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.
Manwel Mifsud, Ph.D. (1992) in Maltese, lectures in Maltese historical linguistics at the University of Malta. He has published several papers presented at international congresses on themes including Arabic dialectology, language contact and language planning.
As well as evaluating all significant publications in its area, Loan Verbs in Maltese
offers the scholar two things not suggested by its modest title: a concise linguistic history of Malta, and a critical historiography of the phenomenon under study. These useful "extras" and the author's acuity of analysis and powers of synthesis are sure to establish the book as one of the classics of Maltese philology.'
Journal of Semitic Studies, 1996.
All linguistics interested in language contact situations, in language typology, and in morphology, as well as Arabic dialectologists, Romance linguists and scholars of Maltese.