Source: Melita Historica. [Published by the Malta Historical Society]. 6(1974)3(279-306)
[p.279] A Bibliography of Maltese (1953-1973)
This bibliographical essay is intended to update P.P. Saydon’s “Bibliographical Aids to the Study of Maltese,” published in Journal of Near Eastern Studies in 1953. Professor Saydon (an eminent Biblical scholar, lately deceased) had collected all available literature that was directly relevant for a scientific study of Maltese, distributing it into three sections — dictionaries, grammars and language criticism — and critically assessing the value of each item on the list. His article proved to be in itself an excellent and very useful contribution to Maltese studies. He later published a handlist of books and articles on Maltese, preceded by an introduction, in H. Sobelman (ed.), Arabic Dialect Studies, Washington DC 1962.
In the present paper I have simply listed all important publications dealing with the Maltese language that have appeared in the last twenty years, and I have also added a brief note on the subject-matter of each item, and, in most cases, an extract from the author containing judgments or statements which seem to me particularly revealing or, anyway, worthy of note. These explanatory notes or extracts serve also the purpose of introducing the reader to the Maltese language, making any further introduction at this stage practically unnecessary.
It may be worthwhile to point out, however, that Maltese is, in a way, a new language. It was first officially recognised as the national language of Malta when the Island became independent in 1964.  Though it has been spoken in Malta uninterruptedly since the Island’s occupation by the Arabs in the Middle Ages, Maltese has started to be written and studied in Malta on a large scale only during this century, and especially in the last thirty years or so. No wonder that more scientific [p.280] contributions on Maltese have appeared in the last two decades than ever before, and that they consist largely of short articles on some particular aspect of the language. Maltese is still in the process of being discovered by modern scholars.
Yet it can be of genuine interest to the students of Semitic as well as Romance linguistics. A comparative study of Maltese in relation to North African dialects; the Romance element in Maltese; a comprehensive linguistic history of Malta and the possibility of a pre-Arabic substratum in Maltese; a sociolinguistic study of present day Maltese bilingualism and Malta as a case-study in language politics: these are some of the research projects which immediately come to mind and which are of more than local interest and usefulness. The following pages should give some idea of what has been done so far, and what can still be done, within the field of Maltese linguistic research. 
1. J. Aquilina, The Structure of Maltese. A study in mixed grammar and vocabulary, The Royal University of Malta, 1959, pp. 358 (2nd ed. 1973).
The standard textbook on the subject (the author is Professor of Maltese at the Royal University of Malta). The Conclusion reads as follows: “In Phonology we noted the various positional agreements of the vocalic and consonantal elements of foreign and Semitic Maltese; in Morphology and Syntax word-pattern agreements and adaptations, but throughout we noted that Maltese, the language spoken by a Christian people about half-way between North Africa and Sicily, has developed phonetic, phonological, morphological and syntactical characteristics of [p.281] its own, some of them completely Indo-European, others half-way between Semitic and Indo-European. It is these characteristics that, with other syntactical developments, differentiate Maltese from the Arabic and the Romance dialects. As a comparative description, we might say that linguistically, Maltese is a unique cross-breed of East and West, with the individuality of a separate language, compounded of Semitic and Romance elements, but still essentially a Semitic tongue, historically belonging to the group of the North African dialects from which it has been cut off roughly since 1224 (another suggested date 1249-50) when all the Moslems that were suffered to remain in the Island by the Normans after their conquest of the Maltese archipelago in 1090 were expelled by Frederick II of Sicily, thus ending the Arabs’ political and sole linguistic domination which began in 870, introducing instead a new stream of words and, through intermarriages, also of blood which gave rise to Maltese mixed vocabulary and ethnology.”
1.1 Papers in Maltese Linguistics, The Royal University of Malta, 1961, pp. 240 (2nd ed. 1970).
A collection of basic studies on various aspects of the Maltese language. The papers published here deal with: “A survey of the constituent elements of Maltese,” Orbis, VII, 1, 1958; “A brief survey of Maltese semantics,” Orbis, III, 1, 1954; “Maltese as a mixed language,” Journal of Semitic Studies, III, 1, 1958; “Maltese Lexicography,’ Orbis, II, 2, 1953; “Fields of Maltese linguistic research,” Lingua, VII, 1, 1957; “Some historical phonetic changes of Maltese,” Orbis, IV, 2, 1955; “Race and Language in Malta,” Scientia, Malta, XI, 1945; Systems of Maltese Orthography, pp. 75-101b; A brief survey of Maltese place-names, pp. 189-235.
The author writes in the foreword: “On my return to Malta from London in 1939 I immediately tackled the language question as objectively as I could. I wanted to detach it, once for ever, from its spurious political context and background in order to re-present it to the country as a tool of collective self-expression indispensable to a growing and intelligent democracy. The Maltese language has since come into its own, and the younger generation is better acquainted with the structure and growing literature of their native language.“ In “Fields of Maltese linguistic research” the author says that Maltese “is still practically ‘virgin soil’ because the language researches conducted so far by Maltese and non-Maltese scholars are largely unrelated etymology” and concludes: “There is still much work to do in the field of Maltese Linguistics such as, to mention a few aspects again, the study of Maltese sounds, their mutual impact and phonological structure; word-study (Lexicography); [p.282] word-forms (Morphology); word-meanings (Semantics); word-arrangements (Syntax); the manner of enunciation (Stylistics); constitution, evolution and history of the language (Descriptive, Historical and Comparative Grammar). The field requires more linguists and greater division of specialised labour.”
1.2 “Maltese meteorological and agricultural proverbs,” JMS, 1, 1961, 1-80.
Over 400 Maltese proverbs translated in English and commented upon.
1.3 “Influenze arabe sulla toponomastica maltese,” Atti del VII Congresso Int. di Scienze Onomastiche, (Firenze-Pisa 1961), 135-146.
Notes on Maltese place-names of Arabic origin.
1.4 “Linguistic Activities in the Royal University of Malta,” Orbis, XI, 1962, 347-351.
On the teaching and research publications within the Department of Maltese.
1.5 Review of A.J. Arberry’s “Dun Karm Poet of Malta,” in JSS 1963, 126-129.
Some notes on Dun Karm and Maltese Literature, as well as on P. Grech’s contribution in this book.
1.6 Review of “Terminologia geografica araba in Sicilia” by G.B. Pellegrini, in JMS 2, 1964, 246-251.
Gives Maltese correspondence to quite a few Sicilian place-names of Arabic origin.
1.7 “A comparative study in lexical material relating to nicknames and surnames,” JMS 2, 1964, 147-176.
“It is remarkable that though the Maltese tongue is, as I have repeatedly pointed out, basically Semitic with a Romance superstructure, the number of Semitic surnames is no more than about fifty. But these fifty surnames are significant because, though small in number, each one of them is borne by a large number of Maltese families in Malta and Gozo.’
1.8 Teach Yourself Maltese, English Universities Press, London 1965, pp. 240.
A primer of Maltese grammar, with exercises, in the “Teach Yourself” series. “The present volume differs from Sutcliffe’s A grammar of the Maltese Language and May Butcher’s Elements of Maltese in that it considers Maltese without any arbitrary exclusion of the Romance [p.283] element of the language; this is, in fact, as absurd as writing a grammar of the English language including only the lexical and morphological Anglo-Saxon element, leaving out all the linguistic Romance element.”
1.9 “L’arabo a Malta,” Atti del III Congresso di Studi Arabi e Islamici (Ravello 1966), Napoli 1967, 59-68.
Gives a selection of Maltese words and calques of Arabic and Berber origin.
1.10 “La stratificazione del vocabolario marinaresco maltese,” Bollettino dell’Atlante Linguistico Mediterraneo, nn. 8-9, 1966-1967, 221-232.
“Benché sia molto esteso lo strato di fondo che potremmo definire arabo maltese, è ancor più esteso lo strato lessicale marinaresco di provenienza siciliana o italiana che figura, dove più e dove meno, sotto tutti i titoli e le divisioni dati nel questionario dell’ALM.” Numerous examples are given and proverbs quoted to sustain this statement.
1.11 “Maltese dialect survey,’ Verhandlungen des zweiten Internationalen Dialektologenkongresses, published in Zeitschrift für Mundartforschung, Wiesbaden 1967-68, vol. I, pp. 19-30.
