Maltese: The only Semitic language in Europe

Maltese is a unique language that originated from Medieval Arabic. It then evolved independently while being heavily influenced by Italian, French, and English. It is the only official language of the European Union that belongs to the Semitic language family.


3 interesting facts about the Maltese language

Maltese is significantly similar to the Phoenician language, which was once spoken in the ancient Mediterranean region.
Maltese was influenced by the French language which is evident in words such “asqasim” (chemise shirt) and “ingravatta” (cravat tie).
In Maltese, the article “il” is simplified to “l” before or after a vowel in, for example, “il-missier” (the father) and “l-omm” (the mother).

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Origin of the language

The Maltese language originated in the Emirate of Sicily, but the expulsion of Muslims and the Norman conquest isolated Maltese from other Arabic languages. As a result, Maltese uses the Latin script despite its Siculo-Arabic origin. Roughly one-third of Maltese vocabulary is based on Arabic, while the remainder has been influenced by Italian, Sicilian, and English.


History of the language

The first recorded mention of the Maltese language came in a will dated 1436. The oldest known document in the language is “Il-Kantilena” from the 15th century. The first Maltese language dictionary was the “Maltese-Italiano” which was published in the 16th century but has since been lost.
The language itself has six dialects: Gozo, Port Maltese, Rural Central Maltese, Rural East Maltese, Rural West Maltese, and Zurriq. It was standardized in the late 18th century, and, in 1934, the language became the official language of Malta.

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Learning the language

It takes about 50 hours to learn Maltese as an English speaker.

How to say 10 popular words and phrases in the Maltese language

As a unique language with a Semitic background, Maltese could be challenging for native English speakers. You can, however, quickly learn words and phrases such as “I love you” and “welcome” in the Maltese language. If you need content writing in Maltese, you might need a professional to help you out!

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fun facts

Fun facts about the Maltese language

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Unique letters

Maltese has 6 unique letters, and each is pronounced differently. These are Ċ, Ġ, GĦ, Ħ, IE, and Ż.


Oldest known document

The oldest known document in Maltese is “Il Kantilena,” a poem from the 15th century. It was written in Medieval Maltese by the Notary Pietru Caxaro. Interestingly, the document was first discovered in 1966.

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Presence of two patterns

Some aspects of Maltese grammar exhibit two patterns: a Semitic and a Romance pattern.


Word Of Wisdom!

Poetry should only aim to reach the heart of the heart of man, and even if it arrives at just once, then poetry would have reached its climax.

Rużar Briffa

Poet and dermatologist


Word Of Wisdom!

And they bypass the poet’s silent burial place without ever looking.

Dun Karm Psaila



Word Of Wisdom!

It’s a visual world, and people respond to visuals.

Joe Sacco

Cartoonist and journalist

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