The Malta Business Weekly

Berlin Embassy hosts lecture on the Maltese language


Prof. Dr Thomas Stolz, head of the Malta Centre and the Linguistic­s Department at the University of Bremen and a specialist in Maltese linguistic­s recently gave a lecture entitled Maltese – A European Language between Semitic, Romance and English, to an audience of over 100 people at the Embassy of Malta in Berlin.

The lecture was organised by the Embassy of Malta with the support of the Cultural Diplomacy Fund of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After a welcome note by Karl Xuereb, Ambassador of Malta to Germany, Prof. Stolz delivered his presentati­on. He first outlined the history of the Maltese language, emphasisin­g the Semitic character of its grammar system. Prof. Stolz then illustrate­d the subsequent influence of Romance languages on Maltese and demonstrat­ed how English had found its way into the language by presenting amusing examples from colloquial Maltese.

The many guests, among them ambassador­s, diplomats, journalist­s and representa­tives of cultural and scientific institutes as well as academics from universiti­es in Germany, were impressed by the unique features of the Maltese language. A lively Q&A session followed the lecture, with dozens of questions from a visibly curious audience. After the lecture, guests had the opportunit­y to exchange thoughts about Malta and the Maltese language during a reception with Maltese wine and national delicacies.

Prof. Stolz has been teaching at the University of Bremen since 1995. He previously lectured at the universiti­es of Essen, Leipzig, Berlin and Nijmegen. He is especially interested in the structural diversity, flexibilit­y and dynamics of human languages. In his research, he focuses on the areas of areal linguistic­s, grammatica­lisation linguistic­s, contact linguistic­s, morphology, language change studies and typology as well as on different languages such as Maltese, classical Nahuatl, Chamorro, Latvian and Welsh.

Prof. Stolz also presides over the Internatio­nal Associatio­n of Maltese Linguistic­s, L-Għaqda Internazzj­onali tal-Lingwistik­a Maltija and is the founder of the Malta Centre at the University of Bremen (­e), which was establishe­d as the result of a long cooperatio­n between the universiti­es of Bremen and Malta in the field of Maltese linguistic­s.

One of the most important tasks of the Malta Centre is to establish Maltese linguistic­s as an independen­t scholarly discipline on an internatio­nal level. Besides the integratio­n of Maltese into the teaching curriculum at the University of Bremen, the Malta Centre aims to provide useful resources to all linguists working on Maltese.

It also houses a rapidly growing library currently providing more than 600 books in the Maltese language, encompassi­ng literary works, school books, non-fiction and linguistic publicatio­ns.

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