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Some phonological changes in Maltese reflected in onomastics

Publication: Bucharest Working Papers in Linguistics, XIV (2)
Publisher:Universitatea din București
Abstract:The present paper evaluates the onomastic evidence for some of the changes affecting consonants in the history of Maltese. The analysis is based on a rich corpus of surnames, nicknames and place-names recorded between early 15th century and late 18th century. Onomastics is shown to offer valuable insights into the gradual emergence of the system of consonantal phonemes of Modern Maltese and of some of its specific phonological rules. It is also shown that evidence from onomastics disconfirms previous claims regarding the chronology of some of the changes affecting the consonants of Maltese.
Key words:Maltese, surnames, nicknames, place-names, historical phonology

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