Im Mai 2020 hat Julia Nintemann ihre Stelle im Malta-Zentrum angetreten.

Benjamin Saade, langjähriger Mitarbeiter des Malta-Zentrums, hat am 12.02.2020 erfolgreich seine Disserstation mit dem Thema Productivity of Italian derivation in Maltese and its implications for language contact studies verteitigt.


Am 01.10.2019 hat Maike Vorholt eine Stelle im DFG-Projekt Präpositionen und ihre Grammatik im Maltesischen angetreten.

We are happy to announce the Call for Papers for the 7th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics (Lingwistika Maltija) in Kraków on July 10-12 2019 with Przemysław Turek as the local organizer.

After our conferences in Germany, Malta, France, Italy and Slovakia we are excited to add Poland to the list of countries in which Maltese linguistics will be debated academically. The conference will take place in the historic Collegium Maius of Jagiellonian University in the heart of Kraków.

The main topic of the conference is "Contemporary Maltese: Linguistic Challenges in Communication and Translation".

We invite abstracts for oral presentations on all topics related to Maltese linguistics, as well as papers focusing on Maltese in relation to other languages. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to

    Historical approaches to Maltese and related languages
    Language contact
    Computational approaches to Maltese and Semitic languages
    Typological perspectives on Maltese and related languages
    Language acquisition in the Maltese context
    Variation and dialectology in the Maltese context
    Phonetics and Phonology
    Maltese in the European context

Abstracts for oral presentations should not exceed 300 words. Each presentation should be no longer than 20 minutes; 10 minutes are given for questions and/or discussion. The conference language is English.

We also invite abstracts for poster presentations.

Abstracts will be reviewed by the programme committee:

    Thomas Stolz (Bremen)
    Ray Fabri (Malta)
    Adam Ussishkin (University of Arizona)
    Martine Vanhove (Villejuif)
    Albert Borg (Malta)

Deadline for submission of abstracts: March 15, 2019
Notification of abstract acceptance: April 15, 2019

Please send your abstracts to Benjamin Saade: bsaadeprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

The conference website is

The site is under construction and will be updated with all details in the next weeks.

We are pleased to announce that the Malta Centre will offer courses in Practical Maltese at the University of Bremen again in 2019. We will offer two classes:

1. Maltese for Beginners  (August 19 - 23, 2019)

2. Maltese for Advanced Learners (August 26-30)

The langugage of instruction is English.

The two courses can be attended consecutively.

The courses will be offered free of charge.


Four years in a row! We are pleased to announce that the Malta Centre will offer courses in Practical Maltese at the University of Bremen also in 2018. We will offer two classes:

1. Maltese for Beginners  (August 20-24)

2. Maltese for advanced learners (August 27-31)

The langugage of instruction is English.

The courses will be offered free of charge.

You can find more information here:

The 7th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics will take place 10-12 July 2019 in Kraków, Poland

We are happy to announce the location and date of the 7th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics!

Location: Kraków, Poland

Dates: 10-12 July 2019

We will send out the Call for Papers for the conference in the next weeks.


Titelseite Studia Typologica 21

We are very happy to announce the publication of Advances in Maltese Linguistics, a selection of papers from the 5th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics in Torino.

This volume is a collection of up-to-date articles on Maltese on all linguistic levels, demonstrating the variety of topics Maltese has to offer for linguists of all specializations.

Saade, Benjamin & Mauro Tosco (eds.). 2017. Advances in Maltese Linguistics. (Studia Typologica 21). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Below you find the Table of Contents of the volume:

Benjamin Saade and Mauro Tosco
Maltese linguistics: What is new?| VII

Part 1: New looks into the past
Andrei A. Avram
On the phonology of Sicilian Arabic and early Maltese | 3

Carles Biosca and Carles Castellanos
Aspects of the comparison between Maltese, Mediterranean Lingua Franca and the Occitan-Catalan linguistic group | 39

Part 2: Maltese, and just Maltese

Ray Fabri and Albert Borg
Modifiers and complements within the Maltese verb sequence | 67

Slavomír “bulbul” Čéplö
Focus particles in Maltese: A corpus survey | 87

Thomas Stolz and Carolin Ahrens
On prepositional ellipsis and the factors which block its application in Maltese | 121

Part 3: Beyond Maltese, now and then

Amany Al-Sayyed and David Wilmsen
Verbal negation with muš in Maltese and Eastern Mediterranean Arabics | 151

Gilbert Puech
Maltese kiteb vs. Tunisian (Sūsa) ktib | 173

Marie Azzopardi-Alexander
The phonetic study of speakers along the Maltese-English continuum | 193

Lydia Sciriha
The visibility and salience of Maltese in bilingual Malta’s linguistic landscape | 225

Kees Versteegh
The myth of the mixed languages | 245

We are pleased to announce that the Malta Centre will offer courses in Practical Maltese at the University of Bremen also in 2017. We will offer two classes:

1. Maltese for Beginners  (August 28 - September 1)

2. Everyday Maltese for advanced learners, focusing on conversation (September 4-8)

The langugage of instruction is English.

The courses will be offered free of charge.

You can find more information here:

The preliminary programme for the 6th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics in Bratislava (June 8-9, 2017) is now online.

The programme can be found here:


Titelseite Studia Typologica 19

We are very pleased to announce the publication of a selection of papers from the International Conference on Maltese Linguistics in Lyon, 2013.

The linguistic description of Maltese has experienced an invigorating renaissance in the last ten years. As an Arabic language with a heavily mixed lexicon, Maltese serves as a laboratory for questions of linguistic variation on all linguistics levels, bilingualism, and language contact.