Discusses the method and two questionnaires (phonological and lexical) of a Dialect Survey undertaken in conjunction with B.S.J. Isserlin. Includes a sociolinguistic essay to account for the presence in Malta — according to Aquilina — of dialects and sub-dialects. “The present Maltese dialects must be the residues of the different dialects spoken by the different migratory tribes or clans who settled down in different places at different times. These are the places which they called irhula with which compare the Arabic plural given by Dozy ‘arha:l’ meaning ‘maison hors d’une ville, terre, métairie, hameau.’” “It was insularity, the sea around our islands cutting them from the rest of the world, that saved the Maltese language. Larger, non-insular peoples lost their tongue [....] while we Maltese, though so small in number, have, in spite of ten dominations, not only preserved our native language, which is now the official language of the Constitution of Independent Malta and of Ecclesiastical liturgy, but have preserved also the various dialects and sub-dialects.”
1.12 “Comparative Maltese and Arabic Proverbs,” in JMS 5, 1968, 1-13 (published also in Proceedings of the XXVIIth Int. Congress of Orientalists, Michigan 1967).
“Many Maltese proverbs, though couched in a completely Arabic vocabulary, are the translation of Italian, and generally Sicilian proverbs, many of which can be compared with those collected by the famous [p.284] Sicilian parameologist Giuseppe Pitrè (1841-1916).”
1.13 Nomi maltesi di pesci, molluschi e crostacei del Mediterraneo (studio basato sul Questionario dell’Atlante Linguistico Mediterraneo ed altro materiale), Malta University Press 1969, pp. 173.
Includes marine and fishing terminology, with Indexes.
1.14 “Maltese toponymic stratification,” Proceedings of the 9th Intern. Congress of Onomastic Science, Louvain 1969, 105-112.
Gives examples of Arabic, Italian and English place-names in Malta. “The researcher into [Maltese] onomastic chronology has to face the arduous task of looking for pre-Arabic sub-strata which might yield evidence of earlier pre-Arabic toponymic stratification.”
1.15 “The hills of Malta and Gozo,” in Proceedings of the Intern. Congress of Onomastic Science, Vienna 1969, vol. X, 2, 69-77.
Names practically all hills and valleys in Malta and Gozo.
1.16 “The role of Maltese and English in Malta,” JFA, IV, 3, 1971, 171-182.
Strongly in favour of English as a second language, to the exclusion of Italian.
1.17 “Due epoche linguistiche nella lingua maltese,” in JMS 7, 1971, 1-36.
“Nella storia di Malta ci sono due date di massima importanza per lo studio del maltese. Queste date sono: l’anno 870 d.C., quando gli Arabi s’impossessarono di Malta e arabizzarono la lingua indigena, che da prove estrinseche sappiamo essere il Punico; e l’anno 1090 quando i Normanni demolirono il regime Arabo-islamico a Malta, e restaurarono il cristianesimo, aggiungendo al linguaggio indigeno semitico del popolo un nuovo vocabolario romanzo importato dalla Sicilia, che, benché numerosissimo, non riusci a distruggere la struttura trilittera del maltese-semitico..... In questo studio ho raccolto un buon numero di vocaboli di utilita praticà, classificandoli secondo la loro origine etimologica..... .”
1.18 A comparative dictionary of Maltese proverbs, The Royal University of Malta, 1972, pp. LIII-694.
A comprehensive collection and comparative study of Maltese proverbs, taken both from the living language and written sources, with introduction and indexes. Over 4,630 proverbs are listed under 45 headings, and compared mainly with Arabic and Sicilian. “In the comparative section I made it a point to include not proverbs which just convey the same meaning or suit the same contexts but proverbs which are verbally close and which therefore might serve as pointers in the [p.285] history of paremiological migration and loan translations.”
1.19 “Maltese etymological glossary,” in JMS 8, 1973, 1-62.
An etymological study of a few hundred words of Arabic origin and some Romance loanwords “which are not etymologically straightforward in the sense that they are not etymologically identifiable at first sight as is the case of a large number of words that are obviously common to both Maltese and Arabic. The origin of those words not included will eventually be traced tentatively or definitely, in the Maltese-English dictionary on which I am working at the moment.”
1.20 “Maltese plant names,” in JMS 8, 1973, 63-92.
A list of Maltese wild plants, classified according to the Semitic or Italian/Sicilian etymology of the name in Maltese.
1.21 “Verbs,’ in JMS 8, 1973, 93-98.
A list of Maltese correspondences of Italian verbs divided into three classes:- 1st vowel a: abbanduna (It. abbandonare); 1st vowel i: ibbordja (It. abbordare); Semitized forms: baxxa (It. abbassare).
1.22 “Maltese Christian words of Arabic origin, Actes du Premier Congres d’Etudes des Cultures Méditerranéennes d’influence Arabo-Berbère, (Malte 1972), Société Nationale d’édition et de diffusion, Alger 1973, 70-74.
The words listed here are grouped under four separate headings: “words that are common to Christian Arabic; words which occur in Islam but are adapted to a Christian context (Christianized Muslim words); local formations from Arabic roots; a few sporadic Byzantine (Greek) relics.‘
1.23 J. Aquilina and J. Cassar Pullicino, “Lexical Material in Maltese Folklore,’ in JFA I, 1957, 1-36.
A study of archaic or obsolete words culled from the language of Maltese folklore. 90 riddles, songs, tales, folk-prayers and especially proverbs are examined.
2 A.J. Arberry, A Maltese Anthology, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1960, pp. XXXVII 280.
Offers some considerations on the Maltese language in the Introduction. “Whereas throughout all the Arab and Muslim world, even down to the present day, the language of literature has remained classical Arabic, uniquely in Malta an Arabic dialect has freely developed into a literary language. Maltese thus alone affords a pattern of what might have happened from Morocco to Iraq, had the local dialects overcome and usurped the authority of the classical idiom. Maltese is the only “Romance” [p.286] language to evolve in the Arabic-speaking world.”
3 E.P. Arbez, Review of P.P. Saydon’s “Il-Kotba Mqaddsa bil-Malti: maglubin mil-Lhudi u mfissrin,” in JNES XII, 1953, 135-138.
“A work of exceptional value on account of its language and its literary excellence.” Saydon’s edition of the Bible (with notes) was issued in parts over a period of thirty years (1929-1959).
4 W.B. Bishai, Review of J. Aquilina’s “Structure of Maltese,” in Journal of the American Oriental Society LXXX, 1960, 267-8. Strongly critical.
5 A.J. Bliss, “A possible Norman loanword in Maltese,” in Scientia XXII, Malta 1956, 43-48.
“Certainly such a form as Norman * queir is closer to Maltese kwejru or qwejru than either Sicilian cuoiru or Spanish cuero; but even this derivation is not without its difficulties of which the chief is the final -u.”
6 J. Busuttil, “Melite-Melita-Malta,’ in Atti del Congresso per la Storia della Sicilia e Magna Grecia, Palermo 1968, 180-185. Discusses the history of the name ‘Malta’.
6.1 “Gaudos,” in Orbis XX, 2, 1971, 503-506.
Discusses the origin and history of this word. “Dans l’antiquité, les Grecs donnèrent à l’île le nom de Gaulos ou de Gaudos; les Romains, Gaulos ou Gaulus; les Carthaginois, Gaul. Au Moyen-Age, elle était Gaudos pour les Grecs, Gaulos et Gaudisium pour les ecrivains latins, Guds pour les Arabes. Le nom dont se servent les habitants de Malte et de Gozo est Ghawdex.”
6.2 “Marsa,” in Orbis XXI, 2, 1972, 520-522.
Examines the Maltese toponyms Marsalforn, Marsamxett, Marsaskala and Marsaxlokk, considered to be pre-Arabic. “Les Arabes gardèrent les noms de Skala et de Liburna parce qu’ils étaient techniques. Les autres semblent avoir été traduits en mxett et xluq respectivement. Les documents n’en offrent pas de preuve péremptoire.”
