Maltese language

MaltesemltmtMaltiMaltaderivative of ArabicMaltese-languagestandard Malteselanguage of MaltaMaltese word
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.
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 countryvarious others
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 (482,880 speakers).

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 an ethnic group indigenous to Malta, and identified with the Maltese language.

Tunisian Arabic

TunisianaebTunisian language
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.

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.

Siculo-Arabic

Sicilian ArabSicilian ArabicArabic language
Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, the 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.
It was never entirely extinct, its modern continuation, albeit with significant Romance superstrate influence, being the Maltese language.

Giovanni Pietro Francesco Agius de Soldanis

de SolidanisDe Soldanis
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.

Sicily

SicilianSiciliansSicilia
Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, the 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.

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.

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.

Varieties of Arabic

variety of ArabicArabic dialectsvariety
Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, the 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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

Sicilian language

SicilianSicilySicilian-language
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).

List of ISO 639-1 codes

language codeEN184
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.

Punic language

PunicNeo-PunicPunic script
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.

Lebanese Arabic

LebaneseLebanese dialectLebanon
found that 40% of a sample of 1,820 Quranic Arabic roots were found in Maltese, a lower percentage than found in Moroccan (58%) and Lebanese Arabic (72%).
As a general rule of thumb, the voiceless uvular plosive is replaced with glottal stop, e.g. "minute" becomes . This debuccalization of is a feature shared with Syrian Arabic, Palestinian Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, and Maltese.

Maltenglish

The Maltese population, being fluent in both Maltese and English, displays code-switching (referred to as Maltenglish) in certain localities and between certain social groups.
Maltenglish, also known as Manglish, Minglish, Maltese English or Maltingliż, refers to the phenomenon of code-switching between Maltese, a Semitic language, and English, an Indo-European Germanic language.

Maltese Braille

Maltese Braille is the braille alphabet of the Maltese language.

Maltese alphabet

MalteseLatin script
It is used to write the Maltese language, which evolved from the otherwise extinct Siculo-Arabic dialect, as a result of 800 years independent development.