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8 August, 2012

Vowel-change patterns in the Maltese “strong” verb (sħiħ)

Academic,Research / 10:28 pm

As with the the post on vowel change patterns in hollow verbs, here is another study of vowel changes in the strong verb. Specifically, I am looking at verbs with the vowel pattern “a-a” in the mamma, i.e. rabat, talablagħab etc. Again, there are many more strong “a-a” verbs than the ones listed here, but I chose the ones which to me are most common.

English Mamma (Perf P3 Sg Masc) Root Imperative P2 Sg Vowel Pattern in Imperative
to scratch barax B-R-X obrox O-O
to forecast basar B-S-R obsor O-O
to deny ċaħad Ċ-Ħ-D iċħad I-A
to enter daħal D-Ħ-L idħol I-O
to gather ġabar Ġ-B-R iġbor I-O
to hit ħabat Ħ-B-T aħbat A-A
to escape ħarab Ħ-R-B aħrab A-A
to grab ħataf Ħ-T-F aħtaf A-A
to reach laħaq L-Ħ-Q ilħaq I-A
to play lagħab L-GĦ-B ilgħab I-A
to hit laqat L-Q-T olqot O-O
to ensnare nasab N-S-B onsob O-O
to catch qabad Q-B-D aqbad A-A
to cross qasam Q-S-M aqsam A-A
to tie rabat R-B-T orbot O-O
to sleep raqad R-Q-D orqod O-O
to warm saħan S-Ħ-N isħon I-O
to mill taħan T-Ħ-N itħan I-A
to pray talab T-L-B itlob I-O
to prune żabar Ż-B-R iżbor I-O

The following vowel-change patterns emerge:

Vowel pattern in Imperative Applicable verbs
A-A ħabat, ħarab, ħataf, qabad, qasam
I-A ċaħad, laħaq, lagħab, taħan
I-O daħal, ġabar, saħan
O-O barax, basar, laqat, nasab, rabat, raqad, talab, żabar

But unfortunately, I cannot intuitively find any syntactic pattern in the examples above; you just need to know.

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