7 P. Cachia, Review of A.J. Arberry’s “A Maltese Anthology,” in BSOAS XXIV, 1961, 146-7.
“As the survey touches upon present-day issues, Professor Arberry’s views inevitably become debatable. For example, the contrast he makes between an older generation of Maltese writers dependent on Italian models and a younger one fed on an English literary diet (p. XXV), may well involve an underestimate of the extent and persistence of Italian [p.287] cultural influences. Many Maltese today have an excellent command of English, and there are among them powerful advocates of an Anglo-Maltese culture. But the main figures of Maltese literature were steeped in Italian culture, and many of them had solid reputations as writers in Italian before they turned to the native idiom; the literary attitudes and aesthetic standards they consciously and unconsciously carried over will not be quickly overgrown. Nor have the channels through which Italian thought reaches the Maltese dried up.”
7.1 Review of J. Aquilina’s “Papers in Maltese Linguistics,” in JSS, 1962, 113-115.
“These common deviations from classical usage — even allowing for the possibility that they may have had their beginnings before the Arab occupation of Malta — do not suggest that “Maltese has been cut off from Arabic for the last nine centuries” (p. 119), but on the contrary that there have been extensive contacts even in the centuries that followed the return of Christian rule, through raiders and captives in time of war, through traders, travellers and expatriates later. Possibly also the ecclesiastical words, strikingly similar to those in Syria (p. 46), betray some intercourse with the Maronites in these later centuries..... .”
7.2 Review of A.J. Arberry’s “Dun Karm Poet of Malta,” in BSOAS 1962, 355-7.
Some critical remarks on P. Grech’s introduction to the book: “His low estimate of the Romance element in Maltese vocabulary — “only fifteen, or at the most twenty per cent” — needs to be substantiated. He also lightly assumes that “Maltese developed independently of Arabic after the thirteenth century,” even though he asserts elsewhere that “broadly speaking, Maltese grammar is the same as that of modern Arabic dialects, especially Tunisian.” As to Dun Karm, whose “kinship with the 19th century Romantics is patent in every page,” the Author remarks: “Whatever the final judgment may be on Dun Karm’s distinctiveness and originality as a poet, he has become the “classic” of Maltese poetry by proving, at a time when the Maltese seriously doubted it (as educated Arabs still doubt), that the local spoken dialect could express refined poetic experience..... Curious to note, the one linguistic resource that Maltese could not evolve was a stock of archaisms, so that l’etereo padiglion becomes simply l-istar tas-sema ‘the heavenly veil’ (p. 180), and the Muse apostrophised by Foscolo as dea becomes in Dun Karm’s version either dija ‘light’ (p. 176) or Alla (p. 178), for Malta’s linguistic memory does not extend further back than its monotheistic faith!.”
7.3 “Cultural cross-currents in Maltese idioms,” in JMS 2, 1964, [p.288] 226-237.
Departing from the fact that “almost every manifestation of Maltese cultural life other than the language places it clearly in the stream of European, more specifically Italian, civilization,” the Author attempts a study of Maltese idiom (as distinct from vocabulary). He discusses Maltese idioms in relation to their Italian, Arabic or presumably local origin. “Out of 257 idioms involving the head or parts of it, sixty-seven can, on the strength of their exact wording or of the figure of speech they express, be matched with idioms both in Arabic and Italian, seventy-five have equivalents in Italian only and fifteen in Arabic only. This leaves 100 for which no recognizable matches have been found. Most of these may be presumed to be of native origin.” The Author concludes by saying that “idioms — and not Maltese idioms alone — providing as they do collocations and recurring contexts for words, reflect the thinking habits of a people in ways it would not be unprofitable to explore.”
8 J. Cantineau, “La Dialectologie Arabe,” in Orbis 4, 1955, 149-169 (published also in the Author’s “Etudes de linguistique arabe,” Paris 1960, pp. 299).
Refers to Maltese on pp. 166-168. “Ce parler [Maltais] a attiré depuis longtemps l’attention des Orientalistes (en particulier à cause de certains traits puniques qui sembleraient s’y être conservés, par example la confusion de h et de h d’une part, de ‘ et de ġ d’autre part).” There follows a brief bibliographical note on Maltese.
9 J. Cassar Pullicino, “Nursery Vocabulary of the Maltese Archipelago,” Orbis VI, n. 1, 1957, 192-198.
Gives a “comprehensive picture of the nursery vocabulary of the Maltese,” listing 137 baby-words and 120 pet-names. “A comparative study of Maltese nursery vocabulary shows a good substratum of Sicilian equivalents.”
9.1 “Antichi cibi maltesi,” in MH, vol. III, no. 2, 1961, 31-54.
Notes of historical and linguistic interest on Maltese food as far back as the 18th century.
9.2 “Linguistic analysis of Fr. Magri’s Folk-tales,” in JMS 1, 1961, 81-116.
“In view of Magri’s avowed intention to reduce as much as possible the non-Semitic element in the vocabulary of his tales, it is surprising to find that the number of Romance words that occur in his texts runs to quite a considerable figure. This shows that by 1900 the tales had suffered considerable change in the process of oral transmission and the informants freely used words of Romance origin that had come to form [p.289] part of everyday speech.”
9.3 Kitba u Kittieba tal-Malti, Malta University Press 1962-64, 2 voll., pp. 345 (see also J. Cassar Pullicino, “G.F. Abela and the Maltese Language,” Scientia XXI, 1955, 162-8).
Notes on Maltese writers and writings up to the 19th century.
9.4 “Voci a termini maltesi usati dai calzolai,” JMS 2, 1964, 238-245.
A list of terms, mainly of Italian origin, connected with shoe-making.
9.5 “Ethno-linguistic aspects of animals in Malta,” JMS 4, 1967, 1-68.
A study of Maltese vocabulary and folklore connected with animals. The section on vocabulary gives “specimens of (a) common animal terms, (b) verbs denoting the cries of animals, (c) words used to call, stop, frighten or drive away animals, (d) adjectives denoting special qualities of animals, (e) miscellaneous terms connected with trades and callings, places where birds are kept or trapped, (f) harness terms and (g) butcher’s terms.”
10 D. Cohen, Review of J. Aquilina’s “The Structure of Maltese,” in BSLP 55, 1960, fasc. 2, 229-232.
“L’auteur a été fortement influencé par les doctrines de J.R. Firth à qui l’ouvrage est d’ailleurs dédié. Mais, fondé sur une thèse soutenue en 1939, préparé pour la publication en 1951, l’ouvrage n’a pas profité de certaines mises au point ultérieures de ces doctrines. La structure du maltais, selon une première orthodoxie firthienne, est donc décrite exclusivement en termes de distribution, sans preoccupation du système même de la langue.” “Dans de telles conditions, la caractérisation du maltais comme une langue à grammaire et vocabulaire “mixtes” ne paraît pas très pertinente.” Cohen concludes by asserting the usefulness of the book under review: “On voit l’intérêt de semblables données pour la mise en place d’une dialectologie comparée de l’arabe maghribin. Malgré les aspects critiquables de la méthode employée, M. Aquilina a fourni aux arabisants, par ce travail, un instrument d’une très grande utilité.”
10.1 Review of J. Aquilina’s “Papers in Maltese Linguistics,” in BSLP 57, 1962, 2, 197-8.
Contains some critical judgments of considerable interest. “Or si le phénicien a été parlé à Malte, ce ne peut être que dans une période préhistorique sur laquelle nous ne possédons aucun document valable. Mais le maltais actuel ne s’y rattache en aucune facon.” “Peut-être faudrait-il également manifester plus de circonspection en ce qui concerne mots [p.290] rapproché ici du syriaque ou de l’hébreu.” “Pour ce qui concerne les “emphatiques,” on constate dans l’histoire du maltais une sorte de transfert de distinctivité de consonnes à des variantes de voyelles, qui aurait mérité d’être clairement dégagé.”
10.2 Études de linguistique sémitique et arabe, Mouton, The Hague 1970, pp. 178.
