Speak Like a Local: Some Handy Maltese Phrases

22 August 2017

If you are planning on booking flights to Malta, then you might be wondering what language the locals speak. The Maltese population speaks English to a relatively high degree, but did you know that they also have their own language too? The bi-lingual Maltese people will be more than happy to speak to you in English. Saying that, it’s always nice to learn a few local words and phrases to slip into conversation.

The Maltese language is an interesting mixture of Arabic, Italian, and English, and it’s the only Semitic language written in Latin letters. A lot of the pronunciations have Arabic origins making them  difficult for European language speakers to master. However, the local people will always appreciate you making the effort to speak in their mother tongue. Read on the find a list of some of the most useful phrases that you should learn before coming to visit the wonderful islands of Malta!

Maltese Phrase

Phonetic Pronunciation

English Meaning

Iva

Ee-va

Yes

Le

Lay

No

Merħba

Mer-heba

Welcome

Ħello

Hello

Hello

Bonġu

Bon-ju

Good morning

Kif int?

Kiff int

How are you?

Jien tajjeb grazzi (M)

Yee-in tai-yeb, grats-ee

I’m fine, thank you

Jiena tajba grazzi (F)

Yee-ina tai-ba, grats-ee

I’m fine, thank you.

X’jismek?

Shee-yis-mek

What is your name?

Jisimni…

Yis-im-nee

My name is…

Għandi pjaċir

Aan-dee pya-cheer

Nice to meet you

Jekk jogħġbok

Yek yoh-jbok

Please

Grazzi ħafna

Grats-ee hawf-na

Thank you very much

Mhux problema

Mush prob-lay-muh

No problem (you’re welcome)

Ma nifhimx

Maa ni-fimsh

I don’t understand

Titkellem bl-Ingliz

Tit-kell-em blin-gleez

Do you speak English?

Ċaw

Chaw

Goodbye (informal)

Saħħa!

Sah-ha

Cheers!



As you can see, it can be somewhat difficult to get to grips with the language, mainly, as mentioned, because of its Arabic roots. But you can also clearly see the influences of other European languages with words such as “problema” and “bonġu”, which have phonetic similarities to Italian and English. 

Of course, with such a high level of English in Malta, no one is expecting you to be fluent before you arrive. If, however, you can drop a couple of Maltese words into a conversation with a local, then you will notice that it brings a cheerful smile and look of surprise to their face. By doing so, you’re showing the locals that you respect that they have their own distinct language and culture. Going the extra mile like this makes all the difference to the local population. 

Visiting Malta is an incredible experience and you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to fun things to see and do. Perhaps before you plan your second, third, or fourth trip, you can spend a bit more time brushing up your Maltese language skills and go beyond this list of useful phrases. 

Gawdi l-vaganza tiegħek f'Malta! (Enjoy your holidays in Malta!)

 


 


 


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