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Re: Maltese Question (was Re: Il-Progett ta' Ranma)

From:Fabian <rhialto@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 21, 1999, 17:33
> I have a question about Maltese. I think I remember reading that it was > descended from a dialect of Arabic. Is that true, or is it merely a > cousin of Arabic?
A wise man once said that Maltese is essentially Arabic as spoken by an Italian lving in England. Seriously, Malta was an 'Arab' (probably Tunisian) possession until about 870 AD, and it is known that a dialect of Arabic was spoken there at the time. It is from this dialect that Maltese is ultimately descended. After that, you have Normans (870-c1100), Spaniards (c1100-1565), Knights (1565-1798), French(1798-1800), and British(1800-1964) influences. It was sometime during teh Knight's influence that the language was given a Roman script. Before that, Arabic script was used. The grammar is essentially Arabic. The vocabulary is about 50% arabic, the rest being Italian (sicilian dialect) or English (British dialect). Maltese began to diverge from it's parent Arabic in c870AD. It is an impossible question as to how far this parent dialect had diverged from Classical Arabic. At least, I dont think any local written records survive from that period. I suppose it is a brother to Arabic, which makes it a cousin to Hebrew. --- Fabian If a flying horse ye see, mock ye not if it stays up not.