Chapter VII (pp. 126-149) is entitled “Le système phonologique du maltais. Aspects synchroniques et diachroniques,” and is a very important contribution on Maltese phonology (first published, with slight changes, in JMS 3, 1966, 1-26; see also, D. Cohen: “Sur le vocalisme du maltais” in “Comptes-rendus du Groupe Linguistique d’Études Chamito-Sémitiques,” Paris 1960, VIII, 83-85; “Contribution à la phonologie diachronique du maltais” in “Verh. Dial. Kongr.,” Wiesbaden 1967-68, I, 164-171). The Author considers Maltese “d’un intérêt considérable pour la linguistique arabe. Coupé des le XIII sièle de ses bases culturelles et religieuses pour être rattaché à un ensemble chrétien et roman (siculo-italien), et évoluant depuis lors selon un mouvement propre, le maltais paraît avoir conservé des traits, et peut témoigner de phénomènes, non ou mal attestés ailleurs. En tout état de cause, il y a là une langue dont l’histoire présente une profonde originalité.” He concludes by saying that “la phonologie du maltais révèle des ressemblances remarquables avec celle de divers dialectes maghribins,” and that “L’ensemble de ces traits ne suffit pas naturellement à affirmer l’appartenance — probable cependant d’après les données historiques — du maltais à l’ensemble occidental. Il n’en constitue pas moins un faisceau d’indications hautement significatif.” The Author makes frequent references to Maltese for comparative purposes in the other chapters, particularly I and IX, entitled respectively “Le vocabulaire de base sémitique et le classement des dialectes du Sud” and “Le système des voyelles brèves dans les dialectes maghribins,” where it is stated that in order to establish a chronology in the evolution of short vowels in non-nomadic Maghribinic dialects “il faut surtout tenir compte, au mains tant que l’Étude des dialectes hispaniques ne sera pas plus avancée, des données du maltais.”
11 G.S. Colin, “Mots berbères dans le dialecte arabe de Malte,” Mémorial André Basset, Paris 1957, 7-16.
“Le maltais est un dialecte arabe qui, sans aucun doute, fait partie du groupe occidental: parlers maghribins et hispaniques. Plus précisément, il dépend étroitement des parlers sédentaires (citadins et villageois) de l’ancienne Ifrîqiya: Tunisie actuelle et Nord-Constantinois. Et, contrairement à ce qui s’est passé pour ces derniers, il a échappé à l’influence bédouine des Hilâl et des Sulaim [......]. Il est remarquable que la langue [p.291] arabe se soit maintenue vivante dans la petite île de Malte (=Malta) et dans l’îlot qui en dépend, Gozo (=Gaudes), alors que dans la Sicile voisine, vaste et très peuplée, elle n’a laissé que quelques éléments de vocabulaire encapsulés dans le dialecte roman sicilien [......]. C’est, sans doute, parce que Malte, de peu de superficie et sans régions montagneuses pouvant servir de refuge, subit une arabisation plus totale que la grande île voisine. Nous ne savons rien de la nature des éléments ethniques berbères introduits à Malte par la conquête islamique. On est toutefois fondé supposer qu’ils furent analogues à ceux qui se fixèrent en Sicile: Hawwâra, Luwâta, Kutâma. Rien ne prouve d’ailleurs que les mots d’origine sûrement berbère que l’on retrouve à Malte y ont été importés par des berbérophones. Il peut fort bien s’agir de mots empruntés, dès avant la conquête de l’île, par le dialecte arabe d’Ifrîqiya, et introduits par des arabophones.”
The Author analyses 27 words in Maltese, of which 14 appear to be of undoubted Berber origin and the remaining 13 can also be found in the Berber or Arabic dialects of the Maghreb. “Aucun des quatorze mots dont l’origine berbère est sûre n’est attesté en arabe hispanique. Mais, en revanche, cinq des plus douteux le sont: bûda, silla (sulla), zebbûg, fellûs, dont l’origine première semble bien être en latin. Y ajouter fartâs, dont l’origine arabe semble plus que probable. Au point de vue sémantique, on est frappé par la médiocrité de la valeur des emprunts berbères sûrs: plantes spontanées; animaux sans importance ou animalcules; objets sans importance ou détritus; un seul verbe, pour “grincer des dents.” Comme on pouvait s’y attendre, l’apport culturel du berbère à l’arabe de Malte est pratiquement nul.”
11.1 “Emprunts grecs et turcs dans le dialecte arabe de Malte,” Mélanges Marcel Cohen, réunis par David Cohen, Mouton, The Hague-Paris 1970, 229-231.
Lists seven ‘Maltese’ words (apparently taken from D.G. Barbera, Dizionario maltese-araba-italiano, Beyrouth 1939-40), suggesting that they are five Greek loanwords and two Turkish ones.
12 W. Cowan, Review of J. Aquilina’s “The Structure of Maltese,” in Language 36, 1960, 179-184.
“The book does not qualify as a historical grammar, however, for Aquilina does not trace developments so much as he merely presents the comparative data. In spite of this incomplete approach, and some other shortcomings which will be mentioned presently, The structure of Maltese is a valuable contribution to Arabic studies, if only because it brings this interesting dialect to the attention of modern scholars.” “Aquilina divides all Maltese into three parts: Semitic Maltese, or those features inherited [p.292] from Arabic; Romance Maltese, or those features borrowed from Sicilian and Italian; and Mixed Vocabulary, which is, roughtly, assimilated loan-words. The line between Mixed Vocabulary and the other two categories is at times rather hazy, as, when discussing “Semitic Phonology,” Aquilina includes many examples from Mixed Vocabulary, labeling them Romance Maltese to indicate their historical origin. Historically this is interesting, but synchronically it leads to chaos. The morphemic status of loanwords is difficult in any Arabic dialect; it is all the more so in Maltese, which has so many.” According to the reviewer, the section on Syntax “seems the most competent” and the “morphological detail is carefully worked out and carefully presented.”
12.1 Review of J. Aquilina’s “Papers in Maltese Linguistics,” in Language 38, 1962, 330-334.
“Maltese has suffered many changes, some of them producing forms that are satisfyingly different from cognate forms in other dialects, especially if the Maltese is noted in a phonological transcription, something which Aquilina only approximates. These changes are discussed in the longest and most interesting article in the book.” “He [Aquilina] also has the tendency, all too prevalent among European and European-trained linguists, to attribute sound change to substrata, or, as in Maltese, to superstrata as well. The putative Punic substratum or the Sicilian superstratum may well be the reason for the changes of Maltese, but until it can be proved, it would be well not to present it as what “no doubt” took place.”
12.2 “An early Maltese word-list,” in JMS 2, 1964, 217-225.
Reproduces the 121 items (mostly single words) recorded by Megiser in his essay on Malta (Propugnaculum Europae, Cracow 1611), giving their Maltese equivalent in phonological transcription. “Megiser obviously did not know Maltese, the text is quite short, has almost no repetitions, and is much marred by misprints. In addition, his transcription appears to be rather ad hoc, designed to give only a rough approximation of the Maltese sound.”
12.3 “Loss of emphasis in Maltese,” in JMS 3, 1966, 27-32.
“Modern Maltese does not have anything that could be described as emphasis. Therefore, Maltese has lost this component of emphasis, and the purpose of this paper is to trace that loss, and see what effects it has had on the phonological structure of Maltese. The loss of emphasis is especially distinctive in Maltese, since, in general, Arabic dialects have increased rather than decreased the pervasiveness of emphasis.”
12.4 “An underground rule in Maltese,’ in Journal of Linguistics, [p.293] C.U P., VII, 1971, 245-251.
“This note is concerned with historical sound change expressed in rules added to a previous set of rules that develop a language from an earlier to a later form. I am not prepared at this time to explore in full the relationship between rules of sound change and rules of generative phonology, although it is obvious that this relationship exists in Maltese, as in many other languages.”
12.5 “Rules for segholization in Maltese,” Actes du Premier Congrès ... Arabo-Berbère, Alger 1973, 74-82.
The paper examines “the development in Maltese on the level of syllable structure of words of the shape CVCVC from CVCC shapes in earlier Arabic” and further linguistic changes according to a “similar but by no means identical process in Hebrew” known as segholization.
13 A. Cremona, “L’antica fondazione della scuola di lingua araba in Malta,” MH, vol. 1, 1952-55, pp. 87-103, 141-149, 207-220.
A historical study on the teaching of Arabic in Malta, established by the “Sacra Congregazione de Propaganda Fide” in 1637.
13.1 “La marina maltese dal Medioevo all’epoca moderna. Storia e terminologia marittima,” in JMS 2, 1964, 177-197.
Notes on Maltese maritime history and language. Names of merchant ships (like tartana, skuna [Eng. schooner], bark, brigantin, kurvetta, xprunara, brigg, galjazza, olandiża, trabakklu, xambekk, guletta) and boats (dgħajsa tal pass, dgħajsa tal-latini, ċattra, luzzu, kajjik, barkun, kenura [Eng. canoe?], lanċa, etc.) are given. The Appendix gives the names of all parts of a sailing vessel (tarkett, parrukkett, arblu tat-majjistra, bastun tab-flokk, pik tar-randa, pinnur tal-pappafik tal-pruwa, etc.).
