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Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help: IPA.An early manuscript dictionary, Dizionario Italiano e Maltese, was discovered in the Biblioteca Vallicelliana in Rome in the 1980s, together with a grammar, the Regole per la Lingua Maltese, attributed to a French Knight named Thezan.Indeed, nowadays 520,000 people across the world speak Maltese, while Malta has a population of only 445,426 people, which means that the remaining figure of 76,574 people can be attributed to the Maltese diaspora.Gemination is distinctive word-medially and word-finally in Maltese.The distinction is most rigid intervocalically after a stressed vowel.The first written reference to the Maltese language is in a will of 1436, where it is called lingua maltensi.The oldest known document in Maltese is "Il Cantilena" (Xidew il-Qada) by Pietru Caxaro. A list of Maltese words was included in both the Thesaurus Polyglottus (1603) and Propugnaculum Europae (1606) of Hieronymus Megiser, who had visited Malta in 1588–89; Domenico Magri gave the etymologies of some Maltese words in his Hierolexicon, sive sacrum dictionarium (1677).

Voicing is carried over from the last segment in obstruent clusters; thus, two- and three-obstruent clusters are either voiceless or voiced throughout, e.g.

These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.

L-Unjoni hija mibnija fuq il-valuri ta' rispett għad-dinjità tal-bniedem, ta' libertà, ta' demokrazija, ta' ugwaljanza, ta' l-istat tad-dritt u tar-rispett għad-drittijiet tal-bniedem, inklużi d-drittijiet ta' persuni li jagħmlu parti minn minoranzi.

Stressed, word-final closed syllables with short vowels end in a long consonant, and those with a long vowel in a single consonant; the only exception is where historic Stress is generally on the penultimate syllable, unless some other syllable is heavy (has a long vowel or final consonant), or unless a stress-shifting suffix is added.

(Suffixes marking gender, possession, and verbal plurals do not cause the stress to shift.) When two syllables are equally heavy, the penultimate takes the stress, but otherwise the heavier syllable does, e.g.

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