ILSIENNA I (Einzelpreis)
With this first issue of ILSIENNA – Our Language, Maltese linguistics has acquired a brand-new forum. ILSIENNA, modestly termed Working Papers on the title page, is the official journal of l-GHaqda Internazzjonali tal-Lingwistika Maltija (GHILM) theInternational Association of Maltese Linguistics, founded in Bremen on 19 October, 2007, on the occasion of the 1st International Conference of Maltese Linguistics at the University of Bremen (18–20 October, 2007). During the inauguration ceremony of GHILM, it was decided that the new association should have its own journal in order to provide students of Maltese an opportunity to publish their scholarly papers on Maltese and the linguistic landscape of Malta in a periodical that not only dedicates itself to the cause of Maltese linguistics but also addresses an international audience of diverse theoretical and methodological convictions without presupposing that the reader of ILSIENNA is well-versed in traditional Oriental Philology. The new journal is meant to mark the emancipation of Maltese Linguistics from Oriental Studies, in the framework of which Maltese topics used to occupy a marginal position, if at all. We are convinced, however, that Maltese is linguistically too rich a language to be confined to the also-ran within a huge philological discipline whose canonical subjects hardly leave space for a language like Maltese. The talks given on the occasion of the 1st International Conference of Maltese Linguistics demonstrate amply how fascinating the detailed study of Maltese can also be for the general linguist, phonetician or phonologist, syntactician, typologist, language historian or language-contact researcher and many others. At the same time, we have learned how much still needs to be done before Maltese can be declared a satisfactorily described language. There are so many phenomena in spoken and written Maltese which urgently require our attention. Thus, right from the start, it has been clear that the publication of the proceedings of the 1st International Conference of Maltese Linguistics (COMRIE et al. 2009) is only the first step towards uncovering the potential of Maltese as the object of our scholarly interest. Accordingly, the 2nd International Conference of Maltese Linguistics, scheduled for 19–21 September, 2009 (again at the University of Bremen), focuses on issues of change and variation in Maltese. Moreover, the four articles included in this first issue of ILSIENNA cover a wide range of topics, none of which is in the centre of interest of the above two conferences. This shows that there is no shortage of interesting subject matter in the realm of Maltese Linguistics. Each future issue of ILSIENNA will start with an articles section with a minimum of three and a maximum of six
scholarly articles addressing issues from all areas of our discipline from phonetics/phonology via sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics to etymology and the history of Maltese Linguistics. In this issue, RAY FABRI provides the opener with his treatment of stem allomorphy in the Maltese verb. This morphological study is followed by JOE FELICE PACE’s study of the history of the Maltese digraph and its phonological correlate, i.e. the author looks at the phenomenon from two perspectives, orthographical and phonological. MICHAEL SPAGNOL gives an account of the two types of aspectual distinctions in the verbal system of Maltese as he distinguishes lexical aspect from grammatical aspect. In this study which has grown out of the author’s outstanding M.A. thesis, issues of semantics and grammatical categories are addressed. The final paper is a joint study by THOMAS STOLZ, NATALIYA LEVKOVYCH and BARBARA DEWEIN comparing reduplicative stemformations like paqpaq ‘to hoot’ with similar patterns found in a genetically, typologically and geographically unrelated language, Chamorro (an Austronesian language), in order to draw general (and tentatively crosslinguistic) conclusions as to the phonological and semantic regularities of this kind of stem-formation. It is planned that the articles section will be regularly followed by Kelmtejn bil-Malti, a column of variable size, dedicated to current and hotly debated issues of Maltese written in Maltese. Since ILSIENNA aims at reaching as broad an audience as possible, it was decided that the primary language of publication should be English. However, as the official journal of GHILM, ILSIENNA must reserve some space for Maltese on a regular basis. The articles may be accompanied by a short abstract in Maltese (in addition to the compulsory abstract in English). However, this was felt to be too little prominence for the language we study and thus Kelmtejn bil-Malti is a far more adequate category for Maltese to come to the fore. In this issue of ILSIENNA, MANWEL MIFSUD, the president of Il-Kunsill tal-Ilsian Malti, expresses his opinion on the situation of Maltese in the past and its prospects in the future. The final section in this issue of ILSIENNA is the reviews section (edited by JOSEPH H. BRINCAT). There are six reviews – a number which proves that Maltese issues come up more often than one might expect. We hope that the first issue of ILSIENNA convinces the interested public of the necessity to investigate what Maltese has on offer for the linguistic community world-wide. Furthermore, we also hope that the quality of the articles, Kelmtejn bil-Malti and the reviews induces many more linguists to contribute to the journal with their own original work or with reviews of publications with a bearing on Maltese matters. Of course, we also expect to welcome many more members of GHILM who want to become part of the international network of students of Maltese.