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Aquilina, J. (1940) The structure of Maltese: A study in mixed grammar and vocabulary. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Maltese is a separate language resulting from the interaction and fusion of North-African Arabic Siculo-Italian, covering two different cultural strata. The Arabic element in Maltese very often corresponds to the Anglo-Saxon in English, while the Romance loans correspond to the Norman-French element. Also as in English, the primitive linguistic stratum is confined mainly to the description of the obvious facts of Nature and the Individual's reactions to them while the abstract and progressive vocabulary of the intelligentsia belongs to later times. The result of this fusion is a mixed grammar and vocabulary as we shall show when studying the structure of spoken Maltese. In order to be able to distinguish the two elements, we have established a series of descriptive criteria that together make possible a detailed phonological analysis of the language. The thesis begins with a description of Maltese sounds, followed by Phonology, where these criteria are based on a study of the Vowels, their quantity, position and sequences; the semi vowel, the diphthongs, their position, stress, the consonants, their sequences including initial groups in phonological junction (zero vowel). In Morphology the words are studied as patterns, with particular attention to the formal arrangement of the consonants and the correlative vowels which are described in their various semantic changes with lists of examples from spoken and archaic Maltese. In both parts the two elements have been treated separately but under Semitic Maltese are treated those words which have been assimilated partially or completely to a Semitic pattern. Words which have not been so assimilated are of course treated under the head of Romance Maltese.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:19

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