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Malti: A Linguistic Journey Through Malta’s Rich History

With just one week to go until Focus on Executives 2024 in Malta, we’re sharpening our language skills in Maltese!

Malti, the Maltese language, has its roots in Sicilian Arabic, is a linguistic marvel shaped by centuries of cultural exchange. Did you know that the word “Maltese” itself comes from the Semitic root “m-l-t,” meaning “to escape” or “to flee”? This reflects the island’s strategic location and its history of conquests and migrations.

The earliest recorded mention of a distinct Maltese language dates back to 1364 in the testament of Pawlu Pilgrim. Significant linguistic transformations occurred during key historical periods, including Norman rule in 1090, the era of the Knights Hospitaller from 1530 to 1798, and British colonialism starting from 1800. 

Did you know that Maltese is the only Semitic language written in Latin characters? Its alphabet may look familiar, but its origins are far from ordinary. Over the centuries, Maltese has absorbed influences from Arabic, Italian, English, and French, creating a linguistic melting pot unlike any other. 

Take, for example, the word “xahar” (pronounced sha-har), meaning “moon.” Its roots can be traced back to Arabic, reflecting Malta’s Arab heritage. Consider the word “ħwejjeġ” (pronounced “weyj-jeg”), meaning “thing,” which is derived from the Italian “oggetto”, or “kuccar” (pronounced koo-char), meaning “spoon,” from “cucchiaio”; both a testament to the island’s close ties with Italy.

What truly sets Maltese apart is its grammar, a fascinating blend of Semitic and Romance elements. From its intricate verb conjugations to its flexible word order, Maltese challenges linguists to unravel its grammatical mysteries.

In case you missed it, our programme committee member and local partner, Dorothy Scerri of Global Translation Solutions, taught us some key words and phrases for our trip next week, check it out here

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Malta next week!

May 07, 2024 at 14:36 by admin ELIA, Industry
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