BASIC
MALTESE GRAMMAR


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. ALPHABET
  2. ARTICLE
  3. PRONOUN
  4. ADVERB
  5. GENDER
  6. COMPARISON
  7. NUMBER
  8. VERB
  9. SUFFIX
  10. NEGATIVE
  11. CONDITIONAL
  12. FUTURE




THE ALPHABET



        LETTER  APPROXIMATE PRONUNCIATION       SYMBOL      EXAMPLES
        ------  -------------------------       ------      --------

        A       short, like 'u' in 'shut'       a           raba
                long, like 'a' in 'far'         a:          sala

        B       like Eng. b                     b           blu

        C       like ch in 'church'             ch          coff

        D       like Eng. d                     d           demm

        E       short, as e in 'shed'           e           dell
                long, as ai in  'hair'          e:          gelu

        F       like Eng. f                     f           frott

        G       like j in 'join'                j           gbejna

        G       like g in 'great'               g           gardell

        H       silent within a word;                       fehem

                pronounced like h in hen
                when at the end of a word       h           fih

        H       like h in 'house'               h           hamsa
     
        I       short, as i in  'fit'           i           fitt
                long, as ee in 'jeep'           i:          ilu

        J       like y in  'yes'                y           jannar

        K       like k in 'kit'                 k           kelma

        L       like l in 'life'                l           landa

        M       as in Eng.                      m           mans

        N       as in Eng.                      n           nisel

        O       short, like o in got            o           bott
                long, like aw in law            o:          sod

        GH      mostly silent (*)                           boghod

        P       as in Eng.                      p           patata

        Q       glottal plosive sound           '           dqiq
                produced by the closure of
                the vocal chords followed
                by their sudden separation

        R       trilled like Scottish r         r           marsus

        S       like s in 'sea'                 s           sinjur

        T       like t in French 'tante'        t           tfajla
  
        U       short, like u in 'full'         u           pulptu
                long, like oo in 'fool'         u:          hut

        V       as in Eng.                      v           iva

        W       like w in 'war'                 w           werwer

        X       like sh in 'sheep'              sh          xadina

        Z       voiced, like z in  'fuzz'       z           zunzan

        Z       unvoiced, like ts in 'hats'     ts          pinzell


(*) 'GH' is regarded as a single letter in Maltese. When it precedes or
follows any one of the vowels 'a', 'e', 'o' it prolongs the sound of the
vowel. In my phonetic transcription this is shown by : after the
vowel concerned.

When 'GH' is followed by the vowel 'i' it takes the sound of 'ay' in the
English word 'bay'. When 'GH' is followed by the vowel 'u' it takes the
sound of 'ou' in the English word 'soul'.

When 'GH' is the final letter in a word, it is pronounced as a soft
aspirate sound like 'h' in the English word 'hair'.

The phonetic transcription will show the correct variation in
pronunciation.

N.B.(1) General rules governing the length of vowels:

        -- All vowels at the end of a word are short and unstressed.
   

        -- All vowels are long when they are stressed and are followed
           by one consonant. They are short when followed by more than
           one consonant.

        -- A long vowel becomes shorter when the word in which it occurs
           is followed by a word beginning with a consonant and carrying
           the main stress. E.g. dar sabiha.



N.B.(2) My phonetic transcription will also show the differences in
pronunciation of 'g' in 'gobon' and 'g' in 'gidba', 'z' in 'zija' and 'z'
in 'zarbun', and between silent and pronounced 'h'.


N.B.(3) Doubled consonants are to be lengthened phonetically at the
beginning of a word or inside it. Thus  ll  in 'falla' must be pronounced
not with one  l  as in English 'fuller' but with the first  l  closing
the first syllable and with the second  l  opening the second syllable.
Approximate phonetic analogy in English would be the pronunciation of
"full life".




THE ARTICLE

The definite article "the", in Maltese is "l", linked by a hyphen to the following noun or adjective. E.g. l-orizzont (the horizon), l-isbah (the most beautiful).

The article becomes "il-" if the following word begins with a consonant. E.g. il-mera (the mirror), il-quddiesa (the Mass), il-qamar (the moon), il-lapis (the pencil), il-habs (the prison), il-ghasfur or l-ghasfur (the bird), il-herra or l-herra (the rudenss).

The definite article changes to match the following word in certain instances when the initial consonant is c, d, n, r, s, t, x, z (voiced), or z E.g. ic-cirku (the circle), id-duhhan (the smoke), in-nemel (the ants), ir-rahal (the village), is-suwed (the blacks), it-tagen (the frying pan), ix-xitan (the devil), iz-zalza (the sauce), iz-zunzan (the bee).

