.The indigenous word malagasy, noun and adjective, designates the people and language of Madagascar. This language is divided into a large number of dialects, of which some retain an original l, and therefore say limi “five”, while the others change into d an l followed by an i and therefore say dimi. On the basis of this, G. Ferrand distinguishes two groups of dialects, group L and group D ; the hova also belongs to the latter.
According to BARBLEJEWELRY, Hova is spoken in Imerina, the center of the island, with the capital Tananarivo. Instead of hova, it is also called merina, and in ancient times it was designated, wrongly, with the name of malagasy. Hova is, politically and culturally, the most important dialect of Madagascar. Malagasy, and with it Hova, is a branch of the Maleo-Polynesian or Austronesian language family. Despite the enormous distance from the original country, it has faithfully preserved the character of the Malayo-Polynesian language. Thus, for example, all the numerals have been preserved: hova arivu – Malay ribu. The numerous concordances with the language of the other extreme of the Maleo-Polynesian linguistic territory, that of Easter Island, are remarkable: for example, the important cultural term of this island, atua “god” corresponds to the hova matuatua “spirit”.
Which language of the Maleo-Polynesian family is Malagasy closest to? R. Brandstetter believes in dayak, and in several of his writings draws attention to the remarkable concordances, such as, for example, the passive form dayak buah = hova vua. At first the Arabic script was used in Madagascar; in 1820 English missionaries founded a school in Tananarivo and introduced the European alphabet. Their spelling, still used today, has three peculiarities: it is written o instead of u ; at the end of the word y for i ; j stands for d + z. For example, you write fotsy and pronounce futsi “White”. The hova phonetic system has only four vowels: a, e, i, u ; o and d are missing (p ě p ě t), o has become u, and ě turns into and in the tonic syllables and in i in the unstressed. Therefore, in front of the original and ancient Javanese t ĕ k ĕ n “stick”, in hova we have tehina. The palatals are missing from the consonants; the letter. J therefore does not represent the middle palatal, but the nexus d + z (z is the voiced sibilant).
Phonetic laws. – The r subjected to the RGH law (v. Maleo -P olinesiache, languages) gives in hova z, but also other sounds; so next to the Malay urat “vein” al tagal ogat, al dayak uhat, we have in hova uzatra. The tenu; k, t, p undergo in some cases a variation which corresponds to that of Grimm’s law in the Germanic languages; the original maleo-Polynesian forms kuku “claw” and putih “white” sound in hova huhu and futsi. The final consonants have undergone a strong modification in hova: the original maleo-Polynesian forms apuy “fire”, t ĕ k ĕ n “stick”, urat “vein” have become aju, tehina, uzatra. The accent falls mostly on the penultimate syllable, but words with an enlarged ending accentuate the third to last, eg, téhina ; the same happens in the makassar.
The vocabulary has a mediocre number of loans; the most notable come from Sanskrit, as trusa “debt”, with tr instead of d, as in tratra “chest” next to the Malay dada. Furthermore, there are borrowings from African languages, such as ambua “dog”, from the Bantu mbwa ; and also from the Arabic, as salama “peace”; from modern European languages, such as buki, from English book, say from French du thé. The verb is well developed, but almost all forms are found in one or other of the Malayo-Polynesian languages; thus, for example, the active morpheme ma, ancient Javanese matakut, New Zealand mataku, is found in the hova as matahutra. Some Maleopolynesian languages have morphemes to indicate times, others lack them; the hova belongs to the former: eg, present mitehina “walking with a stick”, perfect nitehina, future hitehina. The n as a sign of perfect is found in several languages of the family, the h of the future is an original formation of the hova, which arose based on the preposition hu, which indicates the purpose, the direction. The formative elements of the noun are also common patrimony of the Maleo-Polynesian languages; compare hova hamurana from ha + mura + ana, with the Malay kamurahan, from ka + murah + an “goodness”, deriving from hova mura, Malay murah “good”. The personal article is i or ra ; the former has something confidential; the article of what it sounds ni. All three articles are also found in other Maleo-Polynesian languages; e.g., ra in Old Javanese: hova ra Be “the great Lord”, ant. jav. Hy î n “the divinity”. The study of Malagasy began as early as the 10th century. XVII, with F. de Houtman and E. de Flacourt. Worthy of these studies is G. Ferrand with his numerous books and articles.