What language is spoken in malta?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 3, 2024

Introduction to Malta's Linguistic Landscape

Malta, a small archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, boasts a rich and diverse linguistic heritage. Its unique position at the crossroads of European, African, and Middle Eastern civilizations has given rise to a fascinating tapestry of languages. Understanding the languages spoken in Malta requires delving into its historical, cultural, and social contexts.

Official Languages: Maltese and English

Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English.

Maltese: The National Language

Maltese, or "Malti," is the national language of Malta and is spoken by the vast majority of the population. It holds a special place in Maltese identity and culture.

Origins and Evolution:

Maltese is a Semitic language that evolved from Siculo-Arabic, which was spoken in Sicily and Malta between the 9th and 14th centuries. Over time, Maltese absorbed elements from Italian, Sicilian, and English, creating a unique linguistic blend.

Alphabet and Grammar:

Maltese is the only Semitic language written in the Latin script. The alphabet consists of 30 letters, including special characters such as għ, ċ, and ż. Its grammar rules combine Semitic structure with Romantic and Germanic influences.

Usage and Significance:

Maltese is the primary language of everyday communication, media, education, and administration. It is a symbol of national pride and a crucial element of Maltese identity.

English: A Lingua Franca

English, introduced during British colonial rule (1800-1964), is the second official language in Malta.

Role in Education and Administration:

English is widely used in education, government, and business. Many Maltese are bilingual, seamlessly switching between Maltese and English.

Global Connectivity:

English proficiency facilitates Malta's international relations, tourism, and trade. It also attracts foreign students and professionals, enhancing the island's multicultural environment.

Influence of Other Languages

Malta's historical ties to various cultures have left traces in its linguistic landscape.

Italian and Sicilian

Due to Malta's proximity to Italy, Italian and Sicilian have significantly influenced Maltese.

Historical Context:

Before British rule, Malta was under the control of the Knights of St. John, who were predominantly Italian. Italian was the language of administration and culture.

Modern-Day Presence:

While Italian is not an official language, it remains widely understood and spoken. Many Maltese people watch Italian television, and Italian is taught in schools.


The Arabic influence on Maltese is profound, given its Semitic roots.

Linguistic Impact:

Many Maltese words are derived from Arabic, especially those related to everyday life, agriculture, and commerce. The rhythm, intonation, and phonology of Maltese also reflect its Arabic heritage.

Minority and Immigrant Languages

Malta's growing expatriate community and diverse population contribute to the linguistic mosaic.

European Languages

Languages such as French, German, and Spanish are spoken by expatriates and taught in schools, enriching Malta's multilingual environment.

Languages of Migrant Communities

Malta has seen an influx of migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Languages such as Somali, Amharic, Tagalog, and Arabic are spoken within these communities, adding to Malta's linguistic diversity.

The Role of Language in Maltese Culture

Language is a cornerstone of Maltese culture, reflecting its history and social fabric.

Literature and Media

Maltese literature, both classical and contemporary, is a testament to the language's richness. Newspapers, radio, and television broadcasts in Maltese contribute to its vitality.

Festivals and Traditions

Traditional Maltese festivals, such as "Il-Festa," feature songs, poetry, and speeches in Maltese, showcasing the language's role in cultural preservation.

The Future of Language in Malta

The linguistic landscape of Malta continues to evolve, influenced by globalization, migration, and technological advancements.

Language Preservation Efforts

Efforts to preserve and promote Maltese include its inclusion in the education system, cultural initiatives, and support from organizations dedicated to linguistic heritage.

Challenges and Opportunities

Balancing the use of Maltese and English presents challenges, but also opportunities for fostering a bilingual society that values linguistic diversity.

Malta, with its dynamic interplay of languages, offers a unique lens through which to explore the complexities and beauty of linguistic evolution. The story of its languages is a testament to the power of human communication and cultural exchange.

Related Questions

What language do they speak in 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.

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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.

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Where is malta located?

Malta, a small yet historically significant archipelago in the central Mediterranean, is a gem that often piques the curiosity of travelers, historians, and geographers alike. The strategic location of Malta has made it a focal point of numerous civilizations over millennia. This article delves into the geographical, cultural, and historical aspects of Malta's location, providing a comprehensive understanding of this unique island nation.

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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.

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