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 (www.fb10.uni-bremen.de/maltacentre), 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.