PERSONAL PRONOUNS

Personal pronouns in Maltese can also function as verbs. Thus:

Singular: 

Jien (or Jiena)= I; I am
Int (or Inti)=You; You are
Hu (or Huwa)=He; He is
Hi (or Hija)=She; She is


Plural:

Ahna=We; We are
Intom=You; You are
Huma=  They; They are
The negative of the verbal mode of the pronoun is made by surrounding the pronoun with "ma" before the pronoun and "x" appended to it. Thus:

ma jiniex (or miniex)I am not
mintixYou are not
mhuwiex (or mhux)He is not
mhijiex (or mhix)She is not
mahniexWe are not
mintomxYou are not
mhumiexThey are not

DEMONSTRATIVE ADJECTIVES / PRONOUNS


singularplural

masculinedan (this)dawn (these)
dak (that)dawk (those)

femininedin (this)dawn (these)
dik (that)dawk (those)

E.g. Dan il-hanut (this store)(adj)
     Dan hu l-hanut (this is the store)(pron)

     Dik is-sinjura (that lady)(adj)
     Dik hija s-sinjura (that is the lady)(pron)

RELATIVE PRONOUN

The relative pronouns who, whom, that, which are rendered in Maltese by the particle "li".

 


L-ittra li bghattli. (The letter you sent me).
Ma rajtx il-programmi li semmejtli. (I didn't see the programs you
mentioned to me).
Dan hu l-frigg li jmissna nixtru. (This is the fridge we should
buy).

INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS


Min (Who)
Liema (Which one)
Xi (What)
X (What) before words beginning with a vowel, a single consonant,
a silent  h  or  gh.

   Min hi l-mara tieghu? (Who is his wife?).
   Liema kompjuter se tixtri? (Which computer are you buying?).
   Xi trid? (What do you want?).
   X'tip ta' persuna hu? (What type of person is he?).
   X'ghamlet? (What did she do?).

PRONOMINAL SUFFIXES

The pronominal suffixes appended to nouns, verbs and prepositions are:

SingularPlural

-i, -ja  (my)-na  (our)   
-ek, -ok, -k  (your)-kom  (your)
-u, -h  (his)-hom  (their) 
-ha  (hers)-hom  (their)
 
   E.g. mieghek (with you); tajthom (I gave them); gismi (my body);
        ommok (your mother); taghha (hers).

POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS


SingularPlural

1st person:tieghi (my, mine)taghna (our, ours)

2nd person:tieghek (your, yours) taghkom (your, yours)

3rd person:tieghu (his, its)taghhom (their,
theirs)
taghha (her, hers, its)taghhom (their, theirs)

ADVERBS


fejn (where)Fejn hi l-librerija? (Where's the library?)
hawn (here)Hawn ahna! (Here we are!)
hemm (there) Meta sejjer hemm? (When are you going there?)
kullimkien (everywhere)Kullimkien hekk. (It's like this everywhere.)
meta (when)Meta se titilqu? (When are you leaving?)
illum (today)Illum temp bnazzi. (Fine weather today.)
ghada (tomorrow)Tluq ghal ghada. (Departure set for tomorrow.)
ilbierah (yesterday)Wasalna 'lbierah. (We arrived yesterday.)
xhin (when)Xhin hi c-cena? (What time is supper?)
qatt (never)Qatt ma kellu xorti. (He was never lucky.)
kif (how)Kif issajjru l-bebbux? (How do you cook snails?)
biss (only)Rajtha darba biss. (I saw her only one time.)
wisq (too much)Tlablab wisq. (She chatters too much.)
bizzejjed (enough)Ma jiekolx bizzejjed. (He doesn't eat enough.)
hadd (no one)Hadd ma gie. (No one showed up.)
xejn (nothing)Xejn ma jiskantani. (Nothing surprises me.)
tassew (really)Tassew  ma toghgobnix. (Really I don't like it.)
ghaliex (why)Ghaliex ma cempiltx? (Why didn't you call?)


GENDER OF NOUNS AND ADJECTIVES


(1)Nouns and adjectives ending in a consonant or in  "u"  are
masculine.

glekk (coat)seklu (century)
ktieb (book)gustuz (cute)

A few exceptions: triq (street), dar (house), ruh (soul), qalb
(heart), belt (city), id (hand).


(2)Nouns and adjectives ending in  "a"  are feminine.

mejda (tablehobza (loaf)
helwa (sweet)sabiha (beautiful)

A fewexceptions: ilma (water), papa (pope), alla (god).


(3) Nouns ending in  "i"  are feminine.

arti (art)xorti (luck)
fidi (faith)vuci (voice)

FORMATION OF FEMININE ADJECTIVES

Generally, the feminine gender is formed by adding "a" to the masculine or "ja" if the masculine ends in "i".

