In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges and a later meta agreement to have topic challenges lasting for two months and overlapping by one month, it is time to announce the December 2021 – January 2022 topic challenge.
Based on the number of votes (+6/-1), the first topic challenge to be active in 2022 will be
What's a topic challenge?
See the meta posts linked above, and also this main Meta post. In short, during December 2021 and January 2022 you are invited to try to get hold of any piece of literature that was originally written in the Maltese language, translated into whatever language you prefer, and ask questions about it.
Participation is not obligatory in any sense, and of course questions on other works are more than welcome during December and January too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.
How can I take part?
By getting hold of any piece of Maltese literature and asking good questions about it, or by answering questions that have been posted as part of this challange. Questions about these works should be tagged with maltese-literature, and also with an author tag and either a title/series tag (for longer works such as novels) or a tag such as poetry or short-stories (for shorter works). We'll keep a list of all such questions in an answer to this meta post.
The Maltese language is unique in the world. With only around half a million speakers worldwide, it's the only Semitic language which is an official language of a European/EU country, and the only Semitic language written in the Latin alphabet. It's similar to Arabic, but evolved independently and heavily influenced by Italian. One topic we might explore is whether the uniqueness of the language has affected its literature (e.g. do metrical feet in poetry work like those in Arabic or in Italian, or even in English?)
Due to the bilinguality of most inhabitants of Malta, there's not a long history of Maltese literature. The body of literature in this language is remarkably small and recent, especially for a European language. For this reason I'm not suggesting a particular Maltese-language work or author for the topic challenge, but rather the whole collective. Examples of Maltese literature freely available online:
- The oldest known Maltese text is Il-Kantilena, a 15th-century rhyming poem rediscovered in the 1960s.
- Two books of Maltese poetry with English translations are freely available from their author.
- I found a site which recommends some texts both of and about Maltese literature.
This is a very niche topic, so let's help to promote it!
- Vote for the next topic challenge (January–February 2022), or propose your own!