country and island off the east coast of Africa (continent)
a resident of Madagascar.
Borrowed from Middle French Madagascar, from Madageiscar, popularly reputed as a corrupted transliteration of Mogadishu by Marco Polo's misreading of Arabic. The maps of particular interest are that of al-Idrisi in the 12th century, who produced the Tabula Rogeriana, the most advanced world map at the time.
The actual misconstrued term was Arabic جَزِيرَة المَالَائِيّ listed along side Arabic جَزِيرَة القَمَر which lent its named to Comoros; Madagascar however likely being the original later based off of the dimensions.
The map in question warps the direction of Africa's east coast to be parallel alongside the coast of southeast Asia, prompting a conflation of the regions furthest east and furthest south, in the reaches of Arab exploration. This perhaps makes the Island of Mālāī both representing Madagascar and an island in Indonesia, likely Sumatra in close proximity to Malaysia. To conflate matters more so, the populations of both region are of Austronesian background, a thing pointed out by Arab explorers who identified Madagascar as colony of the former region. A second wave of Austronesians, including Malays, did indeed migrate to the island after the first group had originally left from what was likely Southern Borneo from linguistic and genetic analysis.
"Mālāī-Gezīra" also holds connection to the term for the people and languages of the island, Malagasy, which had earlier forms Malegass and Madegass, because of dialect division.
Modern English dictionary
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