Languages

Maltese

Fact corner

Introduction

Maltese is the national language of Malta, and an official language of the European Union. It is the only Semitic language written in the Latin alphabet in its standard form. There have been some claims that it is descended not from Arabic but Phoenician, but this view has no support among linguists.

The Verb

Maltese grammar is fundamentally derived from Arabic, although Romance and Anglo-Saxon patterns are also used.

Verbs still show a triliteral Semitic pattern, in which a verb is conjugated with prefixes, suffixes, and infixes (for example ktibna, Arabic katabna, Hebrew katavnu "we wrote").

The Maltese verb system incorporates Romance (mainly Italian) verbs and adds Arabic suffixes and prefixes to them (for example iddeċidejna "we decided" < (i)ddeċieda 'Romance verb' + -ejna 'Arabic first person plural perfect marker'). Also borrowings from English are common.

There are two tenses: present and perfect.

Sample verb, Arabic origin: kiteb

Perfect tense

Sg.1ktibtI wrote
Sg.2ktibtyou wrote
Sg.3 mkitebhe wrote
Sg.3 fkitbetshe wrote
Pl.1ktibnawe wrote
Pl.2ktibtuyou (pl) wrote
Pl.3kitbuthey wrote

Sample verb, Italian origin: kanta

-PerfectPresentImperative
Sg.1kantajtnkanta-
Sg.2kantajttkantakanta
Sg.3 mkantajkanta-
Sg.3 fkantattkanta-
Pl.1kantajnankantaw-
Pl.2kantajtutkantawkantaw
Pl.3kantawjkantaw-

Sample verb, English origin: iddawnlowdja

-PerfectPresentImperative
Sg.1iddawnlowdjajtniddawnlowdja-
Sg.2iddawnlowdjajttiddawnlowdjaiddawnlowdja
Sg.3 middawnlowdjajiddawnlowdja-
Sg.3 fiddawnlowdjattiddawnlowdja-
Pl.1iddawnlowdjajnaniddawnlowdjaw-
Pl.2iddawnlowdjajtutiddawnlowdjawiddawnlowdjaw
Pl.3iddawnlowdjawjiddawnlowdjaw-

Other English loanwords:

References

External links

  • http://www.phil-fak.uni-duesseldorf.de/summerschool2002/Hoberman.pdf(approve sites)

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