Is the Maltese Language Derived from Phoenician?

March 12, 2019


Malta is part of an archipelago located in the Mediterranean Sea near the center of the both the ancient and modern world. Considered by global travelers as one of the most beautiful places on earth, it is a nation known for historic sites related to a broad succession of rulers including the Romans, Moors, Phoenicians, Knights of Saint John, Greeks, Sicilians, French and British. The island is home to numerous fortresses, megalithic temples and subterranean chambers. Some of these formations, complex hallways and burial chambers date back to 4000 B.C. Some areas of Malta are crumbling in disrepair, while other sectors are beautifully restored.

The island nation is very old. In fact, the some of the temples in Malta are older than the Egyptian pyramids. The island has the distinction of being continuously inhabited since 5900 B.C. While Catholicism is the official religion, the country's Constitution provides that all persons shall have total freedom to worship his or her respective religion. Although numerous languages and dialects can be heard when traveling around the 122 square mile island nation, the official languages are Maltese and English.  Maltese is officially recognized as the only Semitic language in the European Union. The Maltese language was directly derived from Phoenician and universities around the world study Maltese to better understand other ancient languages like Arabic and Hebrew.

Archaeologists believe the Maltese islands were first settled by Stone Age hunters who arrived from Sicily looking to establish a prehistoric framing settlement. Located about 50 miles south of Italy, 175 miles east of Tunisia, and 200 miles north of Libya, Malta is the tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated country in the world. Even though Malta will be forever linked to many of its conquering neighbors, the Maltese language is historically unique with more than 500 Phonetic words that do not exist in either Sicilian or Arabic. Nonetheless, the language is also composed of many loaner words from Italian, Arabic and English that are not found in the root of the Maltese language.

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