This present volume showcases the variety of up-to-date linguistic research on Maltese. Starting with a tribute to the late David Cohen, influential French Semiticist, the remainder of the book is divided into three parts: Phonology, Morphology & Syntax, and Contact, Bilingualism & Technology.

Puech, Gilbert, and Benjamin Saade, eds. 2016. Shifts and Patterns in Maltese. Studia Typologica 19. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.


Table of contents:

Gilbert Puech and Benjamin Saade: Preface | VII

Martine Vanhove: From Maltese phonology to morphogenesis: A tribute to David Cohen | 1


Part I: Phonology

Gilbert Puech: Minimalist representation of Maltese sounds | 19

Andrei A. Avram: Phonological changes in Maltese: Evidence from onomastics | 49

Alexandra Vella, Flavia Chetcuti and Sarah Agius: Lengthening as a discourse strategy in Maltese: Phonetic and phonological characteristics | 91


Part II: Morphology & Syntax

Maris Camilleri: How inflectional morphology meets subcategorization frame distinctions in Maltese | 115

Hans-Jörg Döhla: The origin of differential object marking in Maltese | 149

David Wilmsen: Polar interrogative -š in Maltese: Developments and antecedents | 175

Thomas Stolz and Benjamin Saade: On short and long forms of personal pronouns in Maltese | 199

Christopher Lucas and Michael Spagnol: Connecting /t/ in Maltese numerals | 269


Part III: Contact, Bilingualism & Technology

George Farrugia: Languages in contact. Is the gender assignment system in Maltese undergoing change? | 293

Bernard Comrie and Michael Spagnol: Maltese loanword typology | 315

Marie Azzopardi-Alexander: Language profiling: The weaving of Maltese and English in Maltese children’s conversations | 331

John J. Camilleri: Digitizing the grammar and vocabulary of Maltese | 359

We are happy to announce the first Call for Papers for the 6th edtion of our International Conference on Maltese Linguistics:

The 6th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics will take place in Bratislava, Slovakia, on June 8-9 2017. The organizing committee invites abstracts for oral and poster presentations on all topics related to Maltese linguistics. These include, but are not limited to:

- Phonetics and phonology of Maltese
- Syntax of Maltese
- Morphology of Maltese
- Semantics
- Pragmatics
- Psycholinguistics
- Lexicography
- Computational approaches to Maltese
- Typological perspectives on Maltese
- History and development of Maltese
- Dialectology of Maltese
- Maltese in European and Mediterranean context
- Contact linguistics and Maltese
- Maltese Sign Language

We especially encourage submissions focusing on recent advances in the study of North African dialects and their ramifications for the study of Maltese, as well as submissions by current BA- and MA-level students.

Abstracts should not exceed 300 words. Oral presentations should not be longer than 20 minutes with 10 minutes for discussion, poster presentations should be in the A0 or A1 format. All abstracts will be double-blind peer-reviewed.

We use the Linguist List EasyAbs facility for the submission and review of abstracts. Please use the address below for your submission.

Call for papers open: November 1, 2016.
Deadline for submission: January 15, 2017.
Notification of acceptance: February 1, 2017.

Conference website:

Please refer to the local organizer Slavomír Čéplö (bulbulprotect me ?!bulbulprotect me ?!.sk) for all further questions an inquiries. 


We are happy to announce the first intensive Maltese language class from August 31 - September 4, 2015 at the Malta Centre in Bremen!

The class will be free of charge. The medium of instruction is English

For further information, visit the course page.

Hope to see you in Bremen!



Ein Paradies für Sprachwissenschaftler

Das bestätigt Benjamin Saade vom Malta Zentrum der Universität Bremen: „Es lohnt sich sehr, sich mit der maltesischen Kultur zu beschäftigen.“  Als Sprachwissenschaftler ist Malta für Saade aber zudem eines der wohl spannendsten Territorien Europas, ist das Maltesische doch die einzige arabische Sprache in der EU, dazu die einzige arabische Sprache überhaupt mit lateinischem Alphabet. „Die Sprache hat eine arabische Grammatik, der Wortschatz ist aber stark vom Italienischen und Englischen beeinflusst.“ Der fachliche Anreiz für Linguisten und Anglisten sei also riesig, viele kämen nach ihrem Auslandssemester auf Malta mit Vorschlägen für Abschlussarbeiten zurück, so Saade. Durch die geographische Abgrenzung zum Festland erreichen sprachliche Entwicklungen Malta nur langsam, linguistische Prozesse lassen sich dort daher besonders gut nachvollziehen und untersuchen.

Titelseite Studia Typologica 15

A whole chapter is devoted to Zero-marking in contemporary literary Maltese in the recently published book The Crosslinguistics of Zero-Marking of Spatial Relations (= Studia Typologica 15).



Whole reference:

Stolz, Thomas & Lestrade, Sander & Stolz, Christel. 2014. The Crosslinguistics of Zero-Marking of Spatial Relations (= Studia Typologica 15). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. 404 pp. ISBN 978-3-05-006276-1.

We are happy to announce that the 5th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics will take place in Torino, Italy on June 24-26 2015. The conference will be organized by Mauro Tosco (Torino) and Benjamin Saade (Bremen).

The conference website can be found here:


1st Call for Papers:

We invite abstracts for oral and poster presentations on all topics related to Maltese linguistics, as well as papers focusing on Maltese in relation to other languages.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

- Psycholinguistics
- Historical approaches to Maltese and related languages
- Language contact
- Computational approaches to Maltese and Semitic languages
- Typological perspectives on Maltese and related languages
- Language acquisition in the Maltese context
- Variation and dialectology in the Maltese context
- Lexicography
- Semantics
- Pragmatics
- Morphology
- Syntax
- Phonetics and phonology
- Maltese in the European context

Abstracts for oral presentations should not exceed 300 words. Each presentation should be no longer than 20 minutes; 10 minutes are given for questions and/or discussion. Poster presentations should be in A1 or A0 format. The conference language is English.

