Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Question: 'mperie' < lat. 'imperium'

From:Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Date:Saturday, March 3, 2007, 9:16
On 2/27/07, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote:
> Philip Newton writes: > > ... "huwa mportanti" ... > > BTW, is that a loan from Sicilian or otherwise Southern Italian? > It's 'mpurtanti' in Sicilian IIRC.
Presumably, from Standard Italian, since I seem to recall reading that the form "should" be "importanti", even after another vowel -- so it should be "huwa importanti". However, the place I read it was in the discussion of the behaviour of prothetic vowels, and the reason "importanti" was brought up was that they said that such (loan) words occasionally act as if the first vowel were prothetic rather than integral to the stem. Interestingly, both of my informants unquestioningly accepted "huwa mportanti" and (seemingly unhesitatingly) said that the phrase, when spoken, contained a syllable /wam/. So it seems that prescriptive spelling (and, presumably, pronunciation) is about as useful a concept in Maltese as in English :) Google does find a few hits for "mpurtanti" and "impurtanti" in Maltese, but not many; I'm guessing that those are by analogy (as if the word had been borrowed from Sicilian rather than Standard Italian). (By the way, if anyone ever tries to look for Maltese words on Google, one trick I sometimes use is to add the search term "hu" -- Googling just for "mpurtanti" gives a fair number of Sicilian hits, but adding "hu" narrows it down to mostly Maltese. "hu" is the 3sg.masc. pronoun, FWIW, and is sufficiently frequent, apparently, in written Maltese that chances are good it'll show up on the same page as the word you're really interested in. Occasionally, this trick is not enough and you'll still get e.g. Arabic sentences, but it's often surprisingly effective.) Cheers, -- Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>