Malagasy, also known as Malgache, is spoken on the island of Madagascar which in 1960 became the Malagasy Republic. Its 13 million speakers include most of the population of the island.
It would be logical to assume that Malagasy belongs to one or another of the African language families but this is not the case. Investigation has established it as one of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, the rest of which are spoken thousands of miles to the east, in Southeast Asia and on islands in the Pacific. It is now believed that the inhabitants of Madagascar are descendants of settlers from present-day Indonesia (perhaps the island of Borneo), who arrived between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago.
Malagasy contains some words of Bantu, Arab, French, and English origin. It has a soft, musical quality somewhat reminiscent of Italian.
You shall not ask what the present tears
From the deep of my silence mean!
You shall not ask because you know
They are memories of long ago!
I recall the joys of days gone by,
They waned alas to flit away!
I claim and call them forth in vain
As though oblivious and never again!
J. J. RANEARIVELO, Love Song