The publication of the dictionary Damma tal-Kliem Kartaġiniż by Agius de Soldanis is a great acquisition for Maltese heritage. For the last 250 years, the Damma has been kept in the manuscript section of the National Library. It has been awaiting publication since 1767. The unique information it contains, which is of interest to linguists, historians, and ethnographers alike, is now accessible thanks to the transcription by Rosabelle Carabott and Joanne Trevisan, two Maltese language students. Carabott carried out most of the work in this project, including the revision and editing of the thousand page publication.
The Damma was published with the collaboration of RIDT, BPC International, Heritage Malta, Ministry for Gozo, the National Library, Akkademja tal-Malti, National Council for the Maltese Language and the Department of Maltese at the University of Malta.
Rosabelle Carabott presented a copy of the Damma to Professor Alfred J. Vella, Rector of the University of Malta.
In a short address, Dr Olvin Vella expressed his gratitude, in the name of the Department of Maltese, to all who collaborated in this project and believed in its great worth. ‘It is of great satisfaction for the Department of Maltese to honour, through this publication, Agius de Soldanis, who throughout his life published profusely works about the Maltese language and helped create awareness amongst his contemporaries.’
Rector thanked all who were involved in the completion of this work. ‘We have managed to publish the dictionary of De Soldanis. A thousand pages written 250 years ago, which are sometimes difficult to read and to follow. These pages contain archaic Maltese, documented by Agius de Soldanis before it was too late,’ Professor Vella said.
The University of Malta is committed to the promotion of the study of Maltese. At present, apart from the traditional Bachelor course, it is offering a Certificate in Maltese Proofreading and also a Diploma in Maltese Literature.