Useful phrases in Malagasy

By Luke Andrews

 

When visiting Madagascar, it is useful to know some local words and phrases. This may make your travels easier and the locals really appreciate it.

Unfortunately, Madagascar is diverse in ethnic groups as it is languages. There are 18 different groups in Zambia, each with their own language. However, everyone knows the language of the dominant group, the Merina.

Below you will find a few useful phrases. They are spelt how they sound using letter sounds in UK English.

Sali (pronounced like the French Salud) – Hello

Salama – Hello

Mana Hoana – How are you?

Tsara fa – I’m fine

Mesaotra (it’s important to really get an ‘e’ sound instead of an ‘i’ sound) – Thank you

Tsara be – very good

Moramora – slowly, slowly (a joke amongst the Malagasy as sometimes they perform tasks with minimal speed)

Fady (pronounce the ‘a’ as you would when used in the word ‘far’ – forbidden

Valoma – Goodbye

 

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