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Before travelling | During your journey

Language

Madagascar has 18 tribes and each has its own dialects. In the Constitution of 2007, Malagasy remains the national language, a language of Malayo-Polynesian origin, which is generally spoken throughout the island and all Malagasy are supposed to understand. French is the second official language, and well-educated people speak it fluently, though in the countryside, it is sometimes difficult to find someone speaking French. English, although still rare, is becoming more popular and in 2003 the government began a pilot project of introducing the teaching of English into the primary grades of 44 schools, with hopes of taking the project nationwide. The motivation to promote English is certainly due to efforts to improve commercial relationships with the English-speaking neighbouring countries like Mauritius, and of course, to encourage foreign investment. Despite these efforts, travellers will still have to fight hard to find English speaking people in their journey, though with some luck sometimes few English speaking guides can be found in the national parks.