Hello,

I'm studying English and I'm especially interested in the linguistic situation of Malta. Can we find any linguistic differences between British English and the English spoken in Malta? If so, what kind of differences, exactly? I mean, can we find, for instance, differences in pronunciation, vocabulary or even syntax? I'd really appreciate it if someone who lives or has ever been there could give me some examples or tell me his opinion.

What I wonder is: we talk about British, Irish, or Australian English, but can we also talk about Maltese English?

Thanks in advance!
English is one of the two official languages spoken in Malta. The accent is different as with the Australian American etc. Look at the different local accents in each of those.countries. I taught in England for many years and certainly found no great difference to the English spoken in Malta bar the accent which is certainly not as harsh as some found in parts of England and America.Some of my students say it is easier to understand the English spoken in Malta as they find it very difficult to understand some Americans as indeed I must admit I do.But then one could say the same of many accents.Remember the vast number who speak Britsh English all over the world.
So, we can say that differences just appear at pronunciation level. And have your students or you, personally, ever found any expressions, vocabulary or structures which are typical in "Maltese English"?. Thanks for your help!!
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I'm studying linguistics and this term we've been discussing English varieties around the world. ranging from inner circle ones, to outer circle ones and further out to expanded circle ones. In our books, we have many varieties of English from small countries listed as official varieties of English and we've also listened to recordings from people speaking these varieties recording a story in their accent for us students to compare. It's very interesting to hear the differences in pronounciation and also in cases where there are slight grammar differences. But I find it strange how my study book does not mention Maltese English as a variety in its own right, seeing as English has official status in the country. It's got me curious as to how their English is pronounced there - is it rhotic or non rhotic (probably the latter, as mentioned in above posts that it's probably leaning towards British English), and what are the l's like? In our book, we use the story "Comma gets a cure" as a reference to words with certain sounds that are pronounced slightly differently in each variety. I wonder what the lexical set using these words best represtents English in Malta?

Sorry if this post came out a bit long but I'm very interested in this particular topic and I'm glad it was brought up as a topic here. Thanks in advance for any more light shed on this. Emotion: smile
Hellooo All
I lived in Malta between 1980-1984 and went to school there. Maltese English is just an accent, Maltese have a heavy Mediterranean and Arabic accent when they speak, so did I. But this could change in time. Today my English does not sound the way it was when I was there.
There are no special structures in Maltese English but may be some colloquial expressions used during communication.
the use "taaa!" very much meaning "right?"
they use "uugggsshhh" meaning "is it not"
if they want to mean something negative they use physical expressions like brushing the chin-neck line with their fist followed by their fingers.
so and so ...
hope this will be helpful.

Maltese English is definitely closer to British English, and is also definitely a separate dialect entirely.

Some examples:

  • Like Canadians and the rest of the Commonwealth, Maltese English generally follow the British spellings: colour/neighbourhood/favourite etc, whereas Americans will spell those without the U: color/neighborhood/favorite.the storage area at the back of a car is called a boot in Malta, like in the UK (this is called a trunk in the US).
  • the bin is called a trash can in the US. to dispose of trash: mixed waste (EU) / rubbish (UK) / garbage (US) I've heard locals use just a Maltese word, żibel, which means trash I think (or trashed/intoxicated; I've also heard it to refer to drunkenness) but I've also heard it in verb form: "do you want me to bin that for you?" in the US it would be, "do you want me to toss that for you? or "would you like me to throw this out for you?"
  • Americans don't use the word queue for a line of people, and hate waiting in general (for us, queue is mostly used for documents that have been sent from a computer to be printed really). Brits will queue for hours in the pouring rain. Maltese will use the word queue to mean a line of people, but I have yet to see anyone use one.
  • When Maltese people answer the question "where are you from?" some will say "I am a Maltese" or "I am a Gozitan"
  • some of the bits and pieces of basic Maltese I have picked up are very similar to Turkish words, in pronunciation but not always in spelling. the words for "welcome," "good," "bad," Maltese spelling is very difficult for me, even when the pronunciation isn't. ex. Maltese mhux is a negative, like the English not. To pronounce it reasonably okay, I say the English "mush."
  • Likewise, when I hear a Maltese accent (or Gozitan, which is a bit thicker) it sounds more like someone Turkish who is fluent in English, other than the vocabulary I mentioned largely coming from British English rather than American (which is common among Turks). It does not sound like someone Greek who is fluent in English, or someone Italian or Sicilian who is fluent in English, for the most part.
  • If you asked someone what their nationality is in Malta, they would tell you "I am a Maltese." Demonyms ending in -ese usually have a "zero article" in English when used as a noun. So "I am a Chinese" or "I am a Japanese" or "I am a Maltese" would be grammatically wrong under this rule. But there are so many native speakers in Malta, and like I said, it's a different dialect, so if you are a Maltese in Malta, you are a Maltese. (I am a prescriptivist, so not always the best quality for an ESL teacher). But the article there doesn't make the meaning unclear in any way.

Most, if not all, of the European ones aren't used as adjectives in English either (let's not unpack the historical significance of this). EX. it would also be incorrect to say "I am a French," "I am a Spanish," "I am a British," "I am an English," I am a Welsh," "I am a Scottish" or "I am a Finnish" or "I am a Swedish" too: https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/149736/is-there-a-rule-for-when-a-demonym-can-be-used-as-a-noun-and-an-adjective https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_adjectival_and_demonymic_forms_for_countries_and_nations

I hope this helps!

I am an American living in Malta (on rural Gozo) now, and I'm also a professionally certified ESL teacher. I've taught American English in Istanbul and EU Standard in Thuringia (Germany, former DDR/East). Living in Istanbul and later Berlin, I've been surrounded by many friends and colleagues and students who have different native languages, and different English accents... or in the case of my colleagues and friends especially, different dialects of native English.

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