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Standard Malagasy taken from the Merina dialect was the first dialect to be written in Latin characters and is considered the literary dialect.
The most similar language found outside of Madagascar is Ma'anyan, a language spoken in Borneo.
In terms of international politics, they see themselves as Malagasy unless they are recent immigrants or members of one of the minority populations (i.e., Chinese, Indo-Pakistani, and Comorian).
Domestically, however, in the political arena, there is a significant degree of regionalism that is loosely based on ethnicity.
It is defined by an escarpment along the east coast and a more gradual slope along the west coast.The fertility rate is 5.76 children born per woman.The average population density is 36 inhabitants per square mile.To some extent internal migration has resulted in sharing some customs such as spirit possession ( tromba ).The West Coast is characterized by deciduous trees on dry, open savanna grassland sloping toward the sea.
Both Malagasy and Ma'anyan are similar to languages spoken on the western Indonesian archipelago. Many of the dialects borrow from Bantu languages, Swahili, Arabic, English, and French.