[Rome: Typis. Sac. Congreg. de Propag. Fide, 1785].
First edition. 28 pp. 1 vols. Small 8vo. Rare Milestone of Malagasy. Recent morocco backed boards, a.e.g Grandidier 837, 5326. Item #212805
Early and important text in tracing the evolution of the Malagasy language, which is the westernmost branch of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian family: in other words, it is related to Tagalog, Malay, Maori, and Samoan. This book was written in order to enable communication with and conversion of the natives of Madagascar to Christianity.
The author notes that correct pronunciation of the language of Madagascar, “which one could write properly only in the Arabic alphabet,” demands special orthography and attentive reading. Grandidier lists it first in the section on works in Malagasy. It was not until 1823, with the work of British misssionaries, that a standard orthography began to evolve.
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