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Title: Andalusi Arabic and Maltese : a preliminary survey
Authors: Zammit, Martin R.
Keywords: Arabic language
Maltese language
Language and languages -- Etymology
Maltese language -- Foreign elements -- Arabic
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow Branch
Citation: Zammt, M. R. (2009-2010). Andalusi Arabic and Maltese : a preliminary survey. Folia Orientalia, (45-46), 21-60.
Abstract: Unlike Andalusi Arabic which became extinct during the early seventeenth century, the Arabic element in the Maltese language has remarkably withstood and survived, virtually in total linguistic isolation from the rest of the Arabic speaking world, a millennium of European linguistic and cultural pressures. Maltese and Andalusi Arabic share a number of linguistic traits which, at least in part, could be attributed to their exposure to the same sources of arabicization, and to their "peripherality" in relation to the other varieties of Neo-Arabic, especially the pre-HiIali Maghribi dialects. Overwhelmed by medieval Southern European and Catholic culture, Maltese and Andalusi Arabic had to adapt to non-Arabic and non-Muslim environments. In the process, these two peripheral varieties of Arabic retained a substantial component of the Arabic linguistic heritage, but courageously ventured on evolutionary routes which, at times, alienated them from the rest ofthe Arabic vernaculars. Malta's definitive take-over by European powers after the mid-13th century, coupled with its insular reality, enhancing its isolation from the rest of the Arabic speaking world, rendered Maltese impervious to further significant linguistic inputs from other dialects of Arabic. Maltese, therefore, offers the Arabic dialectologist the opportunity to consider a variety of Arabic which, to a certain extent, has remained unchanged for more than seven decades. This study, on the one hand limits itself to a preliminary survey of a number of phonological, morphological and syntactic elements shared by Andalusi and Maltese Arabic and, on the other, presents a lexical sample which, in the main, is attested only in a limited number of Arabic dialects.! In some cases, Andalusi Arabic and Maltese are the only vemaculars which retain certain lexical items. Moreover, a number of lexemes presented in the glossary are residues of archaic lexical usage, thus indicating remarkable diachronic continuity of old Arabic traits in these two varieties of Arabic. The idea behind this article is to highlight areas oflinguistic contact between Andalusi and Maltese Arabic. The study of such peripheral areas, which are rather older than most contemporary varieties of Arabic, should contribute to shedding more light on the historical development of Arabic dialects.
ISSN: 00155675
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacArtOS

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