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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2022

The lexical ta’ construction

From the book Maltese

  • Ray Fabri


Fabri (2009) tentatively identifies a number of potential candidates for compound constructions in Maltese. One such candidate, mentioned but not analyzed in Fabri (2009), is the ta’ compound with examples such as tal-laħam ‘the butcher’ and tal-ħobż ‘the bread baker/seller’ (literally ‘of the meat’, ‘of the bread’), which involve the combination of the preposition ta’ ‘of’ with a definite noun. This paper attempts to characterize this construction in terms of its morphosyntactic and semantic (referential) properties. Various types of ta’ constructions are listed and categorized, and the expression tal-laħam ‘the butcher’ is taken as a typical example of the lexical ta’ construction, and explored in great detail. This analysis should serve as a basis for the analysis of other such ta’ expressions.

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