Madagascar is Calling…

The relative size of Madagascar as compared to the U.S.
The relative size of Madagascar as compared to the U.S.
    There are three official languages in Madagascar: English, French and Malagasy. Mon français est nul (“My French is none”… yeah, the grammar sucks), and since there are 17 distinct Malagasy languages I’ll need to learn, I’m trying to find some French language courses I can take here, or online, but I have several trips (mostly research) scheduled before I leave, and not wanting to miss any in-person classes, I think I’ll try to find a decent online course I can study online and, hopefully, while on the go if I can upload it to my iPod.  I’ve reached out to my FB friends for suggestions, but if you know of a good one, please let me know.  I doubt I can find such an online course for basic Malagasy, but I’ll look … you never know.

  • All those distinct ethnic groups
    Per “More than nine-tenths of the population is Malagasy, which is divided into about 20 ethnic groups. The largest and most dominant of the groups is the Merina people, who are scattered throughout the island. The name Merina (Imerina) is said to mean Elevated People, deriving from the fact that they lived on the plateau.”
    I found this map on Wikipedia, no idea how accurate it is, but it still gives you an idea ethnic_groups_of_madagascar_mapof how fractured this country has been, and each group has its own version of the Malagasy language.

  • DNA testing
    When I had my father’s DNA tested, many years ago, none of the three DNA companies I used (FamilyTree DNA, African Ancestry DNA and Sorenson Genomics) had any Malagasy samples in their database, so, unsurprisingly, his came back with “No African ancestry” whatsoever. Well, that was then and this is now, so I send my brother’s DNA to FamilyTree DNA hoping the results would be different –– they weren’t. In fact, there were NO matches, whatsoever, making me think that perhaps my Lees are from another planet altogether.  It has been suggested I try the company DNA Tribes, because some of my friends with Malagasy roots have gotten positive results/matches  using them.  Even if I do get a “match,” in my experience, only a small portion of my newly-found DNA cousins even respond to a request to share info, and even those that do, in only ONE occasion did we find a common ancestor (my BRUCE line).  In my case, I think any further DNA testing is just gonna be a waste of time.