13.2 “The phraseological use of the verbs ‘Qies,’ ‘Għadd’ and ‘Dann,’” in JMS 3, 1966, 75-78.
Shows that these verbs meaning respectively ‘to measure,’ ‘to reckon’ and ‘to imagine’ may take several shades of meaning according to the context and their syntactical function.
13.3 “The word Ta’ in the Maltese language,” in JMS 4, 1967, 79-80.
“It may be argued that independently of other dialectal developments in the use of the Maltese ta’ as a possible derivation of the Arabic Ta marbuta, the use of such Maltese ta’ may have been largely influenced by the Italian genitive construction of the particle di (of), but it is to be borne in mind that the peculiar way of expressing the genitive by means of the particle ta’ is not exclusively a Maltese peculiarity, but is also, as has been shown, actually used in the spoken dialects of other Semitic [p.294] languages, which evidently have suffered no influence in its use from other foreign Romance sources.”
13.4 “The study and teaching of Maltese,” in JFA 2, 1958, 117-120.
“Up to the year 1838 there is no traceable record to show that any serious attempt was ever made to introduce the reading or writing of Maltese in schools.”
13.5 “The classification of the Maltese verb,” in JMS 1, 1961, 117-129.
Illustrates the criteria adopted by the author of Tagħlim fuq il-kitba Maltija (1st ed. 1938, the standard Maltese grammar) in classifying Maltese verbs according to the grammar of Modern Arabic.
14 D. Degiorgio, Dizzjunarju Tekniku Ingliż-Malti, Union Press, Malta 1964, pp. 364.
The first dictionary of technical terms from English to Maltese. Examples: “Gauze screens. Xibka ta’ wajjer irqiq li tkun f’hydraulic jack għat-tisfija ta’ l-ilma. Gear box. It-taqsima f’karrozza fejn ikun hemm il-gear mechanism.”
15 T. De Mauro, “L’arcadia fascista di Paolo Monelli,” in Paese Sera of the 4th and 18th December 1970.
Newspaper articles following P. Monelli’s series of articles on Malta published in “Corriere della Sera.” De Mauro appreciates the “trilingue civiltà di Malta” and the Maltese language: “Come si sa, la totalità della popolazione maltese parla il malti, una lingua semitica (innestatasi forse su un più antico fondo punico). Come il persiano a un nobile e civile esempio di lingua indoeuropea restata tale nella morfologia e nella sintassi, e semitizzata invece nel vocabolario, cosi il malti esemplifica il caso simmetrico: una lingua semitica, tale nella morfologia e nella sintassi, ma indoeuropeizzata nel vocabolario.”
16 C.L. Dessoulavy, “Quelques noms propres maltais,” in JFA 1, 1957, 40-47.
Gives Arabic correspondence to a variety of Maltese names and place-names.
17 E. Fenech, “Malta’s Contribution towards Arabic Studies,” in Actes du Premier Congrès ...... Arabo-Berbère,” Alger 1973, 256-260.
Notes on the teaching of Arabic, including a list of Mss.
18 W. Fischer, Die Demonstrativen Bildungen der neuarabischen Dialekte, Mouton, The Hague 1959, pp. 221.
Analyzes the demonstrative pronoun in Maltese. “Das demonstrative [p.295] Pronomen hada schloss sich der Umbildung von da zu dana an and so entstanden die Formen hedana, hedina, hedauna; ursprünglich lag der Akzent wahrscheinlich nicht auf dem a, sondern wie in den übrigen arabischen Dialekten auf dem ha-, wie die Form hiedan (Sutcliffe 173) andeutet.”
19 P. Grech, “Are there any traces of Punic in Maltese?,” in JMS 1, 1961, 130-138.
“We must therefore conclude that both in grammar and vocabulary, where Arabic differs from Phoenician, Maltese mainly follows Arabic, and there is no single instant in which it follows Phoenician. The logical conclusion, therefore, is that there is no philological evidence that any traces of Punic remain in modern Maltese. It is not impossible that some words which are common heritage passed directly into Maltese from Phoenician, especially those which are common with Syrian, but there is no evidence for this, and, if we take into consideration the vast number of cases in which Maltese and Arabic agree against Phoenician, the presumption weighs heavily against direct transmission from Phoenician. Maltese, today, is a language on its own. Its direct ancestor is the dialect of the Aghlabids who invaded Malta in the ninth century and came from North Africa. Whether Punic was still spoken in Malta before the Arabic invasion is a question which must remain unsolved for lack of evidence. As Malta formed part of the Byzantine Empire, it is more probable that the Maltese spoke Greek or Low Latin as the Sicilians did, but whatever language was spoken was totally wiped out by the Aghlabids as happened in North Africa where the case for Punic is even stronger.”
19.1 Introduction and glossary to A.J. Arberry’s Dun Karm Poet of Malta, C.U.P. 1961, pp. 217.
An introductory essay on the Maltese language and some etymological notes. “The Maltese alphabet has had to assimilate some letters of foreign origin to be able to transcribe Romance and English words. These are ċ (pronounced as ch in chair), g (hard as in get), p, v, and z (ts) [...] The vowels are five: a, e, i, o, u that can be either long or short. They are pronounced as in Italian. Broadly speaking, Maltese a and e transcribe Arabic fatha, i both fatha and kasra, while o and u correspond to damma. The Arabic â (l’) often becomes ie in Maltese. It has already been said above that almost one-fifth of Maltese words are of Sicilian or Italian origin.”
20 B.S.J. Isserlin, “A new dialect survey of present day spoken Maltese,” Atti del III congresso di studi arabi e islamici (Ravella 1966), Napoli 1967, pp. 415-6.
[p.296] An informative note on a dialectal survey undertaken jointly by the Department of Semitic Languages of Leeds University and the Department of Maltese of the Malta University. “A notable feature is the rapidly progressing standardization of speech among the younger generation, owing to the influences of radio and school teaching, which within a generation may well lead to the extinction of the more archaic types of speech.”
21 H. Lüdtke, “Das Maltesische,” Geschichte des romanischen Wortschatzes, Rombach, Freiburg i. Br. 1968, 2. Band, 117-123.
Discusses Maltese in the chapter on “Geschichte des romanischen Wortschatzes in den ‘Mischsprachen,’” giving examples of Romance, mainly Italian and Sicilian, influence on Maltese vocabulary and morphology, to conclude that: “Das Maltesische ist nicht nur kulturhistorisch interessant, sondern auch typologisch. Es steht als Mischsprache auf einer mittleren Stufe zwischen einigen Pidgins wie dem Chinookjargon and dem Russenorsk, bei denen eine extreme Interferenz stattgefunden hat, and Sprachen wie dem Albanesischen, das ja sehr viel lateinisches Sprachgut aufgenommen hat — and vielleicht auch dem Englischen, das von romanischen Einflüssen weniger stark geprägt wurde als das maltesische Idiom.”
22 G. Mangion, “L’italiano a Malta,” in Storia linguistica dell’Italia nel Novecento, Atti del V Convegno Internazionale di Studi della Società di Linguistica Italiana (Roma 1971), Bulzoni, Roma 1973, 159-180.
Discusses the place of Italian in Malta, its influence on the Maltese language and the current linguistic situation on the Island. “La politica linguistica dell’Inghilterra a Malta diventò aperta e incisiva dopo il ’48, e più ancora dopo Roma capitale. Si generò negli anni Ottanta una vera e propria querelle des langues che rimase al centro della lotta politica maltese fino alla vigilia dell’ultima guerra: era la battaglia per la supremazia fra l’inglese e l’italiano. Nei primi del Novecento entrò nella mischia anche il maltese, i cui sostenitori aumentavano sempre più di numero e di forza morale, sotto la spinta della crescente educazione popolare, delle aspirazioni indipendentistiche (tendenti, romanticamente, a identificare lingua e nazione) e infine dell’esempio di numerose piccole nazioni le quali, dopo la prima guerra mondiale, elevavano al rango di lingua nazionale il proprio linguaggio.”
22.1 “Appunti di storia linguistica maltese,” in Dal dialetto alla lingua, Atti del IX Convegno del Centro di Studio per la Dialettologia Italiana (Lecce 1972), Pacini, Pisa 1974, 391-417.
