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07 Sep 2015 - 02 May 2021
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Maltese language
WRITTEN BY: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
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Alternative Title: Malti language
Maltese language, Maltese Malti, Semitic language of the Southern Central group spoken on the island of Malta. Maltese developed from a dialect of Arabic and is closely related to the western Arabic dialects of Algeria and Tunisia. Strongly influenced by the Sicilian language (spoken in Sicily), Maltese is the only form of Arabic to be written in the Latin alphabet.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Kathleen Kuiper, Senior Editor.
LEARN MORE in these related Britannica articles:
Malta: Language
Maltese and English are the official languages of Malta as well as official languages of the EU. Maltese resulted from the fusion of North African Arabic and a Sicilian dialect of Italian. It is the only Semitic language officially written in Latin script. English is…
Semitic languages
Semitic languages, languages that form a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language phylum. Members of the Semitic group are spread throughout North Africa and Southwest Asia and have played preeminent roles in the linguistic and cultural landscape of the Middle East for more than 4,000 years.…
Malta
Malta, island country located in the central Mediterranean Sea. A small but strategically important group of islands, the archipelago has through its long and turbulent history played a vital role in the struggles of a succession of powers for domination of the Mediterranean and in the interplay between emerging Europe…
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