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Title: Secret languages : preliminary notes on four examples from the Maltese Islands
Authors: Falzon, Mark Anthony
Keywords: Languages, Secret -- Malta
Language and languages -- Variation
Maltese language -- History
Issue Date: 1994
Publisher: University of Malta
Citation: Falzon, M. A. (1994). Secret languages : preliminary notes on four examples from the Maltese Islands. Journal of Maltese Studies, 25-26, 93-99.
Abstract: The phenomenon of 'secret languages' is a widespread one and is known to occur in many cultures and contexts. It involves the creation and use by a particular group of a verbal, or non-verbal (such as signs and gestures), systematic means of communication that is unintelligible to all except the members of that group. Usually the secret languages exploits aspects of the everyday tongue in use, and the code-mongering takes on different forms. Words are systematically altered beyond recognition (for uninitiated listeners, that is) through the addition, substitution, subtraction and transposition of sounds, letters, or groups of sounds. Letters may also be replaced by numbers, implying that the secret language thus formed would be inaccessible to illiterate people: significantly, such a secret language was described for Moroccan religious men, highly acquainted with the Qu'ran and therefore literate (Berjaoui 1994). Secret languages in the Maltese islands. have, to my knowledge, never received any systematic attention. The aim of this article is to briefly present and describe four examples - it is very possible that other secret languages have been 'borrowed' from English and grafted onto the local language: these require further investigation, however.
Appears in Collections:JMS, Volume 25-26
JMS, Volume 25-26
Scholarly Works - FacArtSoc

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