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Manwel Mifsud

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Loan Verbs in Maltese

A Descriptive and Comparative Study


Manwel Mifsud

Severed from its parent language and from the other vernaculars, as well as from the Islamic culture and religion, the peripheral Arabic dialect of Malta has for the last nine centuries been exposed to large-scale contact with Medieval Sicilian, Italian and, later, English. Modern Maltese thus incorporates a great mass of borrowed words.
This volume is a description of the processes by which Romance and English loan verbs have been integrated to varying degrees into the Arabic structure of Maltese morphology. It also proposes a typological classification of borrowed verbs in a continuum ranging from fully-integrated types to practically “undigested” loans.
The contact situation described here is of special interest both to Arabists and to scholars with an interest in language contact phenomena, especially in view of the basic incongruence between the languages involved, the long period of contact, and the small area in which it occurred.