An essay on the discussions that have prevailed in Malta since the [p.297] 18th century concerning the origin, use and writing of the Maltese language. “Nella seconda metà del Settecento, analogamente a quanto succedeva praticamente in tutte le regioni italiane, si generò a Malta un interesse nuovo, embrionalmente scientifico, per l’idioma locale. Apparvero infatti le prime grammatiche e i primi dizionari, e si può dire che, nonostante gli evidenti pregiudizi e difetti degli autori, furono poste in quel periodo le basi del futuro studio e della futura affermazione della lingua maltese.”
23 D. Marshall, “A comparative table of the meaning patterns of the derived forms of the verb in Arabic and Maltese,” in JMS 5, 1968, 14-24.
“Arabic is a very concise language, renowned for its pithy sayings, with proverbs that rarely exceed five, or even four words, and this same feature of conciseness is noticeable in Maltese. Preciseness and conciseness in verbs is achieved by means of derived forms of the basic root letters. Arabic has 15 forms, of which only 1 to 10 are in common use, Maltese has 10, with form 4 being very rare (In neither language is there any verb root which has all the derived forms...... Five is a good average in Arabic, four in Maltese).”
23.1 History of the Maltese Language in local education, University Press, Malta 1971, 99 pp. + app.
“The purpose of this work is to look at the history of the Maltese language not from a linguistic point of view, except insofar as this may be necessary incidentally to illustrate some relevant aspect of the main theme, but from two other related points of view: first, its vicissitudes in the extension of its use from that of just a national language, which it has been for centuries, to that of an official language also, which it has only relatively recently become; and second, and more important, its course as a language deemed worthy of being taught and studied both in schools and at University level. It is a history incorporating sound study and ignorant bias, objective reasoning and blind prejudice, national patriotism and political wranglings. And although the heat has now gone out of the battle which raged around what later came to be called “the language question,” that battle is perhaps not yet finished.”
23.2 “A social and historical commentary on “The Dialogues” of De Soldanis,” in JMS 6, 1971, 1-33.
Some sociolinguistic notes accompany the translation of the “Dialogues” written in Maltese by G.F. Agius de Soldanis (1712-1770).
23.3 “A comparative study of some semantic differences between [p.298] Maltese and Koranic Arabic,” in JMS 9, 1973, 1-44.
Follows, suggesting corrections where necessary, “A Maltese Arabic Word List” by C.L. Dessoulavy (London 1938, pp. 146) who lists “a great number of Maltese words, arranged under some key word followed by other words derived from that same root. He also indicates whether the root may be of Common Semitic occurrence, and whether it occurs in the Koran.” The essay illustrates “some of the more interesting and obvious examples” of semantic differences between Maltese and Koranic Arabic.
24 J. Micallef, “Il contributo del maltese allo studio del siciliano. Problemi di fonetica siciliana e maltese,” in Saggi e ricerche in memoria di Ettore Li Gotti, Palermo 1962, vol. II, 274-287.
Concise, original notes on: Contatti tra Malta e la Sicilia; l’elemento romanzo nel maltese; B- in siciliano e in maltese; alcune equazioni fonetiche fra siciliano e maltese; i nessi di consonante+ L in siciliano e nel maltese; i nessi di nasale + occlusiva sonora; la continuazione maltese di -LL-.
“Nella formazione del lessico romanzo nel maltese non si può escludere un contributo diretto anche di altri dialetti italiani [besides Sicilian], e in particolare dal napoletano, dal genovese a dal veneziano, a causa dei rapporti marittimi tra Malta a l’Italia; questi dialetti probabilmente hanno esercitato un influsso tanto sulla fonetica quanto sul lessico dell’elemento siciliano incorporato nel maltese. Si deve pure ammettere un contributo diretto derivato dall’italiano antico e moderno, e probabilmente anche dallo spagnuolo e dal Catalano, forse anche dal provenzale e dal portoghese [......] Questo elemento lessicale è rimasto fino a questi giorni quasi totalmente inutilizzato [......] Eppure il maltese può contribuire a chiarire dei problemi tanto di carattere fonetico quanto semantico non solo del siciliano, ma anche di altri dialetti italiani, a fino ad un certo punto può contribuire anche allo studio della filologia romanza perché ha elementi arcaici sia nella fonetica che nel lessico e soprattutto perché consente di studiare l’interessante fenomeno dell’adattamento di voci romanze in una lingua di struttura fonetica e morfologica araba; in tal modo il maltese offre un importante punto di riferimento anche per lo studio del siciliano a dello spagnuolo, i quasi presentano il fenomeno contrario, e cioè l’adattamento di numerose voci arabe in una lingua di struttura fonetica e morfologica romanza.”
25 E. Mifsud, “The Demonstrative in Maltese,” in JMS 7, 1971, 77-91.
After pointing out that the “Maltese demonstrative forms have much in common with those of the North African dialects,” the A. discusses [p.299] the origin of final -n in the demonstrative of proximity (s.m. da dan dana hedan(a); f. di din dina hedin(a); pl. c. dau daun dauna hedaun(a) ), comparing Maltese with other Semitic languages (old Phoenician, Aramaic, Syriac) which present the demonstrative element n. “The Arabic language succeeded without great difficulty in supplanting the previous Semitic dialect and in spreading firm roots, but could not prevent that some of the peculiarities of the former tongue survive in the new Maltese dialect. Such may be the demonstrative with its odd final n, which may be a particle existing already in the pre-Arabic Semitic demonstrative.” The Author concludes: “The existing forms of the Maltese demonstrative suggest to me an original form derived from the Canaanitic group, and in particular something like dena and dena as in Aramaic.”
26 P. Minganti, “Fonti storiche arabe,” in Missione Archeologica Italiana a Malta. Rapporto preliminare della Campagna 1964, Centro Studi Semitici, Roma 1965, 17-21.
Suggests that Malta was directly under Arab influence before 827, and until 1249.
27 T.F. Mitchell, Review of J. Aquilina’s Structure of Maltese and Papers in Maltese Linguistics, in BSOAS XXV, 1962, 353-5.
“Whatever the true nature of that form of Arabic known as Classical, it was certainly in no sense — pace Professor Aquilina — the source of the Maltese Semitic base. Comparisons between Maltese and Classical Arabic are, therefore, it might seem, less meaningful than those which could be made between Maltese and several varieties of colloquial Arabic. Exposition, moreover, is sometimes made in less than formal linguistic terms.”
28 S. Morag, “Some notes on the vowel system of spoken Hebrew,” in Lesonénu 37, 1973, 205-214.
Contains references to Maltese, quoting J. Aquilina, W. Cowan and D. Cohen (in Hebrew).
29 G. Oman, L’ittionimia nei Paesi arabi del Mediterraneo, Olschki, Firenze 1966, 295 pp.
Continual references to Maltese for comparative purposes, making ample use of “Catalogue des noms des poissons ayant une importance Commerciale en Méditerranée,” published by FAO, Rome 1960, and A. Palombi - M. Santarelli, “Gli animali commestibili dei mari d’Italia,” Milano, 2nd ed. 1961.
30 O. Parlangeli, “Osservazioni sull’uso della lingua italiana a Malta,” Annali della Facoltà di Magistero dell’Università di Bari, VIII 1969, 7-57.
[p.300] This is the first scientific article on the ‘language question’ in Malta to have been published in Italy after the War. According to Parlangeli “L’italiano può riprendere a Malta la sua strada: ai Maltesi non conviene certo abbandonare la dimestichezza con gli Inglesi, né dimenticare il maltese, ma non conviene neppure dimenticare i vincoli antichi a le ragioni moderne (culturali, commerciali e, sopratutto, politiche: non nel senso di Malta provincia, ma di Malta indipendente ed alleata) che unirono, uniscono ed uniranno sempre Malta all’Italia.”
A footnote on p. 9 reads as follows: “A pensarci bene, si potrebbe (mutatis mutandis) “inventare” una nuova lingua romanza (il maltese...) che certo non sfigurerebbe accanto ad altri compiacenti rami della famiglia neolatina: dal sardo al moldavo, passando attraverso il retoromanzo a l’istrioto......”
31 G.B. Pellegrini, Review of J. Aquilina’s Papers in Maltese Linguistics, in Quaderni dell’Istituto di Glottologia dell’Università di Bologna V, 1960, 131-135.
