Maltese

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A language of Malta

Autonym
Malti
Population

403,000 (European Commission 2012). Total users in all countries: 482,880.

Location

Widespread.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (1964, Constitution, Article 5(2)).

Dialects

Standard Maltese, Port Maltese, Rural West Maltese, Rural East Maltese, Rural Central Maltese, Zurrieq, Gozo.

Typology

SVO; prepositions; noun head initial; gender (masculine/feminine); definite article; verb affixes mark person, number; 23 consonants, 10 vowels, 8 diphthongs; non-tonal.

Language Use

Vigorous. No diglossia with Standard Arabic [arb]. Most also use English [eng] (European Commission 2006). Some also use French [fra] (European Commission 2006).

Language Development
Grammar. Bible: 1932–1984.
Writing

Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab], no longer in use, attempts at using Arabic script have failed. Braille script [Brai]. Latin script [Latn], primary usage.

Other Comments

Descended from Tunisian Spoken Arabic [aeb] with heavy borrowings from Italian [ita]; separately developed with different syntax and phonology. Influence from Romance began in the late eleventh century when the Normans ousted the Arabs from the islands and the language was isolated from its Arabic source, continuing to develop alongside Italian [ita] (Fabri 2010).

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