We especially encourage students (M.A. & B.A level) to participate.

Please send abstracts to the following address: lingwistika2015protect me ?!unitoprotect me ?!.it.

Abstracts will be reviewed by the Programme Committee:

Thomas Stolz (Bremen)
Ray Fabri (Malta)
Beth Hume (Christchurch)
Martine Vanhove (Villejuif)
Albert Borg (Malta)

Deadline for submission of abstracts: December 31, 2014

Notification of abstract acceptance: March 1, 2014

The third installment of the series Taħditiet fuq il-Malti will be a whole day workshop titled "Topics in Maltese Linguistics". We are happy to welcome three scholars of Maltese for this occasion: Maris Camilleri (University of Surrey), Luke Galea (Universität Köln) and Michael Spagnol (University of Malta). The topics range from syllable structure to verbal morphology to variation of pronominal forms.

Date: June 17, 2014, 9-17 (s.t.)

Location: University of Bremen, GW 2 Room A3570

Ankündigung Topics in Maltese Linguistics

The second talk in the lecture series Taħditiet fuq il-Malti will be held by professor Joseph Brincat (University of Malta). He will talk about language policy in Malta and how the colonial era(s) involving Italian, French and English have shaped the Maltese language. The talk is jointly organized by the Malta Centre and the Creative Unit: Language in Colonial Contexts (CULLC).

Date: March 11, 2014, 12-13 (s.t.)

Place: University of Bremen, GW 2 Room A3570

Vortragsankündigung Joseph M. Brincat

We are happy to announce the first intensive Maltese language class from August 31 - September 4, 2015 at the Malta Centre in Bremen!

The class will be free of charge. The medium of instruction is English

For further information, visit the course page.

Hope to see you in Bremen!

March 20, 2014 | Benjamin Saade

One week has passed since the Malta Centre hosted the most prominent guest of its history: George Abela, President of the Republic of Malta. We are very honoured that we could welcome this very special guest and tell him about the projects of the Malta Centre. The atmosphere was positive and the mutual intent for future cooperation was reaffirmed.

In the following I will just list some of the media reports regarding the visit of the president:

Press release by University of Bremen

Press release by the Bremen senate

Article by the Kreiszeitung

Speech by the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck

The year 2014 has just started and we already have good news for the year 2015. The 5th edition of the International conference on Maltese Linguistics (Lingwistika Maltija) will take place in Torino, Italy at the Università degli Studi di Torino.  Mauro Tosco has agreed to shoulder the local organization while the Malta Centre and GĦILM will support him. The exact dates will be worked out in the following weeks and a Call for Papers will follow. We are happy to add Torino as the fourth venue for the Lingwistika Maltija after Bremen (twice), Malta and Lyon.

We proudly announce the first talk in the lecture series Taħditiet fuq il-Malti. Dr. Albert Friggieri (Ambassador of Malta in Berlin) will talk about the drama fragment "Die Maltheser" by Friedrich Schiller. Friggieri studied German at the University of Heidelberg and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Exeter. "Die Maltheser" was also the topic of his dissertation.

Date: January 23, 2014, 16:00

Place: University of Bremen, GW 2 Room A3570

Vortragsankündigung Dr. Albert Friggieri
Perspective on Maltese Linguistics

The International association of Maltese Linguistics (GĦILM) proudly presents the publication of Perspectives on Maltese Linguistics with the Akademie-Verlag. It represents the proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Maltese Linguistics. The volume was edited by Albert Borg, Sandro Caruana and Alexandra Vella.


Table of Contents


Historical Studies

Arnold Cassola - A note on the dating of ħ, għ and x in Maltese

Martin R. Zammit - The Sfaxi (Tunisian) element in Maltese

Daniele Baglioni-  Italian loanwords in Maltese and the vocabulary od "Levant Italian"


Phonological Studies

Gilbert Puech - Prime constituents od Maltese sounds

Alexandra Vella, Michael Spagnol, Sarah Grech & Flavia Chetcuti - The role of silence in spoken Maltese: durational and distributional characteristics of breaks and pauses


Morphological Studies

Phyllisienne Gauci & Maris Camilleri - Syncretism in Maltese: the case of the dual

Thomas Mayer, MIchael Spagnol & Florian Schönberger - Fixing the broken plural in Maltese


Syntactic Studies

Maris Camilleri - The Maltese restrictive relative clause

Slavomír "Bulbul" Čéplö - An overview of object reduplication in Maltese

Christopher Lucas - Indefinites and negative concord in Maltese: towards a dynamic account

Thomas Stolz - It-tlieta li aħna = the three of us. Numerically quantified person reference


Maltese in the digital age

Mark Borg, Keith Bugeja, Colin Vella, Gordon Mangion & Carmel Gafà - Preparation of a free-runing text corpus for Maltese concatenative speech synthesis

Lara Vella - Language used in Internet chatting and its effect on spelling


In the winter term 2012/13 Prof. Thomas Stolz held an introductory seminar about the Maltese Language for all students of linguistics at the University of Bremen. He gave an overview of the history and development of Maltese. The main focus of the seminar was the structure of the Maltese language and its grammar covering phonology, morphology and syntax, using the fairy tale Barnuża Ħamra (Red Riding Hood) as data for the linguistic phenomena. During the class interesting topics for fieldwork projects were pointed out and collected. At the end of the term every student who was interested could choose a topic that would serve as the starting point for a fieldwork project.

