Maltese and Hebrew

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Maltese and Hebrew

check out with:

 svn co

Todo list

  • Make program to generate a full form list for a given Maltese verb stem
  • Align Maltese and Hebrew bibles
  • Add closed categories to the Maltese analyser (pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, determiners, numerals)
  • Add nouns,adjectives,adverbs to the Maltese analyser

Hebrew analyser/generator
  • Generate verb entries from the hespel list
  • Add attached articles to all noun entries -- not 100^ sure how this works, see for ex. <e lm="הולדת"><par n="ה"/><i>הולדת</i><par n="עת__n_f"/></e>

Maltese verbs

No infinitive. Stem is third person singular, masculine perfect tense.

Second verb infinitive does not exist, instead both verbs are conjugated. "I want to eat" = "I want I eat"

A verbal stem can consist of:

  1. Three consonants (radicals) with the medial radical between one of six vowel combinations. (Triliteral)
    • kiteb
  2. Four consonants, some having two repeated biradical bases. (Quadriliteral)
  3. Two consonants, or a consonant and a semivowel

In verbs with 'għ' or a + 'j' as the third radical, only have the first two radicals in the stem word which ends in 'a' (open syllable).

  1. Verbs that have three non-semivocalic consonants are called sound or strong verbs.
  2. Verbs that have three radicals, with the last radical being 'għ' or 'j' are called defective or weak verbs.
  3. Triliteral verbs with long 'a' or 'ie' between 1st and 2nd radicals are called hollow verbs.
  4. Triliteral verbs with where the second and third radicals are the same are called doubled or geminated verbs.


Type Example Cons Vowel config Translation
Sound (Tri) ħareġ ħ·r·ġ 2. a·e he went out
Sound (Quad) ħarbex ħ·rb·x 2. a·e he scribbled
Defective qata' q·t·għ 1. a·a he cut
Weak mexa m·x·j 4. e·a he walked
Hollow qal q·w·l 1. a·a he said
Hollow sab s·j·b 1. a·a he found
Doubled habb h·b·b 1. a·a he loved


  1. Perfect: Action in the past
    • seraq "he robbed"
  2. Imperfect: Action in the present/future
    • jisraq "he steals" or "he will steal"
  3. Imperative: Order/command
    • israq (sg), isirqu (pl) "steal!"
  4. Present participle: Only from intransitive verbs, and some verbs of motion. Has both verbal/adjectival function. Has m/f/pl
    • nieżel ( "descending"
    • nieżla ( "descending"
    • neżlin ( "descending"
  5. Past participle: Has both verbal/adjectival function. Has m/f/pl
    • misruq ( "stolen"
    • misruqa ( "stolen"
    • misruqin ( "stolen"
  6. Verbal noun
    • serq "robbing", "theft"

Vowel patterns:

  1. KaTaB
  2. KaTeB
  3. KeTeB
  4. KiTeB
  5. KoToB

Resources on verbs

  1. Maltese Grammar
  2. Maltese verbs on Wiktionary
  3. Maltese conjugation tables on Wiktionary
  4. Maltese verbs on Verbix
  5. The verbal morphology of Maltese, Robert D. Hoberman and Mark Aronoff
  6. GF Summer School: Progress in Maltese

See also