Maltese has a reputation for having a difficult language to learn as a foreigner – especially one who lives and works in an English-speaking environment. But as new year approaches, people take up all kinds of challenges upon themselves. We asked foreigners living in Malta whether learning Maltese will be one of their new year’s resolutions this year, and if so, how they are planning to go about it. Would they sign up for the immensely popular lifelong learning evening courses? Find a tutor for Skype sessions? Just practise on the street?
“My boyfriend is Maltese and the family often switch to Maltese during the conversation. My colleagues barely speak in English in the office, but my boyfriend is the main reason, not my colleagues,” says Sarolta Sebes from Hungary. Having lived in Malta for eight months only, the payroll expert, a speaker of Europe’s another notoriously difficult language, is searching for a teacher on Facebook. “There is a Facebook group, Learning the Maltese Language and dialects, I will post there. I would like to find someone with experience who is able to explain the grammar,” she hopes.
Marian Belsten took a more classical approach and sat down with Maltese grammar books: “Charles Daniel Saliba’s books, Maltese Grammar Essentials, helped me too. Now using his books Aċċess and Suċċessinu 1 and 2.”
Brian Taylor is another expat who says iva to the challenge. Ten months on the rock, the Canadian is using books and web resources – “Along with a really cool grocer and butcher who like to help me out,” he adds.
Kerry Lou’ is also using a mixed approach: “I got 1:1 lessons with teacher in Gozo & surface app has good easy to follow Maltese lessons,” she advises. Meanwhile, Corine Coenraads from the Netherlands has tried out the subsidised evening courses: “Very nice! A lot of information to take in after a full workday though…”
Let’s wish them persistence – it’s a meaningful new year’s resolution, mhux hekk?
Further reading: Being a Foreigner in Malta