Sunshine Abroad

The trials and rewards of French translation and beyond

Manao ahoana!

That's how you greet someone in Malagasy. But, like many languages, they tend to smoosh some of their sounds together, and they drop the last vowel of every word like it's their job. So it's really pronounced more like "Manaoon!" Yes, with the exclamation point -- Malagasy is a very sung language.

In addition, as it turns out, Malagasy has more English influences than French. No one's sure of exactly why, but the British did definitely have an earlier presence on the island. Maybe that explains the fact that they pronounce their months almost exactly like us, even if the spelling is pretty different.

Also, the Malagasy alphabet only has twenty-two letters. They dropped the unnecessary ones, as they say:

  • C can be replaced with either K or S
  • U is out, because their O already makes the long "u" sound
  • W can be replaced by their O, as well
  • Q is just dumb

(That is, verbatim, what I was told about Q.)