Maltese and Hebrew

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Maltese and Hebrew

check out with:

 svn co

Todo list

  1. Make program to generate a full form list for a given Maltese verb stem
  2. Add closed categories to the Maltese analyser (prepositions, conjunctions,pronouns, determiners, numerals)
  3. Add closed categories to the bidix
  4. Add closed categories to the Hebrew dictionary (prepositions, pronouns, determiners, numerals, conjunctions)
  5. Generate Hebrew verb entries from hspell output in Apertium format
  6. Add existing verbs to the bidix
  7. Look at how attached/clitic pronouns can be treated (Spanish,Catalan,Italian have similar requirements)
  8. Add high frequency verbs to the full form list / Maltese analyser
  9. Add high frequency nouns, adjectives, adverbs to Maltese analyser
  10. Align Maltese and Hebrew bibles
  11. 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>
  12. Wiktionary script: 1) Fix URL encoding 2) Output English gloss as a comment
  13. Change to generate negation circumfixes for all verbs: ma(--)x or m'(--)x generates <neg>
  14. Ability to set alternative forms with a direction restriction, e.g. sp[''] = ('inkun', 'LR')
  15. Possessive suffixes on Maltese nouns. p.100 "Teach yourself"
    • This has been started, see: Completed paradigms above this line
    • Find out if all nouns can take these (in theory), or only certain classes of nouns.
  16. Write a script that scans the corpus for adjective/noun pairs, looking for gender agreement errors.
  17. Many verbs with the j- prefix can also take an i- prefix or a ø- null prefix, this should be included into each of the class files. (E.g.
  18. Rule in verb prefixes for i- and j-
  19. Past participles have gender/number -- like adjectives
  20. Fix global generation of negative forms: bela'x should be belagħx (depends on root), etc.
  21. 619 noun forms with <GD>, 81 with the tag <ND> -- find the gender and number
  22. 38 adjective forms with <GD> -- find the gender.
  23. Hebrew overgeneration of nouns - caused by my wrong handling of plural noun forms. Figure out what the source of this is - is it hspell? (contact hspell people). Is it me? (regenerate from hspell and figure out whether to fix it)

Midterm sprint

Day Date Target Achieved Cov. WP Cov. KPS Notes
1 26th June 250 154 53.95% First batch (top 120) of adjectives from Unhammer's adj_suspected.txt
2 27th June 250 411 55.19% 52.15% Batches 2,3,4 from same list (next 440 items)
3 28th June 250 210 55.38% Rest of adj_suspected-ku-ka-ci.txt, adj_suspected.txt
4 29th June 250 218 60.59% Nouns from Wiktionary script, some high frequency words (det, prep)
5 30th June 250 248 63.20% 58.82% Some nouns, adjectives, adverbs
6 1st July 250 64.38% 60.07%
7 2nd July 250 67.65% 66.23%
8 3rd July 250 70.88% 70.02%
9 4th July 250
10 5th July 250 72.13% 71.34%
11 6th July 250 72.62% 72.71%
12 7th July 250 73.85% 74.04%
13 8th July 250 74.32% 74.50%
14 9th July 250 75.05% 75.34%
15 10th July 250 76.76% 77.69%
16 11th July 250
17 12th July 250 77.50% 78.40%
18 13th July 250 78.16% 79.12%
19 14th July 250
20 15th July 250

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

Pronominal Suffixes

Pronouns, prepositions etc. can be dropped in favor of complex suffixes added to the verb;

For example,

iktbilha = ikteb + il + ha
write(imp,p2,sg) + to + her

See The Verb with Pronominal Suffixes for through documentation.

Resources on verbs

See also: Maltese

  1. Dana Dannélls, John J. Camilleri 2010. Verb Morphology of Hebrew and Maltese - Towards an Open Source Type Theoretical Resource Grammar in GF


We have all Hebrew cardinal numbers and number construction defined in he.dix (still pending tests) (relevant definitions).

For Maltese, we have the cardinal numbers defined ([1]) along with some basic construction rules, but complex numbers is not ready yet (smart paradigms required).

Maltese numeral construction examples:

  • 1..9, 11..19 - named numbers.
  • 21..99 - "one and thirty" for 31 (wieħed u tletin).
  • 100 and up - "three hundred and three and seventy" for 273 (tliet mija u tlieta u sebgħin).
  • Same for thousands - "thousand nine hundreds and five and sixty") 1965 (elf disa' mija u ħamsa u sittin)

External resources

See also