These are the projects that followed from the introductory seminar:

•   Examination of Possible Dialectal Realization of /ɣ/ and /h/ in Għarb, Gozo

•   Experimental Approaches to Differential Object Marking (DOM) in Maltese

•   Lexical Variation in the Semantic Fields of  Fishing and Traditional Food in Maltese Dialects

•   Pre- and Postnominal Adjectives in Maltese

•   The Periphrastic Comparative in Maltese

•   The Position of free Subject Pronouns in a Sentence in Maltese

•   The Realization of the R-Allophones in Maltese

•   Variation between Internal and External Plural in Maltese

•   Language Attitude of Students at the University of Malta

In the run-up to the 4th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics in June 2013 in Lyon every student prepared a poster introducing their project, including former research as well as the methodology used for the upcoming fieldwork. In a poster session at the conference the students presented their projects to the researchers and received plenty of advice and input for their projects.

After the Lyon conference the students revised their projects using the advice and suggestions from the conference and worked out a strategy for the fieldwork in Malta.

At the University of Malta Albert Borg and Ray Fabri (Institute of Linguistics) discussed the projects with their students and encouraged Maltese students to join a fieldwork project of the Bremen students.

In October 2013 five of the students went to Malta for 7 days to gather data for their projects. The focus of the work in Malta was data collection and getting to know different facets and problems of linguistic fieldwork, finding out that not everything would work out just the way you expect it to. For each project a student from Bremen worked together with at least one Maltese student.

The Maltese students helped with the last details of the fieldwork projects, assisted with translations and informants and especially navigating the Maltese traffic and culture. Living in host families also gave a view on the everyday life in Malta and the students could develop a feeling for the language.

Every group of students organized their fieldwork differently; some went to a remote village while others stayed at the University to interview people and work with the Maltese students.

The group which worked with the dialect of Għarb, Gozo met some helpful older women, who were enthusiatic to speak about and in their dialect. Within a short time the group was introduced to almost every person in Għarb speaking the dialect and recorded enough data for their analysis.

Using a questionnaire and story builder cards another group asked Maltese people to translate simple sentences including object marking from English to Maltese and to build sentences based on the pictures on the cards. In this way they tried to find out in which cases the Maltese speakers use the object marker ‘lil’ for direct objects and how.

For the investigation of the R-allophones students of one of Albert Borg’s classes were asked to read a list of 27 sentences including words with and these words again in isolation. The student recorded the Maltese informants in order to analyse their realization of the R-allophones in Praat, a computer program for phonetic analysis.

The research about the attitudes of students at the University of Malta, towards the English and Maltese language was based on a questionnaire. The group decided to distribute the questionnaire online via the University’s e-mail network. This should ease the collection of data and its analysis as well as much more informants could be reached.

Nearly every Maltese the students contacted spoke English regardless of whether young or old. Nevertheless, it was very helpful to have the Maltese students as support. Often it was much easier for the informants to respond in Maltese if the Maltese students talked to them in Maltese first, than asking them in English and telling the students respond in Maltese.

The results of the projects will be expected at the end of this winter term (spring 2014). Furthermore, some students will present their fielwork experiences and some preliminary results at the NWLK conferene in Bremen this December.

After 3 successful conferences in Bremen and Malta we are happy to announce the 4th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics in Lyon on June 17-19, 2013 with the main topic The contribution of Maltese to general linguistics. The conference will be jointly organized by Għaqda Internazzjonali tal-Lingwistika Maltija and by the University Lyon 2 (Gilbert Puech).

Call for Papers and further information »

After a successful and stimulating 4th International conference of Maltese Linguistics in Lyon, we can now present the most important outcomes of the GĦILM business meeting.

Minutes of the GĦILM business meeting (PDF) »

META-NET announces research agenda to overcome digital communication barriers in Europe

To address what is perceived as a threat of digital extinction for many languages, and to create a Europe without communication barriers that supports the free flow of information, ideas, and trade, while preserving cultural and linguistic richness and diversity, META-NET, a European network of excellence consisting of 60 research centres in 34 countries including Malta, has developed a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) that outlines how focused investment in language technologies can generate considerable economic benefits that far outweigh the costs.


Berlin Embassy hosts lecture by Thomas Stolz on the Maltese language | May 15, 2013

Prof. Dr. Thomas Stolz, head of the “Malta Centre” and the Linguistics Department at the University of Bremen and a specialist in Maltese linguistics recently gave a lecture entitled ‘Maltese – A European Language between Semitic, Romance and English’, to an audience of over 100 people at the Embassy of Malta in Berlin. The lecture was organised by the Embassy of Malta with the support of the Cultural Diplomacy Fund of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

read more »

Maltese ambassador to Germany visits Malta Centre | April 22, 2013

"The Ambassador also paid an official visit to the Malta Centre at the University of Bremen and met with Prof. Dr. Thomas Stolz, the head of the Malta-Centre. During the visit Professor Stolz gave a presentation of the objectives and functions of the Centre and its achievements to date."

Kelma Kelma: Michael Spagnol promotes Maltese language on Facebook

Times of Malta | February 8, 2013 | by Sarah Carabott

Michael Spagnol talks about his project "Kelma Kelma" on Facebook which focuses on the particularities of the Maltese language.

read more »

visit Kelma Kelma on Facebook »

European Day of Languages: Review of the State of Language Technology in Maltese

Today the Council of Europe celebrates the European Day of Languages, encouraging people across all 47 member states to celebrate their linguistic diversity. The University of Malta, as part of the META-NET initiative, is marking the occasion by highlighting the publication of a set of whitepapers looking at the social, economic and technological status of 30 European languages, including Malta, in modern Europe.

