I started collecting words mispronounced by the Maltese over a year ago, but the positive response and tips from readers keep me coming back to this topic. So brace yourselves, we’re going to delve even deeper into the abyss of the ways Maltese people mispronounce English words.
Easier to pop them than to pronounce the word
Ġjuws (juice) – wow, I really never understood this one, I guess words sound so much better with extra consonants. Still unsure on this one.
Pokporn (popcorn) – ah the consonant switch, this one’s a klessik!
BrekfAst (breakfast) – I’m just hoping this one can be blamed on the fact that the person botching this word simply hasn’t had their first coffee (or dare I say, ‘expresso’) to help them say the word properly.
JoggeRt or JowgArt (yoghurt) – such a brekfAst staple – you’d think we’d get this one right. Ah but alas…
Korslow (coleslaw) – honestly I thought this one was an eyesore. But then I came across its even worse, written variation: COW SLOW. Needless to say, I wanted to pluck my eyes out. It’s like they’re trying to make me cry!
BAffet or BUFIT (buffet) – considering we come from such a food-loving culture, you’d expects us to at least know how to say this word. But no…
Microwejn (microwave) – here we go again with the consonant massacre.
Krips (crisps) – the concept really isn’t so hard, it’s more of a crispy one (see what I did there?).
Health, ailments and hazards
Di-a-rejah (diarrhoea) – well, you know what they say about diarrhoea, some have the physical kind, others suffer from the verbal variety.
Colesterojl (cholesterol) – is this a result of the speaker’s arteries or throat being blocked?
Eks-tray (x-ray) – I mean, sure, call it a tray if you want to feel like you’re at your nearest fast food restaurant rather than a hospital room.
Luverver (revolver) – for Pete’s sake, if you must say it like that, shoot me in the ears to spare me from hearing you say it!
Daily items, gizmos and gadgets
Too many ‘gins’?
Howmerk (homework) – clearly someone never got down to doing their own.
Ġinns (jeans) – is this a distant relative of the alcoholic beverage or a piece of attire?
Kamisown (camisole) – nothing makes a woman feel more feminine and desirable than a sexy kamisown.
Lisptijk (lipstick) – did this makeup item get stuck in this persons teeth as they try saying the word? Cos it sure sounds like it’s a word someone’s accidentally spat out rather than intentionally uttered.
Xampuwn (shampoo) – is it too dramatic to want to pour it in my ears rather than on my hair, if it means I won’t hear the butchered variation?
Rowster (roster) – admittedly, whenever I heard this word I always became somewhat hungry, as one would with the mention of say, a Sunday roast. However, when I realised the actual word in the context, I was let down quite a bit.
Enemilju (aluminium) – as someone who recently renovated their home I admit: if someone had to try to sell me ‘enemilju’ apertures, I’d find it hard to keep a straight face.
Bastid (bastard) – “Imma kemm hu BASTID!” What a bastardised word methinks.
Kajboj (cowboy) – I mean, if you own a luverver and don’t know how to handle it, you can’t consider yourself a good kajboy, don’t you think?
Maxxin maxxin (washing machine) – hmm perhaps the words have been repeated for emphasis on needing such an appliance.
Teleforn (telephone) – what’s with the ‘r’, could someone please enlighten me?
Ardijejter (radiator) – now I’m no car expert, but I think this part of the car is important, and it needs to be understood by both speakers when used in a conversation. Why? Because, engine breakdown.
Spartin pluk/sparting plaks (sparking plugs/spark plugs) – I think my brain not only sparks but is on the brink of explosion when I hear this one.
Awtomatik (automatic) – well, if you’re not one to drive a MANWEL car (and no, I’m not referring to a car belonging to a certain man named Manwel), I’d go for the awtomatik one.
Kratċċ (clutch) – put it this way, you needn’t worry about the kratċċ if you decide to go for the awtomatik car.
Xokabsorben/Xikabsorbers/Xikapsofer/Xokavsober (shock absorbers) – after listening to these slaughtered variants, I feel I need a shock absorber for my brain.
Medgar (mudguard) – I wasn’t even sure if this was a word, until I actually deciphered from the context.
And for the grand finale, this article cannot be considered complete without the mention of Malta’s favourite car brands *drumrolls*
Puġu or Buġu
Can you try and guess which car manufacturers these actually are? Go on, I dare you!
Oh, and a small disclaimer to all those wet blankets out there who think I’m berating Maltese speakers: I advise you to take life with a pinch of salt. Like the two previous segments, this blog was written in a tongue-in-cheek tone and by no means aspires to give a linguistic evaluation a peer-reviewed university journal provides. So to you I say: lighten up!