   In Maltese, the adjective follows the noun it qualifies.

mara xiha (an old woman)
tfajla franciza (a French girl)

   The adjective takes the definite article when it qualifies a noun which
   is preceded by a definite article.

it-tifel il-marid (the sick boy)
il-kamra n-nadifa (the clean room) When a noun is in the singular, the qualifying ajective agrees with the noun in gender and number. In the plural form of the adjective is the same for both masculine and feminine genders.
N.B. The formation of the plural number in Maltese for both adjectives and nouns does not follow uniform patterns. The reader is encouraged to learn the plural forms as he or she encounters them.

COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES

The comparative degree of adjectives is formed by prefixing "a, e, i" or "o" to the positive form of the adjective. Following are examples of the main patterns:

qawwi (strong)aqwa (stronger)
ohxon (fat)ehxen (fatter)
fqir (poor)ifqar (poorer)
ghali (costly)oghla (costlier)

The conjunction  "minn" (than)  introduces the following item of
comparison.

Din id-dghajsa hi akbar minn l-ohra.
(This boat is larger than the other one).

The superlative precedes the noun it qualifies and is expressed by
prefixing the article  "l-"  to the comparative form of the adjective.

l-ikbar kamra (the largest room)
l-iqsar triq (the shortest road)

Some adjectives take  "aktar" (more) or  "izjed" (more) and  "anqas" 
(less) to express the comparative degree. The superlative is formed by
prefixing the definite article  "l-"  to  "aktar', "izjed", and  "anqas".

Ghawdex hu iktar awtentiku minn Malta.
(Gozo is more authentic than Malta).

Dak il-kostum hu anqas accettat fMalta.
(That custom is less accepted in Malta).

Hi l-ahjar fil-kors.
(She is the best in the course).

Dawn huma l-anqas artistici.
(These are the least artistic).

THE PLURAL


Maltese has two plural numbers:

a)  the DUAL indicating two items or things in pairs.
b)  the PLURAL expressing more than two items.

The DUAL number is formed by adding the suffix  "-ejn"  or  "-ajn"  to the
singular form of the noun.

darba = darbtejn (twice) gimgha = gimaghtejn (twoweeks)
jum = jumejn (two days)id = idejn (pair of hands)


The general PLURAL is formed by the suffixes:  "-i", "-iet", "-ijiet",
and "-ien".

ajruplan = ajruplani (airplanes)ahbar = ahbarijiet (news)
taqsima = taqsimiet (sections)wied = widien (valleys)

Some nouns have a determinate plural (preceded by a number) and also a
collective plural form.

kelma (a word), erba kelmiet (four words), kliem (words)
tuffieha (an apple), sitt tuffihiet (six apples), tuffieh (apples)

Maltese has two categories of formations of the plural for nouns and
adjectives;

a)  the external plural by suffixes
b)  the internal plural formed by breaking the word internally

N.B. The student is encouraged to memorize the plural formations of the
more frequently used words. Following is a sampler of the variety of
plural patterns encountered in Maltese.


a)  EXTERNAL PLURAL

Malti = Maltin (Maltese)
omm = ommijiet (mothers)
bieb = bibien (doors)
xugaman = xugamani (towels)
siggu = siggijiet (chairs)
xufier = xufiera (drivers)
cekk = cekkijiet (checks)


b)  INTERNAL PLURAL

dar = djar (houses)
but = bwiet (pockets)
ragel = rgiel (men)
rahal = rhula (villages)
ktieb = kotba (books)
targa = tarag (stairs)
sodda = sodod (beds)
gzira = gzejjer (islands

THE VERB

In Maltese, verbs do not have an infinitive form. Verb moods and tenses are constructed from a root form which consists of the third person singular, masculine, Perfect Tense.

There are five categories of conjugations:

1)  STRONG:  Verbs having three or four root consonants.
  KiTeB (he wrote);  HaRBaT (he ruined)

2)  DEFECTIVE:  Verbs having a silent third radical "gh".
  TaFa for TaFaGH (he threw)

3)  WEAK:  Verbs having a third radical semi vowel  "j". QaRa for
  QaRaJ  (he read)

4)  HOLLOW:  Verbs having long "a" or "ie" (for original
  etymological "awa"  and "aja") between  initial and final stem
  consonants. DaM for DaWaM  (he delayed);  SaB for  SaJaB (he found)

5)  DOUBLED:  Verbs having double third radical.
  GaRR  (he transported)


THE MALTESE VERB HAS THE FOLLOWING TENSES AND FUNCTIONS:


1)  The PERFECT TENSE

Jien ktibt (I wrote)Ahna ktibna (we wrote)
Inti ktibt (you wrote)Intom ktibtu (you wrote)
Hija kitbet (she wrote)Huma kitbu (they wrote)
        Huwa kiteb (he wrote) Huma kitbu (they wrote)