Whitepaper for Maltese

Link to The META-NET Whitepapers

European Day of Languages: META-NET study about Europe's languages in the digital age

On the European Day of Languages META-NET assesses the "digital support" of the languages of Europe:

"Most European languages face digital extinction, a new study by Europe’s leading Language Technology experts finds. Assessing the level of support through language technology for 30 of the approximately 80 European languages, the experts conclude that digital support for 21 of the 30 languages investigated is “non-existent” or “weak” at best. The study was carried out by META-NET, a European network of excellence that consists of 60 research centres in 34 countries."

"A total of 21 of the 30 languages (70%) were placed in the lowest category, “support is weak or non-existent” for at least one area by the experts. Several languages, for example, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian and MALTESE, receive this lowest score in at least three areas."

Read the English press release

Read the Maltese press release

META-NET Language White Paper available for Maltese

As part of an EU initiative, University of Malta joined a consortium of 8 partners for the EU project METANET4U, which aims at contributing to the establishment and consolidation of a pan-European digital platform that makes available language resources and services.

The META-NET Language White Paper series “Languages in the European Information Society” reports on the state of each European language with respect to Language Technology and explains the most urgent risks and chances. The series will cover all official European languages.

While there have been a number of valuable and comprehensive scientific studies on certain aspects of languages and technology, there exists no generally understandable compendium that takes a stand by presenting the main findings and challenges for each language. The META-NET white paper series will fill this gap.

read more »


Erasmus students learn Maltese

Times of Malta | November 18, 2012

The University’s International and EU Office recently organised an Erasmus Intensive Language Course regarding the Maltese language and culture for 20 overseas students.

read more »

Census reveals characteristics of Maltese speakers in Australia

Times of Malta | November 18, 2012 | by Maurice Cauchi

The results of a recent Australian census show us the pattern of change within the Maltese-speaking community in this large continent.

read more »

PM launches Maltese language speech engine

Malta Independent | November 8, 2012 | by Duncan Barry

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi this morning launched the first ever Maltese language speech synthesiser engine which is able to convert text into speech during a visit to the headquarters of the government’s IT agency (Mita) in Santa Venera.

read more »

New Publications

We are proud to announce the two new publications of our society at the Universitätsverlag Brockmeyer.

The second volume of our journal ILSIENNA and the third volume of the companion series IL-LINGWA TAGĦNA (The Broken Plural in Maltese: A Description by Tamara Schembri).

German-Maltese Circle celebrates 50th anniversary

The Malta Independent Online | October 8, 2012


"The 18 October 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the German Maltese Circle. Fifty years since Chev. Elias Zammit, then Consul General to the Federal Republic of Germany, together with a dedicated group of colleagues, with scarce resources, established this Institution. The primary motivation of this group was the belief that Germany would, in the framework of the Treaty of Rome, play a decisive role in the political and economic development of Europe. Today, one may say without any shadow of a doubt, that the founding group had had good foresight of the events that would occur in Europe over the decades that were to follow, and their consequent influence on our Nation."


read more »

Malta Centre opened in Bremen!

We are very proud to announce the inauguration of the Malta Centre in Bremen. The "soft" opening of the Malta Centre took place on June 29th at the Industrie-Club Bremen with 80 participants including HE Carl Charles Xuereb, ambassador of the Republic Malta to Germany.

The cooperation contract for the Centre was signed by the rector of the University of Bremen, Wilfried Müller, and the rector of the University of Malta, Juanito Camilleri.

In a festive and cheerful atmosphere, the inaugural speeches recounted the development of the Malta Centre from first personal cooperations between Professor Thomas Stolz (Bremen) and Professor Ray Fabri (Malta) to the installment of of a full-blown institute devoted to the Maltese language in Bremen.

The Malta centre will aim to establish Maltese Linguistics as an internationally recognized discipline, serve as a hub for research on Maltese, host collaborative research projects, and integrate Maltese into the curriculum of General Linguistics at the University of Bremen.

Stay tuned for more information!

English press release »

German press release »

Short article in the "Taz" (German) »

IL-Lingwa Tagħna Volume 2 published

We are proud to announce the publication of the second Volume of Il-Lingwa Tagħna, the companion series of ILSIENNA.

The book entitled: La traduction spécialisée: l’exemple de l’Énonciation en linguistique française/It-Traduzzjoni Speċjalizzata: l-Eżempju tat-Tlissina fil-Lingwistika Franciza (volumes 1 and 2) gives ample training both theoretic and practical in translation and translation studies.

Seychell, Laurent (translator). 2011. La Traduction Spécialisée : L’Exemple de L’Énonciation en Linguistique Française / It-Traduzzjoni Speċjalizzata : L’Eżempju tat-Tlissina Fil-Lingwistika Franċiża (= Il-Lingwa Tagħna / Our Language Vol. 2). Bochum : Universitätsverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer. 2 vols, 800 pp. ISBN : 978-3-8196-0829-2. [Bilingual version French-Maltese of the French original by Dominique Maingueneau 1994, Paris: Hachette Livre]

Read more »

Ninu Cremona exhibition being held at the Banca Giuratale | January 8, 2012

Ninu Cremona’s greatest contribution was in the formation of Maltese ortography together with Ganni Vassallo. He devised a system of regulations for the writing of Maltese that were published in the Taghrif fuq il-Kitba Maltija (1924).

read more »


Table of contents for "Variation and Change: The Dynamics of Maltese in Space, Time and Society"

