donderdag 19 mei 2016

Maltese verbs - learn the past tense!

The Maltese past tense is a little trickier than the present tense. There are also more exceptions. But let's wait no longer and see how to form this past tense.

As a basis, you need the verb stem or mamma of a verb. For 'to work', that's ħadem. That's the third person in the past, meaning 'he worked'. You will need to study as well a second verb stem (that's not the official name). For 'to work', that's ħdim.

You can form the past like this:
Malta, paradise but also home to the Maltese language ©

Singular:
(I) = verb stem 2 + t
(you) = verb stem 2 + t
(he ) = verb stem 1
(she) = verb stem 1 + et
Plural:
(we) = verb stem 2 + na
(you) = verb stem 2 + tu
(they) = verb stem 1 + u

Now let's do the conjugation of to work in the past:

ħdimt = I worked
ħdimt = you worked
ħadem = he worked
ħadmet = she worked
ħdimna = we worked
ħdimtu = you worked
ħadmu = they worked

That's it for most of the verbs! Notice as well that if there's a consonant just behind a vowel in the mamma, the consonant eats the vowel before in the third person female and the third person plural. So ħadem + et becomes ħadmet and ħadem + u becomes ħadmu. However, this is not for verbs with one syllable.

With this in mind, you only need the 2 verb stems and you can try to form this with any verb. There's one big remark though: many, many verbs have exceptions. For example, quite a few verbs add the w instead of the u in the third person of the plural. But these are the basic rules behind the verb in the past in Maltese.

Here's more grammar in my book!
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