Malagasy is the national language of Madagascar, along with French. Although the island nation of Madagascar is located just across the Mozambique Channel from the African continent, Malagasy belongs to the Austronesian family of languages. Anthropologists theorize that 2,000 years ago, the first humans to arrive in Madagascar were sea-farers from Indonesia. Over the past two millennia, other African migrants and Arab traders settled in Madagascar to create the Malagasy people’s diverse and fascinating identity. Malagasy is a unique, yet thriving language. Spoken by nearly 26 million people, it is the dominant language of the country. Madagascar’s vast biodiversity, lively culture, and rich natural resources have made the country a major interest for scientists, anthropologists, and entrepreneurs.   

Fall: Elementary I & Intermediate I  
Spring: Elementary II & Intermediate II 
Fall & Spring: Advanced    Fall & Spring

Currently, five+ semester levels of Malagasy are offered at Penn, allowing students to fulfill their 2-4 semester language requirements. Many students have also used Malagasy to fulfill a variety of other graduation requirements. The Malagasy courses offered at the University of Pennsylvania are always taught through the lens of culture. For an inside look at Penn’s Malagasy program and classes, visit https://www.instagram.com/pennmalagasy/ (@PennMalagasy).

In Spring 2021, Penn Malagasy will offer its first ever Penn Global Seminar, providing students with the opportunity for cultural language immersion in Madagascar. The seminar will culminate in a two-week travel component  at the end of the semester in May. Application and course details will be provided on the Penn Global website throughout the year. A course description can be found here:


Travis Aldous

Alex Delbar