Maltese is spoken by just some 500,000 individuals; most of them citizens of Malta and some others residing in countries like Australia, Canada, the US, Italy and the UK. Such a restriction makes it a rather insufficient resource for securing agreements with foreign individuals, and this is often the go-to complaint for those who constantly devaluate the language to compliment others that certainly enjoy more esteem, such as English and French. As part of International Mother Language Day, we thought it would be best if we were to celebrate the achievements of our very own language.
Maltese is Respected by Top Institutions
It is one of the EU’s 24 official languages, meaning that all Maltese citizens enjoy the right to access all EU documents in their national language, apart from the fact that they are able to write and receive a response in Maltese. Furthermore, their participants are able to use their mother language when taking the floor. It would however be ideal if Maltese were to be reintroduced as one of the two official languages at University. As things stand, students have got no choice but to present all assignments, and answer all examination questions in English.
It is Safeguarded by our Politicians
Way back in 2005 we have seen Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, then a Maltese Member of the European Parliament, walking out of a plenary session of the European Parliament all enraged for not being provided the services of a translator. In a Times of Malta article entitled No Malti, No Speech, Joseph Muscat insisted that Maltese should not remain an official language just on paper. Also encouraging is the fact that the then Maltese government protested against the shortcoming.
High-Quality Songs in Maltese are Reappearing
Love it or hate it, Eurovision is definitely one of the most watched and talked about television shows on the island. This year, after more than four decades, the Maltese were once again very close to sending to the Eurovision Song Contest a song thoroughly in Maltese. Kewkba, penned by Emil Calleja Bayliss and composed by Mark Scicluna, failed to make it to number one only just for some 400 votes, despite the standing ovation it got from the crowd, described in a Facebook post by Ira Losco as “the BEST ever reaction from a local Eurovision audience. Janice totally owned it.”
The Young are Active in the Field
L-Akkademja tal-Malti, the National Book Council, L-Għaqda tal-Malti – Università and the National Council for the Maltese Language have been gaining a steady momentum for years now. Best part? Many of their members are young, energetic and brimming with new, present-day ideas. Gone are the days of leaving our national language up to a perennial lack of development. L-Akkademja tal-Malti has now got a balanced executive board of young and older members; the National Book Council is constantly supporting writing and reading in Maltese, namely with its short weekly programme Xi Qrajt Dan l-Aħħar?; L-Għaqda tal-Malti has provided us with exclusive Cards in Maltese this Christmas; whilst the National Council for Maltese is working ceaselessly to bring to an end any inconsistencies and difficulties when it comes to writing, apart from the numerous resources and signage it coordinates from time to time.
The General Public is More Aware
All in all, the people are now more conscious of the need to produce high quality writing in Maltese, not just when it comes to correct spelling but also to syntax and structure. Qualified and experienced content writers, translators and proof readers are being hired by government departments, newspapers and media houses due to their influence when it comes to setting a good example of proper language writing and parlance. Not to mention the proof reading courses that are organised annually by the Department of Maltese at the University of Malta and the National Council for the Maltese Language.
Bravi. Komplu ħabirku!
© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Clifford Jo Żahra