Malta, a small island in the heart of the Mediterranean, is bilingual hence it has two official languages, Maltese and English. Both languages are widely spoken and understood across the island. The native language of the Maltese islands is Maltese, it typically is the spoken language used to communicate between locals.
The Maltese population, is overall proud about their native national language. Maltese is a semitic language with a strong Arabic influence. Spoken Maltese may sound to be an Arabic dialect. Maltese is a unique language that over the years was also influenced by several other languages. A foreign language that influenced the Maltese language was the Italian language. The Maltese alphabet is a bit longer than the English alphabet. Non native speakers may find Maltese challenging as Maltese grammar is very detailed and Maltese vocabulary is very extensive.
That said, the English language is known by almost all native Maltese. Although it is used less often between them, it is still spoken on a daily basis either within certain business sectors or when communicating with foreigners.
What language is spoken in Malta by locals?
That covers the official aspect of the question but it doesn’t really provide a comprehensive answer to it. So, what language is spoken in Malta by a Maltese person? Whilst Malta has two official languages, many Maltese do speak a third language as the Education system demands that students start to learn a third language at the age of 10. The most commonly known languages are Italian, French, German and Spanish.
Out of these four languages by far the most known third language is Italian. Whilst many do choose to learn Italian whilst at school, most learnt Italian thanks to Italian television channels. Before the introduction of cable TV in Malta, locals used to mainly watch Maltese and Italian television channels. Although in the last few decades English television channels have become available to the local market, many locals still watch Italian channels.
In general, Maltese are quite adventurous about learning new languages. In the last decades one of the main pillars of the Maltese economy has been tourism. Since tourism creates jobs many locals choose to learn multiple languages to progress in their careers.
What language is spoken in Malta?
To fully answer the question one must also take into consideration all the foreigners that in recent years chose to make Malta their home. To name a few, more than 10,000 Swedes and 25,000 Italians are living in Malta. Other nationalities that may widely be found around the island are Serbians, Indians, Filipinos, British and many more. This means that whilst Maltese and English are the most widely spoken languages across the island, one will definitely not find a lack of variety in spoken languages.