An Afro-Asiatic language and a member of the Semitic group (Arabic branch), spoken by c. 360,000 (1995) people mainly in the island of Malta, where it is an official language (together with English), and by a number of people in Italy and a few other countries, such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Tunisia and UK.

The Arabs conquered Malta in the late 9th century and brought with them a form of Arabic similar to that spoken in Algeria and Tunis. The Roman influence on Maltese dates from the late 11th century and it was brought by the Normans from Sicily. The first written documents in Maltese date from the 17th century.

Maltese has borrowed heavily from Italian. It is the only Semitic language spelt in the Roman alphabet. It was devised by the Maltese Writers' Union in the 1920s.

CLASSIFICATION = Afro-Asiatic family, SCRIPT = Roman
Beginning Maltese 3rd ed. MLT CBEG 1(PACK)
Merhba Bik MLT CBEG 2
Kelmet il-Malti (ir-raba' edizzjoni) MLT DICO 1