2)  The  IMPERFECT (PRESENT - FUTURE TENSE)

Jien nikteb (I write)Ahna niktbu (we write)
Inti tikteb (you write)Intom tiktbu (you write)
Hija tikteb (she writes)Huma jiktbu (they write)
Huwa jikteb (he writes)Huma jiktbu (they write)


3)  The IMPERATIVE MOOD

ikteb (write)(sing / you)iktbu (write)(plur / you)


4)  The PRESENT PARTICIPLE

Intransitive verbs have this form. Ex: hiere[ (going out); rieqed
(sleeping); sieket (quiet).


5)  The PAST PARTICIPLE

miktub (written); misruq (stolen); miksur (broken).


6)  The VERBAL NOUN

kitba (writing or script); serqa (stealing or theft); telfa
(losing or loss).

DERIVED VERBS

Derived verbal stems are categorized into nine groups according to formation and meaning of verbs.

PATTERN  1

Verbs doubling a middle radical. The meaning is generally intensive, causative or transitive.

 

Ex: kisser (he smashed); raqqad (he put to sleep); kabbar (he enlarged).


Conjugation: 

Perfect (jien) kissirt, (int) kissirt, (hu) kisser, (hi)
kissret
   (ahna) kissirna, (intom) kssirtu, (huma) kissru
   
Present(jien) inkisser, (int) tkisser, (hu) ikisser, (hi) tkisser
    (ahna) inkissru, (intom) tkissru, (huma) ikissru

Imperativekisser (sing.), kissru (plur.)

Past Part.imkisser (m.) imkissra (f.) imkissrin (pl.)

Verb. Nountkissir (breaking in pieces)
PATTERN 2

This is formed by lengthening the first vowel which gives a causal function to the verb.

 

 

Ex: bierek (he blessed); qieghed (he placed).


Conjugation:

Perfect(jien) berikt, (int) berikt, (hu) bierek, (hi) bierket
(ahna) berikna, (intom) beriktu, (huma) bierku

Present(jien) inbierek, (int) tbierek, (hu) ibierek, (hi) tbierek
(ahna) inbierku, (intom) tbierku, (huma) ibierku

Imperativebierek (sing), bierku (plur.)

Past Partmbierek (m.) mbierka (f.) imberkin (plur.)

Verb. Nountberik (blessing)
PATTERN 3

This group is now obsolete. It used to have a causative function. A rare example is wera (he showed).


Conjugation:

Perfect(jien) urejt, (int) urejt, (hu) wera, (hi) uriet
(ahna) wrejna, (intom) urejtu, (huma) wrew

Present(jien) nuri, (int) turi, (hu) juri, (hi) turi
(ahna) nuru, (intom) turu, (huma) juru

Imperativeuri (sing.), uru (plur.)

Past Part. muri (m.) murija (f.) murijin (plur.)

Verb. Nounwirja (show); turija (demonstration)
PATTERN 4

This group is formed by prefixing "t" to Pattern 1 verbs. Resultant meaning is reflexive, reciprocal, or passive. This "t" assimilates with the initial letters: c, d, g (soft), n, s, x, z (voiced), or z.

 

 

 

Ex: tkabbar (he grew proud); (i)ccahhad (he denied himself); (i)ssellef (he borrowed); tghallaq (he hanged himself).


Conjugation:

Perfect(jien) tkabbart, (int) tkabbart, (hu) tkabbar, (hi)
tkabbret
(ahna) tkabbarna, (intom) tkabbartu, (huma)
tkabbru

Present(jien) nitkabbar, (int) titkabbar, (hu) jitkabbar 
(hi) titkabbar
(ahna) nitkabbru, (intom) titkabbru, (huma)
jitkabbru

Imperativetkabbar (sing.), tkabbru (plur.)

Past Part.mkabbar (m.) mkabbra (f.) mkabbrin (plur.)

Verb.Nountkabbir (self-importance)
PATTERN 5

Pattern 2 verbs which take a prefix "t" (with the assimilation of "t" before: c, d, g (soft), s, z (voiced), or z.). They have a reflexive, passive, or reciprocal function.

 

 

Ex: tqabad (he struggled); tmieghek (he wallowed); tbierek (he was blessed); (i)ggieled (he quarrelled).


Conjugation:

Perfect(jien) tqabadt, (int) tqabadt, (hu) tqabad, (hi) tqabdet
(ahna) tqabadna, (intom) tqabadtu, (huma) tqabdu

Present(jien) nitqabad, (int) titqabad, (hu) jitqabad, (hi)
titqabad
(ahna) nitqabdu, (intom) titqabdu, (huma) jitqabdu

Imperativetqabad (sing.), tqabdu (plur.)

