Arabic And Maltese: A Quick Analysis Of Similarities

The Maltese language is the most visible vestiges of Arab heritage in Malta.

Declaration Of Human Rights

Here is the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is an often translated document, in Maltese.

Il-bnedmin kollha jitwieldu ħielsa u ugwali fid-dinjità u d-drittijiet. Huma mogħnija bir-raġuni u bil-kuxjenza u għandhom iġibu ruħhom ma' xulxin bi spirtu ta' aħwa.

The Arabic can discern several words of basic concepts. More modern ones have non-Arabic vocabulary:

البني  آدمين كلها يتولدوا ... هم ... يجيبوا روحهم مع ... أخوة 

The basic concepts and terms are all Arabic. The more modern ones are Romance. 

Attard Anthem

Another example is the Attard anthem, from a district in Malta. 

Maltese Text

The Maltese text reads as follows:

Ġonna li jfewħu biż-żahar tal-larin,

djar fl-isqaqien dellija,

ġawhra ta' tempju, dehra ta' ġmiel,

il-kenn ta' Omm għal dawk li bkew.

Dak li writna tul is-snin

ngħaddu 'l ta' warajna,

xhieda ħajja tal-ġrajjiet

li taw l-ogħla ġieh lil Artna.

Bnadar iperpru ma' l-arbli għoljin,

twieqi għad-dawl miftuħa,

qniepen ferrieħa, kant taż-żerniq,

u l-ħolm sabiħ taż-żmien li ġej.

Dak li writna ...

Arabic Translation

The Arabic translation of it is as follows, the best I could.

Ġonna li jfewħu biż-żahar tal-larin, جونة ليفوحوا بزهر اللارين

djar fl-isqaqien dellija, دار في الزقاقين ظلية

ġawhra ta' tempju, dehra ta' ġmiel, جوهرة تا  تمبيو؟  ظاهرة تا جميل

il-kenn ta' Omm għal dawk li bkew. الكن تا ام غال؟ دوك اللي بكوا

Dak li writna tul is-snin   ذاك اللي  ورثنا  طول السنين

ngħaddu 'l ta' warajna, نغدو  ل  تا وراينا

xhieda ħajja tal-ġrajjiet  شهادة حجة؟  تا  القريات؟

li taw l-ogħla ġieh lil Artna. لي  تو لوغلة؟ جية؟  لي أرضنا

Bnadar iperpru ma' l-arbli għoljin, بنادر يبربرو مع الاربلي؟ غوليين؟

twieqi għad-dawl miftuħa, طويقي غاد  دول مفتوحة

qniepen ferrieħa, kant taż-żerniq, قنيبن فريحة قنت تاز زرنيق

u l-ħolm sabiħ taż-żmien li ġej. و  لحلم صابح  تا زمان لي  جاي

Dak li writna ... ذاك اللي ورثنا

 

English Translation

The English translation is here: 

"Gardens that are perfumed with orange blossoms,

houses in the shade of streets,

a gem like a temple, a beautiful sight,

a mother's refuge for those who wept.

What we have inherited throughout the ages,

we pass on to our children,

as witnesses of times passed,

we tell of those things that made our Land proud.

Flags flying on tall masts,

windows open to the light,

joyous bells, the song of dawn,

and beautiful dreams of days to come.

What we have inherited...."

Discussion and Notes

Note how the basic concepts all have Arabic roots, while the newer more modern one borrows Romance roots.

Note how orange is "larin" which is Naranj نارنج or Lareng لارنج in Arabic.

One striking feature is that the Maltese is very similar to North African colloquial Arabic spoken today,  e.g. in Tunisia and Egypt. Examples are the use of جاي and اللي which is reduced to "li". The possible influence of Bedouin dialects is there, as in is xheida where the classical Arabic is shahada, and the second A is converted into a Y sound. The same can be observed in zmein (classical Arabic Zaman).  Perhaps the Bedouin dialects represent centuries old versions of Arabic in this case.

Another interesting aspect, is the use of dak (ذاك this) and dawk (دوك those) as its plural.

The "ta'" prefix seems to be an invented construct which is similar to بتاع in Egyptian Arabic.

Resources

Contents: 

Comments

Laring

Hey this is interesting I am Maltese and I am learning arabic and it is quite similar, just to let you know we call Oranges Laring which is similar to Lareng. The numbers are the same but the pronounciation is dofferent. We have an ‘ayn’ buy it is silent in maltese! Any questions let me know

No wonder they are similar

Thank you for your comment ...

No wonder they are similar, because Maltese some centuries ago was just an Arabic dialect, much like Tunisian or Egyptian.

Lareng in Egyptian Arabic (Rarenj in Iraq) is actually Bitter oranges, not the sweet type you eat as a fruit. Lareng is used for jams only in Egypt.