AD. Indonesians most probably came from southeast Borneo where close relatives of Malagasy, such as Ma’anyan, are still spoken today. The Malagasy immigrants came in contact with settlers from the east coast of Africa who spoke Bantu languages. As a result, Malagasy exhibits Bantu influence in its sound system and vocabulary. Indonesian immigration continuing until the 15th century. By the beginning of the 17th century there were a number of small Malagasy kingdoms. At the end of the 18th century, the Merina people conquered the other kingdoms on the island. In the 19th century, European missionaries codified and recorded the main Merina dialect on which the present standard dialect is based.

Fascinating facts about Malagasy and Madagascar

There are 25.5 million Malagasies, making it a more populous country than Australia, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands, Romania and Greece.

It had a mad queen – Ranavalona. She thwarted European efforts to gain sway over Madagascar during her 33-year rule, but also focused her energies on brutally eradicating Christians, neighbouring kingdoms and political rivals. One way Ranavalona maintained order was the tangena ordeal, by which the accused was poisoned, and then forced to eat three pieces of chicken skin. Death, or the failure to regurgitate all three pieces, indicated guilt.

Half the world’s chameleons live here.

Gerald Durrell was a fan. The naturalist’s last wildlife expedition was to Madagascar, a trip he recollects in his book The Aye-Aye and I.

Considering its vast size, Madagascar has very few railways – just 854 kilometres of track, to be precise. Getting around the country typically involves a shared taxi (or taxi-be in Malagasy).

The island’s secluded coves, and the absence for centuries of European powers, meant Madagascar was once a safe haven for hundreds of pirates. One, Captain James Misson, supposedly founded an anarchist colony (Libertatia) there in the late 17th century, while Ile Sainte-Marie, four miles off Madagascar’s east coast, was simply referred to as “the island of pirates” on maps from the time. Countless brigands, including Captain Kidd, took shelter there when they weren’t looting booty. Some are buried in the island’s cemetery.

Thanks for reading 🙂

FREE for a limited time · free on Amazon · Lacey's Law · moving on · women's fiction

Lacey’s last stance

This is the last week of Kindle Unlimited for Lacey’s Law, and to celebrate her release from KU’s stranglehold her story will be FREE to download from today until April 18th.

Lacey Fielding knows two things to be true: grief is real and revenge is inevitable.

After learning the truth about her father’s death many years ago, Lacey feels justice must
be served. When fate lends a helping hand, she forges ahead to right the wrong done to her family. With her target in sight, she concocts the perfect plan, but as has happened before, life throws a curveball. Her best-laid plans begin to crumble and her road to revenge leads down a path she would never have imagined possible for her.

Carla has spent the last thirty years living her life under the guise of being a true friend. So comfortable in her place in Lacey’s life, she has no idea what’s in store for her. That blissful ignorance is not destined to last and as events spiral out of her control, her sanity and freedom are in doubt.

When the lines between friendship, betrayal, revenge and love are crossed, lives are changed. The question is – will that change be for the better or only make matters worse?


Thank you to everyone who has grabbed a copy, whether paid or free, your support has been invaluable.

From May, Lacey’s Law will no longer be available via Amazon, but can be found at other retailers or directly from this site.

Thanks for reading 🙂

a dog's life · best friend · birthday

Happy Barkday, Rusty

No books are allowed in this post, because it’s dedicated to my most loyal buddy, Rusty, who turns 14 today.

To celebrate, we’re off to the beach to sniff every post and blade of grass, and to roll in the seaweed.

It’ll all end with a nap in the sunshine before teatime.

It’s a dog’s life 😉


(Had to phrase it that way, since little bro is watching 😉 and well, dogs really do get jealous, you know!)