Maltese language

MaltesemltMaltaMalti Maltesederivative of Arabiclanguage of MaltalocallyMaltese wordMaltese-language
Maltese (Malti) is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished.wikipedia
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Malta

🇲🇹MalteseMLT
Maltese (Malti) is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished.
Its capital is Valletta, which is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km. 2 The official languages are Maltese and English, with Maltese officially recognised as the national language and the only Semitic language in the European Union.

Languages of Malta

language questionlanguage of the countryofficial language
Maltese (Malti) is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished.
Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English.

Semitic languages

SemiticSemitic languageArabian
Maltese (Malti) is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished.
The most widely spoken Semitic languages today are (numbers given are for native speakers only) Arabic (300 million), Amharic (22 million), Tigrinya (7 million), Hebrew (~5 million native/L1 speakers), Tigre (~1.05 million), Aramaic (575,000 to 1 million largely Assyrian fluent speakers) and Maltese (483,000 speakers).

Siculo-Arabic

Sicilian ArabArabic languageSicilian Arabic
Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, the otherwise extinct variety of Arabic that developed in Sicily and was later introduced to Malta, between the end of the ninth century and the end of the twelfth century AD.
However, present-day Maltese is considered to have evolved from one of the dialects of Siculo-Arabic over the past 800 years in a gradual process of Latinisation which gave it a significant Romance superstrate influence,,.

Languages of the European Union

EU languagesofficial languages of the European UnionLanguages of the EU
Maltese (Malti) is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished.
Although Maltese is an official language, the Council set a transitional period of three years from 1 May 2004, during which the institutions were not obliged to draft all acts in Maltese.

Tunisian Arabic

TunisianaebDarija
A recent study shows that, in terms of basic everyday language, speakers of Maltese are able to understand less than a third of what is said to them in Tunisian Arabic, which is related to Siculo-Arabic, whereas speakers of Tunisian are able to understand about 40% of what is said to them in Maltese.
Moreover, Tunisian Arabic is closely related to Maltese, which is a separate language that descended from Tunisian and Siculo-Arabic.

Maltese people

MalteseMaltese populationMaltese civilians
This claim has been corroborated by genetic studies, which show that contemporary Maltese people share common ancestry with Sicilians and Calabrians, with little genetic input from North Africa and the Levant.
The Maltese (Maltin, Maltesi) are a nation and an ethnic group indigenous to Malta, and identified with the Maltese language.

Sicily

SicilianSiciliansSicilia
Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, the otherwise extinct variety of Arabic that developed in Sicily and was later introduced to Malta, between the end of the ninth century and the end of the twelfth century AD.
Although the language is extinct in Sicily, it has developed into what is now the Maltese language on the islands of Malta today.

Varieties of Arabic

variety of ArabicArabic dialectsvariety
Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, the otherwise extinct variety of Arabic that developed in Sicily and was later introduced to Malta, between the end of the ninth century and the end of the twelfth century AD.
Maltese, a distantly related Siculo-Arabic language descended from Maghrebi Arabic is also provided.

European Union

EUEuropeanEurope
Maltese (Malti) is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished.
The European Union has 24 official languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, and Swedish.

National language

main languagenationalmajority language
Maltese (Malti) is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished.
The Maltese language is the national language of Malta.

Giovanni Pietro Francesco Agius de Soldanis

De Soldanisde Solidanis
The first systematic lexicon is that of Giovanni Pietro Francesco Agius de Soldanis, who also wrote the first systematic grammar of the language and proposed a standard orthography.
He wrote the first lexicon and systematic grammar of the Maltese language, and he was the first librarian of the Bibliotheca Publica, the precursor of the National Library of Malta.

Il-Kantilena

cantilena
The oldest known document in Maltese is "Il Cantilena" (Xidew il-Qada) by Pietru Caxaro.
Il-Kantilena is the oldest known literary text in the Maltese language.

Pietru Caxaro

The oldest known document in Maltese is "Il Cantilena" (Xidew il-Qada) by Pietru Caxaro.
On examination, it is positively held that Caxaro's original version was in the Maltese tongue, and that Rev. Brandan transcribed it as faithfully as possible as he recalled it. The composition proves that Caxaro's qualification as a philosopher, poet and orator is fully justified since its construction is professionally accomplished.

Mutual intelligibility

mutually intelligiblemutually unintelligibleintelligible
This reported level of asymmetric intelligibility is considerably lower than the mutual intelligibility found between Arabic dialects.
Maltese: Tunisian Arabic (significantly) and Sicilian (partially)

Gemination

geminategeminatedgeminate consonant
Gemination is distinctive word-medially and word-finally in Maltese.
Consonant length is distinctive in some languages, like Arabic, Berber, Maltese, Catalan, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Classical Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.

List of ISO 639-1 codes

ENlanguage code184
Maltese is therefore considered an exceptional descendant of Arabic that has no diglossic relationship with Standard Arabic or Classical Arabic, and is classified separately from the Arabic macrolanguage.

History of Malta

MaltaMaltese historyMaltese prehistory
Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, a Semitic language within the Afroasiatic family, that in the course of its history has been influenced by Sicilian and Italian, to a lesser extent French, and more recently English.
This is also consistent with Joseph Brincat’s finding of no further sub-stratas beyond Arabic in the Maltese language, a very rare occurrence which may only be explained by a drastic lapse between one period and the following.

Sicilian language

SicilianSicilian-languageSicily
Maltese is also unique among Semitic languages since its morphology has been deeply influenced by Romance languages, namely Italian and Sicilian.
The Emirate of Sicily persisted long enough to develop a distinctive local variety of Arabic, Siculo-Arabic (at present extinct in Sicily but surviving as the Maltese language).

Punic language

PunicNeo-Punicand language
The Maltese language has historically been classified in various ways, with some claiming that the ancient Punic language (another Semitic language) was its origin instead of Siculo-Arabic, while others believed the language to be one of the Berber languages (another family within Afroasiatic), and under the Fascist Kingdom of Italy, it was classified as regional Italian.
The idea that Punic was the origin of Maltese was first raised in 1565.

Emigration from Malta

Maltese emigrants
This implies a number of some 150,000 speakers in the Maltese diaspora.
The proximity between the two countries and the similarity between the Maltese and Arabic languages have led many Maltese to settle in Egypt in the past, mainly in Alexandria.

List of language regulators

language regulatorlanguage academylanguage academies
It remains the only standardized Semitic language written in the Latin script.

Mikiel Anton Vassalli

Vassalli
In the late eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century, philologists and academics such as Mikiel Anton Vassalli made a concerted effort to standardize written Maltese.
Mikiel Anton Vassalli (March 5, 1764 in Żebbuġ, Malta – January 12, 1829) was a Maltese writer, a philosopher, and a linguist who published important Maltese language books, including a Maltese-Italian dictionary, a Maltese grammar book, the first Protestant Gospels in Maltese, and towards the end of his life, a book on Maltese proverbs.

Syllable

codaonsetsyllable coda
Stressed, word-final closed syllables with short vowels end in a long consonant, and those with a long vowel in a single consonant; the only exception is where historic and meant the compensatory lengthening of the succeeding vowel.
However, Maltese and some Polynesian languages do make such a distinction, as in Hawaiian "fire" and / "tuna".

National Council for the Maltese Language

The National Council for the Maltese Language (KNM) is the main regulator of the Maltese language (see Maltese Language Act, below) and not the Akkademja tal-Malti.
Its work is to regulate new words coming into Maltese and promote the standard Maltese language in education and other new sectors.