The Malayo-Polynesian languages are a subgroup of the Austronesian languages. There are about 385.5 million people who speak these languages. The Malayo-Polynesian languages are spoken by the Austronesian people of the island nations of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean. There are a smaller number in continental Asia. Malagasy is spoken on the island of Madagascar. Part of the language family shows a strong influence of Sanskrit and Arabic as the western part of the region has many followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and, since the 10th century, Islam.
- E K Brown; Sarah Ogilvie, Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World (Amsterdam, Netherlands; Boston, MA: Elsevier, 2009), p. 99