“Tutti i capitoli del volume sono del resto istruttivi per lo studioso della Romania Arabica perché il maltese offre materiali linguistici spesso fondamentali per la comparazione lessicale e fonetica degli elementi arabi nello spagnuolo a nel siciliano. Anche per lo studio dell’arabo siculo (dei diplomi e dei fossili toponimici ecc.), il maltese presenta a volte coincidenze interessanti (accanto a divergenze che non si debbono trascurare). Ma anche all’Aquilina sarebbe stata assai proficua una conoscenza meno superficiale del filone arabo siciliano.”
32 J. Peretti, Les aspects linguistiques littéraires artistiques et folkloriques de l’italianité de Malte, Editrice Filelfo, Tolentino 1965, 345 pp.
A thesis for the Doctorate at the Sorbonne, the book contains brief chapters on “La langue italienne à Malte,” “La part de l’Italien dans le dialecte maltais,” “La querelle des langues.” The author believes that Italian will regain political prestige in Malta in the future.
33 J.S. Ryan, “The Italians and their language in Australia,” in Orbis XXII, 2, 1973, 488-519.
Pp. 518-519 contain an Appendix on the Maltese in Australia, and a Table showing census at June 30, 1966. Malta’s impact on Australia has been “relatively slight.”
34 P.P. Saydon, “Bibliographical aids to the study of Maltese,” in JNES XII, 1953, No. 1 pp. 20-30, No. 2 pp. 124-133.
“The list includes all books and articles that are likely to be found in foreign libraries, with the exception of those which have no importance. [p.301] Occasional references in books of history, magazines, and travelers’ accounts have been purposely omitted.”
34.1 “Some unusual ways of expressing the superlative in Hebrew and Maltese,” in Vetus Testamentum IV, 1954, 432-433.
Following up D.W. Thomas’ article in the previous issue of this review, Saydon gives examples of how the superlative can be expressed in Maltese by means of the words mewt ‘death,’ aħħar ‘last’ (corresponding to Hebr. nesah ‘end’) and Alla ‘God.’
34.2 “Traces of the Byzantine rite in the Church of Malta,” in Melita Theologica, Malta 1954, 47-48.
Gives philological evidence to show “the possibility of Greek influence on the liturgy of the Church of Malta.” Ascension day is still called Lapsi (Gk. (ana)leipsis) in Maltese. Words like liti ‘procession, rogation’ and miru ‘chrism’ are obsolete, but can be found in old Maltese dictionaries.
34.3 “The pre-Arabic Latin element in Maltese Toponymy,” in Orbis V, I, 1956, 191-197 (abstract in “Proceedings of the 23rd Int. Congress of Orientalists” (Cambridge 1954), London n.d., pp. 89-90; see also by Saydon, I maltesi parlavano latino?, in “Il Ponte — rassegna maltese di cultura e attualità” 4, 1966, 15-17).
Gives lexical evidence of an “underlying Latin substratum” which is “more evident in toponymy than in the language itself”: Malta - Melita, Ghawdex - Gaudos or Gaulos, Pwales (broken pl. of palus), Skala (in Marsaskala), Qannotta - cannetum, Kalanka - calanca. Saydon is inclined to think that the Maltese spoke Latin prior to the advent of the Arabs.
34.4 “The vocalization of the verb in Maltese,” in Orbis, VII, 1, 1958, 168-182.
“It is my aim in this paper to go through the whole system of vocalization of the Maltese verb in the perfect tense only. My investigation lies solely within the field of Maltese linguistic research. Verbs will be grouped together, examined and discussed in the light of the principles of Maltese philology...
“It must be remarked at the very outset that the pronunciation of the vowels differs in the various localities of the Island. In the towns vowels have a clear, pure sound, but in the villages they assume a more or less obscure or weak sound. In these notes I follow the town-pronunciation, as, though less scientific, it is certainly more uniform; but village-pro-nunciation will receive due consideration whenever it serves to explain better the reason for the choice of a vowel.
“It must be remarked also that emphatic sounds have completely [p.302] disappeared from Maltese, but their effect upon the adjoining vowels has been generally preserved.”
34.5 Review of J. Aquilina’s The Structure of Maltese, in Erasmus 1960, 269-271.
Brief remarks, particularly phonological.
34.6 “Maltese Arabic Studies,” in Arabic Dialect Studies (a selected bibliography) edited by H. Sobelman (Center for Applied Linguistics of the Modern Language Association and the Middle East Institute), Washington DC 1962, pp. 89-100.
An alphabetical handlist of Maltese studies, preceded by an introductory note and a discussion of some outstanding issues within the scientific study of Maltese.
34.7 Review of J. Aquilina’s Papers in Maltese Linguistics, in Erasmus 1963, 722-724.
Discusses some general points, such as the notion of Maltese as a “mixed language” and the language spoken by the Maltese in pre-Arabic times.
34.8 “Maltese Etymological Notes,” in JSS X, I, 1965, 67-82.
Reviews and discusses recent articles on Maltese etymology (by J. Aquilina, P. Grech, C.V. Dessoulavy, etc.), proposing corrections.
34.9 “Hebraico-Maltese Notes,” Rivista degli Studi Orientali XVI, Roma 1966, 115-154.
Examines the affinities between Maltese and Hebrew in (a) Phonetics, (b) Morphology and (c) Syntax.
“Although the Maltese language has drawn largely on its immediate Arabic sources, it bears striking affinities with other branches of the great Semitic family of languages, especially Hebrew. Though such affinities do not go so far as to prove any direct genetic relationship, they serve to illustrate certain linguistic peculiarities of a language which, in the form in which we know it from the Bible, has long ceased to be spoken.” In the conclusion the Author expresses the view that “Maltese presents the unique phenomenon of being a Semitic language which separated itself from the main stock at a very early date and continued to develop under the influence of Romance languages. This however is not enough to describe Maltese as a mixed language, as it is sometimes done. All languages are, to a greater or lesser extent, mixed with foreign elements, but no one dares call Italian a mixed language because it has a few non-Latin words.”
34.10 “Die Ortsnamen der maltesischen Inseln,” in Annali [p.303] dell’Istituto Orientale di Napoli, NS, vol. XVI, 1966, pp. 177-200, vol. XVII, 1967, pp. 25-53.
“Der ursprüngliche Plan dieses Werkes war nur den semitischen oder arabischen Grundstoff der maltesischen Ortsnamen umzufassen. Nach weiterem Überlegung war es aber entscheidet den neueren romanischen and nicht semitischen Grundstoff auch umzufassen, um ein vollstandiges Bild der maltesischen Ortsnamen zu geben.
Das Werk wird in zwei Teilen geteilt. Der erste Teil wird solche gemeinsame topographische Namen wie: Land, Stadt, Strasse, Feld, Ebene, Hügel, Küste, Tal u.s.w. enthalten; der zweite Teil wird die Namen womit diese Länder, Städte, Strassen, Felden u.s.w. benannt sind, enthalten.”
34.11 Review of J. Aquilina’s Teach yourself Maltese, in JSS 1967, 160-163.
“To write a grammar of Maltese is not so easy as it may appear. Maltese is a Semitic language with a grammar and a vocabulary which, though essentially Semitic, has a considerable amount of accretions of a Romance origin, which sometimes become naturalized Maltese and sometimes retain their individuality unchanged. Hence the grammar of Maltese, though essentially Semitic, contains an element which is not Semitic at all. Moreover, a writer of such a grammar is generally more or less deeply imbued with the knowledge of foreign non-Semitic languages and hence influenced by them, especially in his treatment of the syntax.”
35 E. Serracino Inglott, “The triliterality of quadrilaterals in Semitic Maltese,” in JMS 3, 1966, 47-67.
Some historical considerations on the evolution of Maltese and a brief study of quadrilaterals in Maltese.
36 . H. Skik, “Les Maltais en Tunisie,” in Actes du Premier Congrès ...... Arabo-Berbère, Alger 1973, 83-90.
A historical essay, with some linguistic observations, on Maltese emigrants in Tunisia, who amounted to 13,500 in 1921 but have now dwindled down to about 500.
