Maltese


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Related to Maltese: Maltese language

Maltese

(môltēz`), breed of very small toy dogtoy dog,
classification used by breeders and kennel clubs to designate very small breeds of dogs kept as pets. Some are selectively bred diminutive forms of larger breeds and others are naturally small.
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 of obscure origin that was widely popular in Europe by the beginning of the 19th cent. It stands about 5 in. (12.7 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 2 to 7 lb (0.9–1.4 kg). Its long, flat-lying, silky coat is pure white and hangs down on either side of the body almost to the ground. The Maltese is probably an ancient breed; dogs closely resembling the modern type were kept as lap dogs in Rome and Greece before the Christian era. Today's lively breed makes a popular house pet. See dogdog,
carnivorous, domesticated wolf (Canis lupus familiaris) of the family Canidae, to which the jackal and fox also belong. The family Canidae is sometimes referred to as the dog family, and its characteristics, e.g.
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.

Maltese

 

a people; the principal population of the state of Malta. Population, more than 300,000 (1970, estimate). They speak a Semitic language, Maltese.

The Maltese are Catholics. They are the descendants of ancient settlers, possibly of Phoenician origin. For many centuries, the Maltese were dominated by foreigners: Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards, knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, French, and English. These conquerors influenced the Maltese way of life and culture to various degrees. The chief occupations of the Maltese are farming, horticulture, animal husbandry, fishing, and navigation.


Maltese

 

the language of the population of the islands of Malta and Gozo; along with English, one of the two official languages of the state of Malta.

Maltese is related to the Semitic language family. It originates from the language of the Arabs who occupied Malta between the ninth and 11th centuries. The sound system of Arabic underwent significant changes in Maltese: the emphatic consonants and h were lost; the phonemes p, v, ż [c], and ċ [č] appeared; the vowel system became more complex (five short and five long vowels and the diphthong ie [iə]); and the Arabic short vowels disappeared in many positions. The Arabic morphology remains basically the same, although cases and several other categories have been lost, and internal inflection has become considerably more complicated. New auxiliary words (for example, the preposition of the genitive case ta) appeared.

The vocabulary and syntax of Maltese were influenced by European languages, especially Italian. The writing system is based on the Roman alphabet. Along with Italian and English, Maltese is the language of the schools, literature (since the 19th century), and the press.

REFERENCES

Sutcliffe, E. A Grammar of the Maltese Language. London, 1936.
Dessoulavy, C. L. A Maltese-Arabic Word-List. London, 1938.
Aquilina, J. Maltese. London, 1965.

A. B. DOLGOPOL’SKH

Maltese

1. the official language of Malta, a form of Arabic with borrowings from Italian, etc.
2. a breed of toy dog having a very long straight silky white coat
3. a domestic fancy pigeon having long legs and a long neck
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