Part I: The Lexicon and Variation

Albert Borg: Lectal variation in Maltese

Joseph M. Brincat: Describing literary Maltese: concordances to Dun Karm and Rużar Briffa

Antoinette Camilleri Grima: Giving compliments in Maltese

Lara Brincat & Sandro Caruana: il-Malti Mgħaġġel - Maltese in computer-mediated chat conversations

Ray Fabri: The language of young people and language change in Malta

Laura Mori: Linguistic variation in legal Maltese - EU directives compared to national implementation laws

Part II: Morphology and Syntax

Maris Camilleri: On pronominal verbal enclitics in Maltese

Michael Spagnol: The causative-inchoative alternation in Maltese

Thomas Stolz: The possessive relative clause in Maltese

Part III: Phonology

Marie Azzopardi-Alexander: The vowel system of Xlukkajr and Naduri

Alexandra Vella, Michael Spagnol, Sarah Grech & Flavia Chetcuti: A preliminary investigation of filled pauses in Maltese

Gilbert Puech: Syllabic structure and stress in Maltese


Link to this title on

Variation and Change: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Maltese Linguistics

We are proud to announce the publication of the proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Maltese Linguistics (Bremen, September 2009).

Publishers' description:

"The twelve contributions to this collection of articles focus on variation and change in the lexicon, morphology, syntax and phonology of Maltese. Various aspects of lectal variation are addressed: the properties of sociolects, technolects, regional varieties, and different registers of present-day Maltese are discussed. On-going changes are looked at in several of the papers. The questions of whether or not there is a typical Maltese EU-variety or a distinct sociolect spoken by the younger generation are raised. Not all of the phenomena which attest variation can be ascribed to the sociolinguistic sphere. Morpho-syntactic issues like the definition of clitics, the causative-inchoative alternation and the employment of the possessive relative clause are linked more closely to structural and functional factors. Suprasegmental issues like the use of pauses in spoken Maltese and the syllable structure of Maltese are scrutinized as well. These topics are complemented by dialectological studies, investigations of the pragmatics of Maltese and the description of literary Maltese. The range of topics covered in this collection proves that it is worth the while studying Maltese from the perspective of general linguistics."

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New book on Maltese language: Iż-Żmien fuq Sider Malta by Charles Briffa and Angela Briffa

Iż-Żmien Fuq Sider Malta explains the Maltese language and its literature within a historical framework.

Published by Horizons, it is packed with researched factual information of general interest in language and literary matters. The authors are well-versed in their subjects (Maltese history, language, and literature) and tried to keep the style as simple as possible.

read more »

Charting the centre of the periphery: Issue of Transcript Magazine on Maltese Literature

A whole issue of Transcript Magazine is devoted to the Maltese literature. The issue includes essays on the Maltese literary scene and tradition, as well as prose and poetry translated into German, English and French.

read more » | November 1, 2011

Eight ERASMUS students successfully completed the course in the Maltese Language which was delivered by the Malta University Language School. The students followed 60 hours in a lecture setting and successfully passed the assessment held at the end of the course. The cultural component of the course was aimed to expose participants to the historical, cultural and lifestyle aspects of the Maltese Islands.

Embassy introduces Maltese Language to children in Berlin | October 4, 2011

On September 26, the Embassy of Malta in Berlin, together with other cultural departments of Embassies and cultural institutes, participated in the 10th European Day of Languages with a special initiative.

In several libraries in Berlin as well as in the Central and State Library of Berlin a “Diving into the languages“ took place: mini language courses for elementary school pupils aimed at arousing interest for foreign languages and countries.

Introducing the Maltese Language Resource Server

"The Maltese Language Resource Server (MLRS) is a project coordinated by the Institute of Linguistics and the Department of Intelligent Computer Systems at the University of Malta whose primary aim is to create and make available basic language resources for the Maltese language, as well as develop natural language processing tools for Maltese. The project has benefited from funding from the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) and the University of Malta."

The resources available include the MLRS Corpus, which can be browsed and searched online, as well as Claudia Borg's LingLab language guessing game and Albert Gatt's Maltese random sentence generator.

Maltese and other Languages - a Linguistic History of Malta

Author: Jospeh M. Brincat

Throughout the ages, the Maltese language has undergone a series of internal changes as well as modifications and accretions caused by various external forces. As a result the Maltese language has been shaped by its inhabitants' interactions with all the peoples who, throughout the centuries, have landed on the islands to govern it or establish colonies there. The population of the Maltese islands has multiplied in the past one thousand years, rising to around 400,000, and such a rapid increase in such a small place could not fail to exert a strong influence on the linguistic scenario. The increase in population was due not only to natural growth but also to cumulative waves of settlers from abroad. Social interaction between the locals and the visitors was strong, bilingual communication took place in various domains at all social levels and relations were especially strong when mixed marriages took place. For this reason, a history of the Maltese language must be seen in the wider context of a linguistic history of the Maltese islands and will offer linguists belonging to both the historical and typological fields an intriguing case study of what can be considered a "minor" language from the international point of view (used only in a small state, but spoken by the great majority of the islanders) which has managed to survive alongside a series of "major" languages such as Arabic, Latin, Sicilian, Italian and English, languages which were widely spoken and written abroad and which also enjoyed prestige in Malta itself but whose local circulation was generally limited to the literate minority.

The links between Malta and Italy

Malta Independent Online | Sunday, July 24, 2011

A short overview about the historic ties between Malta and Italy, including cultural and linguistic influences. ...

