Daħla

X’inhu d-djalett?

Id-djalett hu varjetà tal-lingwa marbuta ma’ reġjun partikolari. Fil-gżejjer Maltin insibu għadd ta’ djaletti bħall-Mosti, in-Naduri, iż-Żurrieqi, is-Sannati u l-Qormi. Ħafna jfixklu d-djalett mal-aċċent. L-aċċent jirreferi għall-pronunzja, għall-kisra partikolari fit-taħdit li tagħżel komunità minn oħra. Għall-argument, il-kelma raġel biż-Żejtuni tingħad ruġel u bin-Naduri ruġul. Inkella l-kelma kollox tingħad killex Ħaż-Żebbuġ, killix Ta’ Sannat, u kullox jew kullux Marsaxlokk. Id-djalett, mill-banda l-oħra, jirreferi mhux biss għal differenzi fit-tlissin, imma wkoll għal differenzi fil-grammatika u fil-vokabolarju. Allura, il-mistoqsija tqum waħedha: hawn Malta x’għandna djaletti, jew aċċenti?

Dialect is a language variety associated with a specific region. We find a number of dialects across the Maltese Islands, such as that of Mosta, Nadur, Żurrieq, Sannat, and Qormi. Many confuse dialect with accent. Accent refers to a particular pronunciation in discourse that a community chooses over another. For instance, someone residing in Żejtun would pronounce the word raġel ‘man, husband’ as ruġel, whereas someone from Nadur would say ruġul. Another example is the word kollox ‘all, everything’, pronounced as killex in Żebbuġ, killix in Sannat, and kullox or kullux in Marsaxlokk. Dialect, on the other hand, doesn’t only refer to differences in pronunciation, but also to differences in grammar and vocabulary. This leads to an obvious question: do we have dialects or accents in Malta?

Tlissin

Aċċenti għandna żgur, għax il-kliem jitlissen differenti minn raħal għal ieħor. Pereżempju, sigħat f’xi lokalitajiet tingħad sagħat, baħar tingħad beħer, u sema tingħad seme jew aħjar semæ, għax il-vokali tat-tarf la hi a u lanqas e, iżda ħoss vokaliku ieħor li jinsab fil-Malti djalettali imma mhux fl-istandard. Id-differenzi fost id-djaletti ma nsibuhomx biss fil-vokali, imma anki fil-konsonanti. Ix-Xewkija l-q bosta jlissnuha k, bħal f’kuddiem (quddiem) jew trik (triq). Fiż-Żejtuni u x-Xlukkajr il-m xi drabi ssir b, eżempju bumli xkura (mimli xkora). F’xi djaletti l-akka ġieli tinħass: issib min jgħid daħri (dahri) u deħeb (deheb). Fid-djalett tal-Għarb u f’xi djaletti Għawdxin oħrajn saħansitra tinstema’ l-għajn, li storikament kienet ir-rgħajn. Fi kliem bħal dgħajsa, għana u xogħol l-għajn titlissen bħar-r tal-Franċiż. Ismagħha hawn.

 

We definitely have accents, as words are pronounced differently in different localities. For example, in some localities, sigħat ‘hours’ is pronounced sagħat, baħar ‘sea’ is pronounced beħer, and sema ‘sky’ is pronounced seme, or to be more precise semæ, as the last vowel is neither an a nor an e, but another vowel sound found in dialectal Maltese and not in standard Maltese. The difference among dialects is not only found in the vowels, but also in the consonants. Many residents in Xewkija pronounce q as k, such as in words like kuddiem (quddiem, ‘front’) or trik (triq, ‘street’). In dialects of Żejtun and Marsaxlokk, m sometimes becomes b, for example, bumli xkura (mimli xkora, ‘sackful’). In some dialects, the Maltese silent h is sometimes pronounced: some people say daħri (dahri, ‘my back’) and deħeb (deheb, ‘gold’). In the dialect of Għarb and some other Gozitan dialects, the Maltese silent għ (referred to as għajn, which was historically known as rgħajn), is also pronounced. In words such as dgħajsa, ‘boat’, għana, ‘folk music’ and xogħol ‘work’, the għ is pronounced like the French r. Listen to it here.  