Past Part.mqabad

Verb. Nountqabid (struggling)
PATTERN 6

Formed by prefixing "n" or "nt" to verbs of the first form. Verbs take a reflexive or passive meaning.

 

 

Ex: (I)ndahal (he interfered); (i)nfirex (it was spread); (i)nqatel (he killed himself); (i)nqabad (he was caught; (i)nstab (he was found).


Conjugation:

Perfect(jien) indhalt, (int) inthaldt, (hu) indahal, (hi)
indahlet
(ahna) indhalna, (intom) intdhaltu, (huma) indahlu

Present(jien) nindahal, (int) tindahal, (hu) jindahal, (hi)
tindahal
(ahna) nindahlu, (intom) tindahlu, (huma) jindahlu

Imperativeindahal (sing.), indahlu (plur.)

Past Part.none

Verb. Nounndhiel (interfering)
PATTERN 7

Formed by inserting "t" after the first radical of the first form. Verbs take a reflexive or passive role.

 

 

Ex: ftaqar (he became poor); (i)ntesa (he was forgotten).


Conjugation:

Perfect(jien) ftaqart, (int) ftaqart, (hu) ftaqar, (hi) ftaqret
(ahna) ftaqarna, (intom) ftaqartu, (huma) ftaqru

Present(jien) niftaqar, (int) tiftaqar, (hu) jiftaqar, (hi)
tiftaqar
(ahna) niftaqru, (intom) tiftaqru, (huma) jiftaqru

Imperativeftaqar (sing.), ftaqru (plur.)

Past Part.none

Verb. Nounnone

PATTERN 8

Formed by inserting a long "a" or "ie" between the second and third radical. These verbs express change of color or quality.

 

 

Ex: sfar (he grew yellow/pale); swied (it/he grew black); blieh (he grew foolish).


Conjugation:

Perfect(jien) sfart, (int) sfart, (hu) sfar, (hi) sfaret
(ahna) sfarna, (intom) sfartu, (huma) sfaru

Present(jien) nisfar, (int) tisfar, (hu) jisfar, (hi) tisfar
(ahna) nisfaru, (intom) tisfaru, (huma) jisfaru

Imperativeisfar (sing.), isfaru (plur.)

Past Part.musfar (m.) musfara (f.) musfarin (plur.)

Verb. Nounsfurija (yellowness/paleness)
PATTERN 9

This form is derived by prefixing "st" to the initial vowel of the root word. These verbs express a negative effect.

 

 

Ex: stkerra] (he detested); staghgeb (he was amazed).


Conjugation:

Perfect(jien) stkerraht (int) stkerraht, (hu) stkerrah, (hi)
stkerrhet
(ahna) stkerrahna (intom) stkerrahtu, (huma)
stkerrhu

Present(jien) nistkerrah, (int) tistkerrah, (hu) jistkerrah,
(hi) tistkerrah
(ahna) nistkerrhu, (intom) tistkerrhu, (huma)jistkerrhu

Imperativestkerrah (sing.), stkerrhu (plur.)

Past Part.mistkerrah (m.) mistkerrha (f.) mistkerrhin
(plur.)

        Verb. Nounskerrih (loathing)

FOLLOWING ARE PARADIGMS OF THE FIVE MAIN GROUPS OF VERBS:

STRONG VERBS


Root Verb:HADEM (he worked)

Imperative: ahdem (work) (sing.)
ahdmu (work) (plur.)

Present-Future:(jien) nahdem (I work; I shall work)
(int) tahdem (you work; you will work)
(hu) jahdem (he works; he will work)
(hi) tahdem (she works; she will work)
(ahna) nahdmu (we work; we shall work)
(intom) tahdmu (you work; you will work)
(huma) jahdmu (they work; they will work)

Perfect:(jien) hdimt (I worked)
(int) hdimt (you worked)
(hu) hadem (he worked)
(hi) hadmet (she worked)
(ahna) hdimna (we worked
(intom) hdimtu (you worked)
(huma) hadmu (they worked)

Past Participle:mahdum (m) (worked) mahduma (f) mahdumin(pl) 
(worked)

Verbal Noun:hidma (work)



Root Verb:WASAL (he arrived)

Imperative:asal (arrive) (sing)
aslu (arrive) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) nasal (I arrive; I shall arrive)
(int) tasal (you arrive; you will arrive)
(hu) jasal (he arrives; he will arrive)
(hi) tasal (she arrives; she will arrive)
(ahna) naslu (we arrive; we shall arrive)
(intom) taslu (you arrive; you will
arrive)
(huma) jaslu (they arrive; they will
arrive)