37 E. Sutcliffe, “The vowels of verbs with third weak radical,” in JFA 1, 1957, 37-39.
“Whereas the original first vowel of verbs with ghajn as first radical has been retained till modern times and is still only in danger of being superseded by e, verbs with third weak radical have long since substituted e for a, except in the case of verbs which have a restraining influence in one of their radicals.” “It would be convenient if some simple rule could be laid down by which it would be possible to tell what class of verbs [p.304] would take which vowel. From a study of Maltese alone it is not possible to formulate any such rule. The reason is that Maltese has made great strides towards the goal of simplification.”
38 L.P. Trimble, “Phonemic Change and the growth of Homophones in Maltese,” in JMS 7, 1971, 92-98.
“Maltese is outstanding among the descendants of Arabic, in that it has undergone more extensive phonetic modifications than any other dialect, and as a result has developed a great number of homophones where none existed in the parent language.” According to the Author, the most productive area for the development of homophones in Maltese is found in the loss, common to most Arabic dialects, of initial and medial ghain and ha’. Apart from natural linguistic changes, the “continuous and increasingly powerful non-Semitic influences” have tended to increase homophones. A study of homophones in the Romance element of Maltese is suggested.
38.1 “Some linguistic comments on religious terms in Maltese,” in JMS 9, 1973, 59 67.
A brief study of the three most commonly recited prayers in Malta: Il-Missierna or the Pater Noster, il-Kredu or the Apostles’ Creed and is-Sliema or the Hail Mary. “The paper also discusses some representational religious phrases and some common words used with their religious meanings. Of particular note are the shifting from the construct state to periphrasis in noun-noun possessive relationships; the free mixing of Romance and Semitic words in the same phrase; the development of lexically and morphologically Semitic but syntactically and conceptually Romance calques from Italian; and the increasing existence of doublets — one Semitic and the other Romance.”
39 G. Wettinger, “The distribution of surnames in Malta in 1419 and the 1480s” in JMS 5, 1968, 25-48.
Based on the Militia List mentioned below and the Angara List for the 1480s. Here are some of the surnames beginning with the letter C: Cabebu, Cabur, Cakia, Cachma, Cabide, Cadumi, Cadus (Cadusi), Cafor, Caferinu, Cagege, Cahalun, Calabachi, Calabru, Calafat (Calfat), Calava, Calimera, Calleja, Callus, Camenzuli, Camilleri......
Some 160 different surnames are given according to their village of origin. Most of them are not Semitic. “This, however, does not necessarily imply a foreign origin of the families to which they belonged. Surnames were not acquired by natural inheritance alone, and it was quite possible for Maltese families to acquire a non-Semitic surname without having to get a sire from abroad. Both the clergy and the notaries, as well as the [p.305] whole of the rest of the oligarchy ruling the island in the fifteenth and earlier centuries, were deeply impregnated with the culture of Sicily, Spain, and Europe generally. They kept their records in a European language, and tended to translate surnames as they wrote.”
39.1 “The Militia List of 1419-20,” in MH 5, no. 2, 1969, 80-106.
A list of people serving in the Militia, found in a Ms. entitled “Quaternu factu et ordinatu per li nobili capitaneo et Jurati [et] consiglu per la guardia de la hisula de mauta anni XIII Indicionis.”
This is the oldest long list of Maltese names and surnames discovered so far, hence its linguistic value.
39.2 “Late Medieval Maltese nicknames,” in JMS 6, 1971, 34-46.
About a hundred nicknames, gleaned from 15th century documents, mainly Notarial deeds. “A glance through the list reveals that, as expected, the majority of the nicknames in use in late Medieval Maltese were of Semitic origin, but that Romance ones included not only references to towns with which presumably their owners had connections – nicknames such as Avola, Caglarisi, Malfi – but others like Ballarin, Baroni, Barri, Caglun, Flucha, Formica (unless it really represents the nickname Nemla), Maduma and Madiuna, Manina, Ribazza, Rocca, lu Russu (probably standing for l-Aħmar), Slampa, ta’ l-Isptar, Stajnu, Trumbetta, Villano. These do not include those on whose exact rendering doubt persists. Thus at last first hand evidence is available confirming the suspicion that Sicilian speech was affecting the language spoken in Malta.”
39.3 “Arabo-Berber influences in Malta: onomastic evidence,” in Actes du Premier Congrès...... Arabo-Berbère, Alger 1973, 484-495.
Through onomastic evidence collected mainly from Notarial records prior to 1530, the Author suggests “it can now be shown that until the end of the 15th century Arabo-Berber influence in Malta was far stronger than most people realized or Abela and Agius de Soldanis have led us to believe.” He concludes: “All in all, the Medieval nomenclature of Malta is so cluttered up with Arabo-Berber names that one is left wondering at the fate of the previous inhabitants. Did they not survive at all? How could they have been assimilated so completely that they have left practically no visible sign of themselves in the place-names? Even if they spoke some form of Phoenician they should by 870 have adopted innumerable Latin and Greek names.”
39.4 G. Wettinger and M. Fsadni, Peter Caxaro’s Cantilena, Lux Press, Malta 1968, pp. 54.
This poem in Medieval Maltese was discovered by the Authors in the [p.306] back pages of a volume of 16th century notarial deeds, but the poem itself dates back to the middle of the 15th century. The text, divided into three sections of six, four and ten lines, is here critically edited by the Authors, who have also included some apt considerations on “The place of the Maltese language in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries” and “Cultural life in Malta in the later fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.” The Cantilena, which is the earliest extant literary evidence of Maltese, relates the allegorical story of the poet’s house crumbling down due to lack of solid foundations. The gist of the poem is in the following lines:
“Huakit hi mirammiti lili zimen nibni
Mectatilix mihallimin me chitali tafal morchi
fen timayt insib il gebel sib tafal morchi
vackit hi mirammiti,”
of which the following is a transliteration into the modern alphabet:
“Waqgħet hi, imrammti, l’îli żmien nibni,
Ma ħtatlix mgħallmin, ’mma qatagħli tafal merħi;
Fejn tmajt insib il-ġebel sibt tafal merħi,
Waqgħet hi, imrammti,”
rendered into English as follows:
“My house, it
has fallen down, the one I have long been a-building.
The workmen themselves were not to blame, but it was the loose clay that gave way.
I found loose clay where I had hoped to find rock;
My house! It has fallen down!”*
* This paper was submitted to the XIV International Congress of Romance Linguistics and Philology held in Naples in April 1974: thanks are due to the organisers for permitting its publication in Malta, for the benefit of members of the Malta Historical Association.
 The Constitution of Malta refers to the Language as follows in chap. 1 art. 5:
“(1) The National language of Malta is the Maltese language.
(2) The Maltese and the English languages and such other languages as may be prescribed by Parliament (by a law passed by not less than two-thirds of all members of the House of Representatives) shall be the official languages of Malta and the Administration may for all official purposes use any of such languages: Provided that any person may address the Administration in any of the official languages and the reply of the Administration thereto shall be in such language.
(3) The language of the Courts shall be the Maltese language: Provided that Parliament may make such provision for the use of the English language in such cases and under such conditions as it may prescribe.
(4) The House of Representatives may, in regulating its own procedure, determine the language or languages that shall be used in Parliamentary proceedings and records.”
This Constitution became operative on September 21, 1964. According to the 1921 Constitution, English and Italian were official languages of Malta on an equal footing: in 1934 Italian was replaced by Maltese.
The Maltese Islands, in the very centre of the Mediterranean, some 90 km away from Sicily and over three times as much from the North African coast, cover an area of 316 sq.km. The demographic development within the Islands (not considering emigration, mainly directed to Australia in the present century) has been roughly as follows:— 1530: 20,000; 1632: 51,000; 1798: 90,000; 1832: 114,000; 1973: 299,000.
 The following abbreviations have been used:
BSLP =Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris; BSOAS =Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University; JFA= Journal of the Faculty of Arts, Malta University; JMS=Journal of Maltese Studies, Malta University (J. Aquilina ed., nine issues in 1961-1973); JNES=Journal of Near Eastern Studies; JSS=Journal of Semitic Studies; MH=Melita Historica.
Unfortunately, some diacritical marks have not been available at the printing press. Most of the items included here (and others, mostly reviews, left out because deemed of no particular importance) are, of course, recorded in Bibliographie Linguistique, generally in the section “Arabe — Dialectologie.” Maltese is mentioned also in P.F. Abboud’s contribution on “Spoken Arabic” in Current Trends in Linguistics, T.A. Sebeok ed., vol. 6, Mouton 1970, pp. 439-466.