(Artikel nicht mehr verfügbar)

Pietru Pawl Castagna and his quaint Maltese book

Times of Malta | Sunday, July 24, 2011 | by Giovanni Bonello

Unless yours is a torrid and conspiratorial rapport with the Maltese language, you have no business with this article. It intends to explore what colloquial Maltese sounded like 150 years ago through the pages of the very first full-length book ever published in our national language. ...

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Maltese taught at Heidelberg University

Times of Malta | Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | by Sarah Carabott

A course on Maltese language is being taught at the Institute of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures of the University of Heidelberg, the first such course to be taught at the oldest university in Germany. ...

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Maltese language in Australia

Times of Malta | Monday, May 2, 2011, 11:57 | by Roderick Bovingdon

When the late Prof. Joseph (Ġużè) Aquilina visited Sydney, Australia, in July-August 1968 for the 10th Commonwealth Universities Congress, local interest and beliefin the formal study of the Maltese language was practically ...

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Veranstalter: University of Malta

Third International Conference on Maltese Linguistics

The Third International Conference on Maltese Linguistics is being organised by the University of Malta in conjunction with the Għaqda Internazzjonali tal-Lingwistika Maltija (International Association for Maltese Linguistics). It will be held in Malta in April 2011




June 15 to 26 2009

Veranstalter: The Institute of Linguistics, in collaboration with the Department of Maltese

Summer School in Maltese Linguistics

The Institute of Linguistics, in collaboration with the Department of Maltese, Faculty of Arts of the University of Malta and the Foundation for International Studies, will be organizing its first Summer School in Maltese Linguistics, to be held in Malta from June 15 to 26, 2009.

The Summer School is aimed mainly at those interested in the linguistics of Maltese rather than at those interested in learning Maltese although sessions in the Maltese Language for Foreigners will be held if enough interest is expressed. Specialists in different aspects of Maltese linguistics will lecture on the following areas within more general topics such as:

  • The Sound System of Maltese (e.g. the phonemic inventory and allophonic variation, Maltese phonotactics, syllable structure, stress, intonation);
  • The Maltese Lexicon (e.g. the provenance of Maltese words, word-formation processes);
  • The Grammar and Semantics of Maltese (tense and aspect, topicalisation, subordination, word order, referring expressions);
  • Maltese in Context (e.g. the historical development of Maltese, language use in the Maltese context, the Maltese media, language planning in the Maltese context, Maltese in the context of the EU, computational resources for Maltese, Maltese Sign Language).

No knowledge of Maltese is required, although an interest in the language is a pre-requisite. All lectures on the linguistics of Maltese will be given in English although the Maltese for Foreigners sessions will be held in Maltese.


The Summer School will consist of two parts:

  1. the Linguistics of Maltese part; and
  2. the Maltese Language for Foreigners option at -
    1. beginner;
    2. intermediate, level.

Please email programmesprotect me ?!fis.comprotect me ?!.mt, preferably by September 15, 2008, to indicate whether you expect to participate in the first Summer School in Maltese Linguistics, announced above, to be held in Malta from June 15 to 26 2009, showing clearly which part/s of the Summer School you are interested in.


Der besondere Stellenwert der maltesischen Sprache an der Universität Bremen wird weiter gefestigt. Am 18. März 2009 eröffnete Dr. Thomas Stöcker, der Honorargeneralkonsul Maltas, feierlich die „Maltesische Bibliothek" in Räumen der Bremer Linguistik. Mit 375 Bänden maltesischer Literatur stellt sie eine der größten Sammlungen dieser Art außerhalb Maltas dar. Hier finden sich nahezu alle Veröffentlichungen auf Maltesisch seit dem Jahr 2000. In der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Bremen gibt es zudem noch ältere Anschaffungen aus Malta, so dass gegenwärtig in Bremen um 500 maltesische Bücher vorhanden sind – Tendenz steigend..

Pressemitteilung Nr. 82 /  18.03.2009 - Universität Bremen

Zweimal „Unsere Sprache“: Maltesische Fachpublikationen aus Bremen

Professor Thomas Stolz, Hochschullehrer im Studiengang Linguistik des Fachbereichs Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften der Universität Bremen und Präsident der Vereinigung, präsentierte jetzt die ersten Nummern der neuen Fachzeitschrift „ILSIENNA – OUR LANGUAGE“ und der dazu gehörigen Beihefteserie „IL-LINGWA TAGHNA – OUR LANGUAGE“. Mit diesen Publikationen hat das Maltesische erstmals in seiner Geschichte auch außerhalb Maltas ein Forum gewonnen, das gänzlich dieser neo-arabischen Sprache Europas gewidmet ist.

Universität Bremen, Pressemitteilung Nr. 178 | Mittwoch, 18. März, 2009

Bibliothek für maltesische Literatur in Bremen

Die Universität Bremen hat eine Bibliothek eigens für maltesische Literatur eröffnet. Mit 375 Bänden sei sie eine der größten Sammlungen dieser Art außerhalb Maltas, sagte der Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaftler Thomas Stolz.

NWZ - 19.03.2009


Neue und einzigartige Zeitschrift für Maltesische Linguistik

ILSIENNA . Unsere Sprache, ist eine neue Zeitschrift der Internationalen Gesellschaft für Maltesische Linguistik (Għaqda Internazzjonali tal- Lingwistika Maltija - GĦILM), die im Oktober 2007 an der Universitat Bremen gegrundet worden ist. Dieser Neuling auf dem Markt der linguistischen Zeitschriften publiziert wissenschaftliche Artikel und Rezensionen, die sich mit dem Thema maltesische Linguistik beschäftigen. [...]