Perfect:(jien) wasalt (I arrived)
(int) wasalt (you arrived)
(hu) wasal (he arrived)
(hi) waslet (she arrived)
(ahna) wasalna (we arrived)
(intom) wasaltu (you arrived)
(huma) waslu (they arrived)

Past Participle:none

Verbal Noun:wasla (arrival)

DEFECTIVE VERBS


Root Verb:QALA (he earned)

Imperative:aqla (earn) (sing)
aqilghu (earn) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) naqla (I earn; I shall earn)
(int) taqla (you earn; you will earn)
(hu) jaqla (he earns; he will earn)
(hi) taqla (she earns; she will earn)
(ahna) naqilghu (we earn; we shall earn)
(intom) taqilghu (you earn; you will earn)
(huma) jaqilghu (they earn; they will
earn)

Perfect:(jien) qlajt (I earned)
(int) qlajt (you earned)
(hu) qala (he earned)
(hi) qalghet  (she earned)
(ahna) qlajna (we earned)
(intom) qlajtu (you earned)
(huma) qalghu (they earned)

Past Participle:maqlugh (m) maqlugha (f) maqlughin (pl)
(earned)

Verbal Noun:qligh (earning); qalgha (profit)

HOLLOW VERBS


Root Verb:SAR(he became; it ripened; it was
cooked)

Imperative:sir (become) (sing)
                      siru (become) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) insir (I become)
(int) issir (you become)
(hu) isir (he becomes)
(hi) issir (she becomes)
(ahna) insiru (we become)
(intom) issiru (you become)
(huma) isiru (they become)

Perfect:(jien) sirt (I became)
(int) sirt (you became)
(hu) sar (he became)
(hi) saret (she became)
(ahna) sirna (we became)
(intom) sirtu (you became)
(huma) saru (they became)

Past Participle:misjur (m) misjura (f) misjurin (pl)
(ripe)

Verbal Noun:sajran (ripening)

WEAK VERBS


Root Verb:QARA (he read)

Imperative:aqra (read) (sing)
aqraw (read) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) naqra (I read)
(int) taqra (you read)
(hu) jaqra (he reads)
(hi) taqra (she reads)
(ahna) naqraw (we read)
(intom) taqraw (you read)
(huma) jaqraw (they read)

Perfect:(jien) qrajt (I read)
(int) qrajt (you read)
(hu) qara (he read)
(hi) qrat (she read)
(ahna) qrajna (we read)
(intom) qrajtu (you read)
(huma) qraw (they read)

Past Participle:moqri (m) moqrija (f) moqrijin (pl) (read)

Verbal Noun:qari (reading)

DOUBLED VERBS


Root Verb:MESS (he touched)

Imperative:miss (touch) (sing)
missu (touch) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) immiss (I touch)
(int) tmiss (you touch)
(hu) imiss (he touches)
(hi) tmiss (she touches)
(ahna) immissu (we touch)
(intom) tmissu (you touch)
(huma) imissu (they touch)

Perfect:(jien) messejt (I touched)
(int) messejt (you touched)
(hu) mess (he touched)
(hi) messet (she touched)
(ahna) messejna (we touched)
(intom) messejtu (you touched)
(huma) messew (they touched)

Past Participle:mimsus (m) mimsusa (f) mimsusin (pl)
(touched)

Verbal Noun:mess (touching)

THE QUADRILITERAL VERB

Another group of verbs consists of four consonants in the root form . Ex: KaZBaR (he reviled); QaRMeC (he crunched); TeMTeM (he stuttered); WeRZaQ (he screamed); FiXKeL (he obstructed).


Root Verb:FIXKEL (he obstructed)

Imperative:fixkel (obstruct) (sing)
fixklu (obstruct) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) infixkel (I obstruct)
(int) tfixkel (you obstruct)
(hu) ifixkel (he obstructs)
(hi) tfixkel (she obstructs)
(ahna) infixklu (we obstruct)
(intom) tfixklu (you obstruct)
(huma) ifixklu (they obstruct)

Perfect:(jien) fixkilt (I obstructed)
(int) fixkilt (you obstructed)
(hu) fixkel (he obstructed)
(hi) fixklet (she obstructed)
(ahna) fixkilna (we obstructed)
(intom) fixkiltu (you obstructed)
(huma) fixklu (they obstructed)

Past Particple:imfixkel (m) imfixkla (f) imfixklin (pl)
(obstructed)

Verbal Noun:tfixkil (obstruction)

IRREGULAR VERBS


Root Verb:HA (he took)

Imperative:hu (take) (sing)
hudu (take) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) niehu (I take)
(inti) tiehu (you take)
(hu) jiehu (he takes)
(hi) tiehu (she takes)
(ahna) niehdu (we take)
(intom) tiehdu (you take)
(huma) jiehdu (they take)

