Even cooler than The Maltese Falcon

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/03/16 12:45 -08:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/michkap/archive/2006/03/16/553140.aspx


This one may not be funnier than We're drowning in LIPs!, Microsoft, you giving us some LIP?, Let there be LIPs, Oops, we did it again, or Oh Kannada... (ಕನ್ನಡ), but I think it might be able to inspire the largest groan factor.

And of course, the 1941 movie has nothing to do with the language, really.

But I am excited anyway. Why?

Because Microsoft has just released the Maltese Language Interface Pack, and you can find it right here!

More info about Maltese (Malti):

Maltese is spoken in Malta where it is official national language (together with English) since 1936. It was also recognized as an official language of the European Union when the country became a member state in 2004.

Based on and most closely related to Arabic, Maltese also contains a lot of elements from Romance and Germanic languages which is reflecting the history of the islands: Malta was occupied by the Arabs in 870 who brought their language (Maltese is the only survivor of the Arabic dialects widely spoken in Spain and Sicily in the Middle Ages). When the Normans conquered Malta in 1090 and christianized it, Maltese started adopting many loan words and even phonetic and phonological features from (Southern) Italian and Sicilian. After a long rule by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem (from 1530 to the end of the 18th century) which prolonged the process of Latinization, the country became part of the British Empire as a crown colony in 1814, opening the language to English influences. Malta was granted independence in 1964.

So over the centuries Maltese has developed a hybrid vocabulary. An analysis of the etymology of 40,000 Maltese words found that about a third of the words is of Arabic origin (though these are most basic words), about half is of Sicilian and Italian origin, and 6% are derived from English.

The Maltese grammar is still mainly Semitic, though for nouns of Romance origin there is a Romance pattern for inflection.

Maltese, most closely related to Arabic, belongs to the group of Semitic languages (of which for example Hebrew or Amharic are part as well).

Maltese is the only Semitic language written in the Latin alphabet. It has a few special characters, like ċ (pronounced like ch), ġ (pronounced like the English j) or ħ (pronounced like an English h, but stronger).

Enjoy!

 

This post brought to you by "M" (U+004d, a.k.a. LATIN CAPITAL LETTER M)


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