Informationsblatt der Botschaft von Malta Ausgabe Nr. 4/2008, S. 7

THE National Council for the Maltese Language, in exercise of the powers vested in it by Article 5(2) of the Maltese Language Act, has established that from this day Friday, 25th July, 2008, the official orthography of the Maltese language be amended with immediate effect in the way stipulated in the document "Deċiżjonijiet 1". This document stipulates the correct spelling of a number of words which up to now could be written in more than one way.

The orthographic forms ruled out in this document will remain valid temporarily for a period of three years from today's date, that is up to the 25th July, 2011. After this date, the chosen forms in the document "Deċiżjonijiet 1" will be the only correct forms in Maltese orthography.

Gazzetta tal-Gvern ta’ Malta  / The Malta Government Gazette

Il-Ġimgħa, 25 ta' Lulju, 2008 / Friday, 25th July, 2008

Sandro Caruana (Malta) und Thomas Stolz (Bremen) hielten an der Università  degli Studi di Cagliari (Sardegna/Italia) einen dreitägigen Workshop (26.-28.3.2008) zum Thema Il-Maltese - fratello gemello dell'italiano ab.

In einer Tischrede von Bundespräsident Horst Köhler bei einem Staatsbankett, gegeben von S. E. dem Präsidenten der Republik Malta, Herrn Dr. Edward Fenech Adami, am 16. November 2007 in Valletta, findet sich folgender Bezug zu GHILM:

Auch auf kulturellem Gebiet gab und gibt es immer wieder enge Verbindungen zwischen unseren Ländern. Der deutsche Gelehrte Hieronymus Magister publizierte im Jahr 1608 ein Werk über seinen Malta-Aufenthalt von 1588. Es enthält die erste gedruckte Liste von Wörtern und Redewendungen der maltesischen Sprache und bildet einen wertvollen Fundus für die maltesische Sprachwissenschaft. Eine aktuelle Fortsetzung dieses frühen wissenschaftlichen Kontakts bildet die vor einem Monat gegründete Internationale Vereinigung für Maltesische Linguistik. Deutschland ist stolz, dass die Gründung dieser Organisation in Bremen stattfand und dass ein Bremer Sprachwissenschaftler zu ihrem Vorsitzenden gewählt wurde. Wir freuen uns auch über die Entscheidung der Maltesischen Regierung, zum ersten Mal einen Lehrstuhl für Deutsch an der Universität von Malta einzurichten.


Bericht über die Gründung der Internationalen Vereinigung für Maltesische Linguistik von Richard Verhoeven im Bremer Uni-Schlüssel

[BUS Nr. 98, Dezember 2007, S. 8]

Funkhaus Europa brachte am Mittwoch, 14. November 2007 um 16:30 in der Reihe Nova ein Feature über das Maltesische mit Ausschnitten aus einem Interview mit Thomas Stolz, das anlässlich der Gründung der Internationalen Vereinigung für Maltesiche Linguistik am 19.10.2007 aufgezeichnet wurde.

Unter diesem Titel berichtet die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung über die Gründung der Internationalen Vereinigung für Maltesische Linguistik.
FAZ, 9. Nov. 2007 Nr. 261, S. 39

From a Press Release of the Department of Information - Malta: 

Two days later the ambassador travelled to Bremen to deliver the inaugural address marking the foundation of the Association of Maltese Linguistics within the Institute of General and Applied Linguistics of the University of Bremen.

The foundation of the Association took place in the context of an international symposium on aspects of Maltese Linguistics organised by the Institute on the initiative of Professor Thomas Stolz who last March delivered a number of lectures at the University of Malta and who is the Association’s first President.

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture sponsored an evening to celebrate the founding of the Association. Two Maltese chefs cooked a fenkata in Bremen, while Maltese folk singer-songwriter Walter Micallef provided entertainment during the evening.

The event was also attended by the President of the Malta Council on the Maltese Language, Professor Manwel Mifsud, who along with Bernard Comrie (Leipzig), Ray Fabri (Malta) and Martine Vanhove (Villejuif), were elected Vice-Presidents of the Association.

The Association will request the University of Bremen to support future initiatives and seminars, the first being a follow-up seminar planned for Spring 2009. To this end, the Embassy has already made representations with the Rector of the University of Bremen to endorse and support this initiative.

DOI – 07.11.2007

Bericht im Weserkurier über die Gründung der Internationalen Vereinigung für Maltesische Linguistik.

Bremer Tageszeitungen AG

Ausgabe: Weser-Kurier

Seite: 34

Datum: 02.11.2007

The Europeanisation and internationalisation of Maltese has now been established with the setting up of the International Association of Maltese Linguistics (Ghaqda Internazzjonali tal-Lingwistika Maltija) at the University of Bremen, during a recently held conference on Maltese linguistics.

The association's first meeting took place during the conference, held at the Maritim Hotel in Bremen, on October 19. Over 50 scholars from Malta, Ireland, Germany, Israel, Japan, France, Italy and the US attended the conference which discussed a wide range of themes dealing with grammar.

Professor Thomas Stolz (University of Bremen) was elected as the first President of the newly founded International Association of Maltese Linguistics (GHILM) during the first conference on Maltese Linguistics (Maltese Linguistics / Lingwistika Maltija) on October 19, 2007.

Why would it ever cross anyone’s mind to establish an international society for Maltese linguistics? Would it be worth the time and energy involved to do such a thing? Maltese is now an official language of the EU, but less than half a million people speak it. Well, it happens to be a German linguist called Thomas Stolz, who believes that setting up such a society is actually worthwhile. He was recently in Malta to speak about his venture, on which he is working together with a number of Maltese and foreign linguists and academics. Francesca Vella reports.

The Malta Independent Online