General InformationEdit

Old Cominese (natively, Cuminenzi) was a Romance language spoken on the small Maltese island of Comino, from which it got its name. It developed from a southern Italian branch of Vulgar Latin, and is closely related to the Romance varieties spoken on Ogygia and Malta. As its native island of Comino is very small and extremely sparsely populated, old Cominese was one of the least spoken (though not endangered) Romance languages. The language had at no time more than a mere one hundred speakers, owing to the size and poor development of the island.

Cominese shows all the traits typical of mediaeval Romance languages: it is heavily inflecting, with a complex verb morphology and a simplified nominal inflection system, especially when compared to its ancestor in Latin. Nonetheless, it still retains some case inflection and a flexibility in word order maintained by the eroding morphology.

From Southern Italian Vulgar LatinEdit

The linguistic community in the Maltese archipelago split off from the main body of Latin speakers fairly early on; continuous contact and linguistic exchange with Western Rome probably stopped in the early 4th century AD, after the Empire had been divided into two halves on either side of the Sirmium-Neapolis line in the late 3rd century, and Malta, Comino and Ogygia were left culturally fairly isolate from both the West, now geographically and politically distant, and the East, Hellenic by nature and nurture.

The dialect of Latin from which the languages of the three islands developed from was an early dialect of Southern Italian Vulgar Latin (SVL). The changes characteristic to this variant of Latin included those prevalent in the development of all Latin as a whole, and those areally restricted to both southern Italy and northern Africa.

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