Perfect:(jien) hadt (I took)
(int) hadt (you took)
(hu) ha (he took)
(hi) hadet (she took)
(ahna) hadna (we took)
(intom) hadtu (you took)
(huma) hadu (they took)

Past Participle:mehud (m) mehuda (f) mehudin (pl) (taken)

Verbal Noun:uhid (act of taking)

-------------------


Root Verb:RA (he saw)

Imperative:ara (see) (sing)
araw (see) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) nara (I see)
(int) tara (you see)
(hu) jara (he sees)
(hi) tara (she sees)
(ahna) naraw (we see)
(intom) taraw (you see)
(huma) jaraw (they see)

Perfect:(jien) rajt (I saw)
(int) rajt (you saw)
(hu) ra (he saw)
(hi) rat (she saw)
(ahna) rajna (we saw)
(intom) rajtu (you saw)
(huma) raw (they saw)

Past Participle:muri (m) murija (f) murijin (pl) (seen)

Verbal Noun:raj (way of seeing)

-------------------


Root Verb:TA (he gave)

Imperative:aghti (give) (sing)
aghtu (give) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) naghti (I give)
(int) taghti (you give)
(hu) jaghti (he gives)
(hi) taghti (she gives)
(ahna) naghtu (we give)
(intom) taghtu (you give)
(huma) jaghtu (they give)

Perfect:(jien) tajt (I gave)
(int) tajt (you gave)
(hu) ta (he gave)
(hi) tat (she gave)
(ahna) tajna (we gave)
(intom) tajtu (you gave)
(huma) taw (they gave)

Past Participle:moghti (m) moghtija (f) moghtijin (pl) (given)

Verbal Noun:ghati (act of giving), ghatja (donation)

------------------


Root Verb:GIE (he came)

Imperative:ejja (come) (sing)
ejjew (come) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) nigi (I come)
(int) tigi (you come)
(hu) jigi (he comes)
(hi) tigi (she comes)
(ahna) nigu (we come)
(intom) tigu (you come)
                        (huma) jigu (they come)

Perfect:(jien) gejt (I came)
(int) gejt (you came)
(hu) gie (he came)
(hi) giet (she came)
(ahna) gejna (we came)
(intom) gejtu (you came)
(huma) gew (they came)

Past Participle:none

Verbal Noun:migja (arrival)

-------------------


Root Verb:QAL (he said)

Imperative:ghid (say) (sing)
ghidu (say) (plur)

Present-Future:(jien) nghid
(int) tghid
(hu) jghid
(hi) tghid
(ahna) nghidu
(intom) tghidu
(huma) jghidu

Perfect:(jien) ghidt
(int) ghidt
(hu) qal
(hi) qalet
(ahna) ghidna
(intom) ghidtu
(huma) qalu

Past Participle:none

Verbal Noun:ghajdut (act of saying)

THE VERB WITH PRONOMINAL SUFFIXES

DIRECT OBJECT PRONOUNS


SingularPlural

-ni  (me)-na  (us)
-k, -ok, -ek  (you)-kom  (you)
-h, -u  (him)-hom  (them)
-ha  (her)

habbni (he loved me)ittajpjahom (type them)
talabha (he begged her)insietkom (she forgot you)
uriha (show her)urina (show us)
ibierkek (he blesses you)nammirakom (I admire you)
hallieha (he left her)geghilhom (he compelled them)
halliha (leave her)hallina (leave us)
nsewh (they forgot him)bazzaghna (he frightened us)
toboghdu (she hates him)hadhom (he took them)

INDIRECT OBJECT PRONOUNS


SingularPlural

-li  (to me)-lna  (to us)
-lek  (to you)-lkom  (to you)
-lu  (to him) -lhom  (to them)
-lha  (to her)

kitbitli (she wrote to me)imlielna (he filled for us)
bghattlek (I sent to you)qalilhom (he said to them)
gabilha (he brought to her)bghattilkom (I sent to you)
cempillu (call him)iktbulna (write to us)
itfaghlha (throw to her)aqralhom (read to them)
ghidtlek (I told you)ibaghtulna (send to us)
geddidli (renew for me)garrejnilkom (we carried for you)
iktbilha (write to her)ncemplilhom (I shall call them)

COMBINED DIRECT AND INDIRECT PRONOUN OBJECTS

Note that direct pronoun object "-ha" changes to "-hie" when an indirect pronoun object is appended to it. Similarly, the direct pronoun object "-u" changes to "-hu" when it is followed by an indirect pronoun object.

gabhulhom (he brought it/him to them)
kitbuhielna (they wrote it to/for us)
ibghatuhuli (send it/him to me)
urihielu (show it/her to hm)
aghmluhielna (do it for us)
tibghathomlna (you will send them to us)
hallihielhom (leave it for them)
islifhomli (lend them to me)
iktbuhulhom (write it to/for them)
        kissruhomlkom (they smashed them for you)

THE NEGATIVE

The negative "not" in a statement is translated in Maltese by the particle "ma" ("m" before a vowel, "h" or "gh") used before a verb in the present or perfect, to which is appended the particle "x" (short for xejn = nothing).

