What language do they speak in malta?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 3, 2024

Official Languages of Malta

Malta, an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, boasts a rich linguistic tapestry that reflects its diverse history and culture. The country has two official languages: Maltese and English.

Maltese: The National Language

Maltese (Maltese: Malti) is the national language and is spoken by virtually the entire population. It is a Semitic language with significant influences from Italian, particularly Sicilian, and English. Maltese is the only Semitic language written in the Latin alphabet, making it unique among its linguistic peers.

Historical Evolution of Maltese

The Maltese language evolved from Siculo-Arabic, a variety of Arabic that developed in Sicily and later spread to Malta during the Arab rule from 870 to 1091. Over centuries, it assimilated elements from Italian, particularly during the rule of the Knights of St. John (1530-1798), and later from English during British colonization (1800-1964).

Structure and Syntax

Though Maltese has a Semitic base, its syntax, grammar, and vocabulary have been significantly influenced by Romance and Germanic languages. For example, while the roots of many words are Arabic, the structure of sentences and the incorporation of loanwords from Italian and English make it a fascinating linguistic blend.

Modern Usage

Maltese is used in all spheres of life, from government and media to education and everyday conversation. It is a dynamic language that continues to evolve, integrating new terms and expressions as needed.

English: The Co-Official Language

English is the second official language of Malta and is widely used in business, education, and legal matters. The pervasive use of English is a legacy of British colonization, which lasted over 150 years.

English in Education

The Maltese education system is bilingual, with both Maltese and English serving as mediums of instruction. This approach ensures that students are proficient in both languages by the time they complete their schooling.

Business and Media

English is the dominant language in Malta's business sectors, particularly in tourism, finance, and information technology. Many newspapers, magazines, and television channels offer content in English, catering to both locals and expatriates.

Global Connectivity

English proficiency in Malta provides the country with a competitive edge in global markets and enhances its attractiveness as a destination for international students and businesses.

Italian: The Historical Influence

Although not an official language, Italian has historically been an important language in Malta. Before the British period, Italian was the language of administration and culture.

Italian in Media

Italian television channels are popular in Malta, and many Maltese people understand Italian to varying degrees. This exposure helps maintain the linguistic connection between Malta and Italy.

Cultural Events and Education

Italian cultural institutes in Malta offer language courses, and Italian is taught as a foreign language in many schools. Cultural events celebrating Italian heritage are also common.

Multilingualism in Malta

Malta's linguistic landscape is characterized by widespread multilingualism. Many Maltese people are fluent in Maltese, English, and Italian, and some also speak French, German, or other languages.


A fascinating aspect of Maltese multilingualism is code-switching, where speakers alternate between languages within a conversation or even a single sentence. This linguistic flexibility reflects the ease with which Maltese people navigate their multilingual environment.

Tourism and Expatriates

The tourism industry and the presence of expatriates further diversify the linguistic scene. Tourists from various countries contribute to the linguistic tapestry, and expatriates often bring their native languages into the mix, creating a vibrant, multicultural community.

Language Preservation and Promotion

Efforts to preserve and promote the Maltese language are ongoing. The Maltese government and various cultural organizations are dedicated to ensuring that Maltese remains a living, evolving language.

Academic Research and Publishing

There is a growing body of academic research on the Maltese language, covering its history, structure, and evolution. Maltese literature is also flourishing, with contemporary authors contributing to a rich literary tradition.

Language Education

Language education initiatives aim to foster pride in the Maltese language and ensure its transmission to future generations. Schools play a crucial role in this effort, incorporating Maltese language and literature into their curricula.

The linguistic landscape of Malta is a mosaic reflecting the island’s rich history and dynamic present. Maltese, with its unique blend of Semitic roots and Romance influences, stands as a testament to Malta’s cultural resilience and adaptability. English, a legacy of British rule, connects Malta to the global community, while Italian and other languages add layers of historical and cultural depth. This multilingual environment is not just a relic of the past but a living, breathing aspect of Maltese identity, one that continues to evolve and adapt in the face of modern challenges and opportunities.

Related Questions

What is malta famous for?

Malta is renowned for its rich historical tapestry that spans several millennia. The island nation is home to some of the world's oldest free-standing structures, such as the Ġgantija Temples on the island of Gozo, dating back to around 3600-3200 BC. These Neolithic temples predate even the Egyptian pyramids, serving as a testament to Malta’s ancient civilization. Furthermore, the Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni, a subterranean structure used as both a sanctuary and a necropolis, adds to the island’s historical allure.

Ask Hotbot: What is malta famous for?

Where is malta?

Malta is a small yet remarkable archipelago located in the central Mediterranean Sea. This island nation, known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and strategic location, has been a focal point of various civilizations and cultures throughout history. Below, we delve into the geographical, historical, and cultural significance of Malta, detailing its precise location and the unique attributes that make it an intriguing destination.

Ask Hotbot: Where is malta?

Where is malta on the map?

Malta is a small island nation located in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of Italy and north of Libya. It lies approximately 93 kilometers (58 miles) south of Sicily, Italy, and around 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of the North African coast. The geographical coordinates of Malta are approximately 35.9375° N latitude and 14.3754° E longitude.

Ask Hotbot: Where is malta on the map?

What to do in malta?

Malta, a stunning Mediterranean archipelago, is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty. From ancient ruins to crystal-clear waters, this small yet diverse nation offers a plethora of activities and sights for every kind of traveler. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your visit to Malta.

Ask Hotbot: What to do in malta?