The intrinsic value of Madagascar is not just in its flora and fauna, but also in the Malagasy language and Malagasy identity that have a hybrid history of migration to the island and French colonization. As French identity embedded itself into the culture, the French language became an expression of Franco-Malagasy identity – a hybrid identity. In this study, I explore how and to what extent the French language partakes in this multicultural identity. In three chapters, we look at: 1) exploring “What is language?” and “What is identity?” and what factors make them up according to different disciplines; 2) exploring the history of Madagascar, the Malagasy language, the effects of French colonization, and how Malagasy immigration influences the Malagasy identity abroad; and 3) an analysis of a series of short stories Dadabé: Et autres nouvelles by Michèle Rakotoson, a Malagasy author who writes in both French and Malagasy. In the exploration of three themes found in these short stories, we conclude that the French language is a tool that enhances this hybrid identity while also being a means to express it. Thus, we find that the French language does not take away from the Malagasy identity and that it even encourages for further reflection on what this identity means for each individual.


Burch, Laura


French and Francophone Studies


Language and identity, Malagasy identity, Franco-Malagasy identity, French language, Malagasy literature, hybrid identity, Madagascar, Michèle Rakotoson, Dadabé

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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