How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

French is needed. Malagasy appreciated but not needed. - Jul 2020

French is pretty useful for restaurants, taxis, etc. and of course absolutely necessary professionally. Malagasy wins you lots of points, even if only greetings. Some folks get by on just English. - Mar 2017

Business is in French. Locals speak Malagasy first and most will speak some French. English is rare! Language classes are available - Jun 2016

French is a must. Some general pleasantries in Malagasy are always appreciated. - Oct 2015

You definitely need French - English is not used much. Malagasy is helpful but not necessary for most interactions, but if you shop at local markets it would be useful to pick up some basics, which are easy to master. You'll win quite a few hearts! - Mar 2015

You can get by here in French, and it's an advantage to have it in Tana, but Malagasy is without question the primary language. My husband and I both feel that our French skills (we had 5 months of French at FSI) have gone down hill since arriving here. If you have any opportunity to study Malagasy while you're here (even to just pick up a few words) it would be well worth your time. - Apr 2013

French is pretty essential for daily living. There are people who don't speak it, but I use it daily. A few words of Malagasy are nice. Many people outside the major cities do not speak much French. - Apr 2010

French would be good. Not much english around at all. Local language, Malagasy, a real bonus on the markets, touring, etc, but French would be better. - Dec 2008

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