Lisa Travis gave a talk this past Thursday at the Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC) at McGill entitled History of Malagasy: Past and Future. Lisa supplied the picture for the advertisement poster, here.
Lexical, phonological, and morphological evidence has been used to support various hypotheses concerning the path taken by the Austronesian ancestors of the Malagasy people. A set of questions clusters around the influence of a Bantu population and whether it can be argued that Bantu formed a substratum in the development of the Malagasy language. This paper explores this influence using syntactic arguments that call into question the substratum hypothesis. Further syntactic work on current Malagasy dialects map innovations that shift the underlying structure of Malagasy from the firmly predicate initial structure of its Austronesian ancestors to a subject initial structure.