Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Languages and Ethnicity

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Institute of Maltese Studies

DESCRIPTION This study-unit, tailor made for the Master in Maltese studies, demonstrates that ethnicity is forged by demographic movements, language contact and literary expression. The course will focus on such topics as immigration and population increase through the ages as reflected in Malta’s surnames, the evolution of Maltese through its contact with high languages, the process of its standardization, and language use in Malta today on the written and spoken levels including language shift and code switching. Literary production in the various languages (Latin, Italian, Maltese and English) will be examined in the various genres and common factors will be highlighted in the search for the Maltese national identity.

Study-unit Aims

The unit aims to meet the requirements and expectations of the IMS Mission Statement in the M.A. prospectus with special reference to Malta's languages and ethnicity. The study-unit aims to provide the student with a holistic view of the composite nature of Maltese language in its various aspects, from its origins to the present.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Possess an updated view of the structure of the Maltese language that will go beyond the traditional “ours” – “not ours” dichotomy, and have a knowledge of the role of other languages used in Malta including Italian and English as well as Maltese in other contexts including Australia and Canada.
- Understand aesthetically the whole process of a literary work within spatial and temporal limits;
- Recognize and decipher the cumulative efforts assimilated by Maltese paradigms and symbols along their past literary and cultural usage;
- Gain an overview of the development of Maltese fiction;
- Understand the development of Maltese theatre and drama especially for the post-independence period;
- Gain an understanding of nations as “imagined communities” and an awareness of the role of Maltese literature in the construction of identity and the national imaginary.

2. Skills: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- To compare Maltese aesthetic writings with other such works by foreign writers of the same period;
- Relate each part of the literary work to its provisional totality or conjectured whole;
- Appreciate the literary efforts and merits of the Maltese novelists during the 19th and 20th centuries;
- Relate Maltese theatrical works with the history of European and world theatre;
- Analyze the creation of new conceptual metaphors that shape our imaginary through the extension of conventional conceptual metaphors.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Reading lists will be offered by all lecturers. Publications, unless stated, are available at the University Library.

Main Texts

- Attard, J.: Storja tal-Estetika Letterarja Maltija, (Malta University Press, 2011)
- Azzopardi, M.: It-Teatru f’Malta, (PIN, Malta, 2002)
- Briffa C.: Il-Letteratura Maltija: L-istorja tan-Narrativa, (Malta University Publishing, 2008)
- Brincat, J.M.: Maltese and Other Languages, (Midsea Books, Malta, 2010)
- Brincat, J.M (ed.).: Languages of the Mediterranean. Substrata, The Islands, Malta, Proceedings of the Conference held in Malta, 26-29 September 1991, (Institute of Linguistics, University of Malta, 1994)
- Cassola A., The Biblioteca Vallicelliana “Regole per la lingua Maltese”, (Said International,Malta, 1992)
- Cassola, A.: The Literature of Malta, (Minima, Malta 2000)
- Frendo, H.: Europe and Empire: Culture, Politics and Identity in Malta and the Mediterranean, (Malta, Midsea Books, 2012)
- Grima A., Dominant Metaphors in Maltese Literature, (Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Malta, Malta, 2003)
- Hull, G.: The Malta Language Question: A Case Study in Cultural Imperialism, (Said International, Malta, 1993)


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (3 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Anthony Aquilina (Co-ord.)
Joseph M. Brincat
Arnold Cassola
Marco Galea
Adrian Grima
Bernard Micallef
Lydia Sciriha
Charles Xuereb

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.