Grammatika

Apparti dawn id-differenzi fil-pronunzja, insibu wkoll differenzi grammatikali. Ngħidu aħna, fid-djaletti Għawdxin il-plurali ta’ torta u karozza mhumiex torti u karozzi imma torot u kroroz. Il-ġens ta’ biro għall-Għawdxin hu maskili (eż. biro iswed), waqt li għall-Maltin hu femminili (eż. biro sewda). Minflok naqta’ xagħri jew naħsel xagħri, ħafna Għawdxin jużaw naqta’ x-xagħar u naħsel ix-xagħar. F’xi rħula n-negattiv ta’ huwa jiġi mihux (mhuwiex) u n-negattiv ta’ huma jiġi mihomx (mhumiex). In-naħa ta’ fuq ta’ Malta, fost l-oħrajn, il-Mosta, il-Manikata, il-Mellieħa, u Għawdex il-komparattiv ta’ baxx mhux aktar/iżjed baxx iżda ibxex jew ibaxx (eż. l-għatba ibxex mill-oħra). Iż-Żurrieq, l-Imġarr u xi rħula oħrajn minflok mhux qed/qiegħed jaħdem jużaw ma qedx/qigħedx jaħdem, forma tan-negattiv li ma nsibuhiex fil-Malti standard.

 

Apart from these differences in pronunciation, there are also grammatical differences. For instance, in the Gozitan dialect, the plural form of torta ‘pie’ and karozza ‘car’ are not torti and karozzi but torot and kroroz. For Gozitans, biro is considered as masculine (e.g., biro iswed), whereas the Maltese consider this word as feminine, (e.g., biro sewda). Instead of naqta’ xagħri ‘I have my hair cut’ or naħsel xagħri ‘I wash my hair’, most Gozitans use naqta’ x-xagħar and naħsel ix-xagħar. In some villages, the negative form of huwa ‘he is’ is mihux (mhuwiex) and the negative form of huma ‘they are’ is mihomx (mhumiex). In the northern part of Malta, such as in Mosta, Manikata, and Mellieħa, to name a few, and in Gozo, the comparative form of baxx ‘low’ is not aktar/iżjed baxx but ibxex or ibaxx (e.g., l-għatba ibxex mill-oħra). In Żurrieq, Mġarr and some other villages, ma qedx/qigħedx jaħdem is used instead of mhux qed/qiegħed jaħdem ‘he’s not working’. The former is a negative form which is not found in standard Maltese.

 

Kliem differenti

Fost id-djaletti Maltin u Għawdxin insibu wkoll varjazzjoni lessikali, jiġifieri kliem differenti għall-istess oġġett jew għemil. Ngħidu aħna, f’xi rħula l-antiporta tissejjaħ boxxla. In-nannakola, ir-Rabat u Ħad-Dingli jsejħulha żajba żajbona, is-Siġġiewi semperlina, u l-Imqabba żeppellina. Terġa’, bnadi oħra jsibuha żabbettina, sebbellika jew barbazjola. In-naħa taż-Żurrieq, Ħal Safi u l-Qrendi, apparti l-interjezzjoni jaqq, tintuża wkoll ħajz, bl-istess tifsira ta’ taqżiż (eż. ħajz kemm hu ħażin l-ikel!). Din l-interjezzjoni tintuża anki Għawdex. It-tajra, dak il-ġugarell li ntajru fis-sema, iż-Żejtun u Marsaxlokk magħrufa bħala manuċċa, u f’xi lokalitajiet oħrajn tissejjaħ fjamma jew ħamiema. Id-differenzi fil-vokabolarju joħorġu l-aktar meta nqabblu t-taħdit tal-Maltin ma’ tal-Għawdxin.

Ladarba nsibu dawn id-differenzi fil-pronunzja, fil-grammatika u fil-vokabolarju, nistgħu bla tlaqliq ngħidu li, minkejja ċ-ċokon tagħhom, ħafna bliet u rħula Maltin u Għawdxin għandhom djalett partikolari li jagħżilhom mill-bqija.

Among the various Maltese and Gozitan dialects, there are also lexical variations, that is different words for the same object or action. For instance, in some villages, antiporta ‘vestibule door’ is called boxxla. The ladybird is referred to as żajba żajbona by people from Rabat and Dingli, whereas residents in Siġġiewi  and Mqabba refer to it as semperlina and żeppellina, respectively. Moreover, other localities refer to it as żabbettina, sebbellika or barbazjola. In the whereabouts of Żurrieq, Safi and Qrendi, apart from the interjection jaqq ‘yuck’, residents also use ħajz, which has the same meaning of disgust, (e.g., ħajz kemm hu ħażin l-ikel!, ‘yuck, the food is very bad!’). This interjection is also used in Gozo. The kite is known as manuċċa in Żejtun and Marsaxlokk, and fjamma or ħamiema in other localities. Such differences in vocabulary stand out more when comparing Maltese to Gozitan discourse.

Given these differences in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary, we can undoubtedly conclude that, regardless of their small size, many Maltese and Gozitan towns and villages have particular dialects that stand them apart from the rest.