A verb ending in  "a"  changes the vowel to  "iex"  in the negative.

AffirmativeNegative

kielma kielx  (he didnt eat)
hijamhijiex  (she isnt)
ghandimghandix  (I dont have)
dhaltma dhaltx  (I didnt go in)
kitbitluma kitbitlux  (she didnt write to him)
gabhulima gabhulix  (he didnt bring it to me)
        heddedmheddidx  (he didnt threaten)

Following is the conjugation of the verbs to be  and to have  in the
affirmative and negative forms in the Present tense.

Singular:jiena    I amminiexI am not
inti   you aremintixyou are not
huwa   he ismhuwiexhe is not
hija       she ismhijiexshe is not

Plural:ahna      we aremahniexwe are not
intom     you aremintomxyou are not
                huma     they aremhumiexthey are not



Singular:ghandiI havemghandix  I dont have
ghandekyou havemghandekx you dont have
ghanduhe hasmghandux  he doesnt have
                ghandhashe hasmghandhiex  she doesnt have

Plural:ghandnawe havemghandniex  we dont have
ghandkom you havemghandkomx you dont have
                ghandhom they havemghandhomx  they dont have

THE CONDITIONAL

In Maltese the conditional (expressed in English by would / should + verb) is conveyed by "kieku" (if) or "jekk" (if) followed by the Perfect or Present forms of the verb.

The conditional is used to express:

a) what would occur under certain present or future conditions.

Jekk titbissmilha, tkellmek.
(If you smile at her, she would speak to you).

Kieku nirbah il-lotterija, nixtri villa.
(If I win the lottery, I would buy a villa).


b) what would have occurred if certain conditions had taken place.

Kieku stidintna, konna nigu.
(If you had invited us, we would have come).

Il-partit ma kienx jirbah kieku ma kellux lider qawwi.
(The party wouldnt have won had it not a strong leader).


THE FUTURE TENSE


The conjugation of the verbs "to be" and "to have" is as follows:

(jien) inkun  (I shall be)(jien) ikolli  (I shall have)
(int) tkun  (you will be)(int) ikollok  (you will have)
(hu) jkun  (he will be)(hu) jkollu  (he will have)
(hi) tkun  (she will be)(hi) jkollha  (she will have)

(ahna) nkunu  (we shall be)(ahna) jkollna  (we shall have)
(intom) tkunu  (you will be)(intom) ikollkom  (you will have)
(huma) jkunu  (they will be)(huma) jkollhom  (they will have)
In Maltese, the Present tense conveys also the future. There are various particles and verbs which can combine with the Present Tense to express different nuances to a future idea.


a)   "Ser", abbreviated for "sejjer" (m), "sejra" (f), "sejrin"
     (pl) going, expresses an action that is going to take place.

Il-gimgha d-diehla sejrin niccelebraw l-anniversarju 
taghna.
(Next week we are going to celebrate our anniversary.)

Xser taghmel il-lejla?
(What will you be doing this evening?)

b)   "Ghad" expresses a future action, event or situation which
     may take place.

Ghad jigi zmien meta jiddispjacik.
(A time will come when you will be sorry.)

Ma niskantax jekk ghad taghmel il-borra.
(I wont be surprised if it may still snow.)

c)   "Ha" indicates a deliberate future action.

Iddecidew li ha jahdmu flimkien.
(They decided they will be working together.)

Ghada ha nara t-tabib tieghi.
(Tomorrow Im going to see my doctor.)


d)   The verb "ikollu" etc.  followed by a conjugated verb in the
             Present expresses an idea of obligation.

Ikollna nirrisolvu din il-krizi.
(We will have to resolve this crisis.)

Ser ikolli nixtri karozza ohra.
(Im going to have to buy another car.)

e)   The verb "ikun" etc. followed by a conjugated verb in the
     Present expresses an action expected to take place
     concurrently with an another action.

Meta tigi nkun nahdem fuq il-kompjuter.
(I'll be working on the computer when you come.)

Liema belt se tkunu zzuru meta ahna nkunu Parigi?
(Which city will you be visiting when we're in Paris?)

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(BASIC MALTESE GRAMMAR, Copyright © Grazio Falzon, South Bend, Indiana, USA, 1997)

 

 

 

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