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WATCH: BBC filmmaker talks about ‘one of her favourite languages’ on TikTok: Maltese!
She explains her love for the Maltese language.

Jillian Mallia

Sophia Smith Galer, a BBC filmmaker, avid TikTok user, and lover of languages, took to the popular app to share some “cool facts about one of [her] favourite languages – Maltese!” and honestly we’re blushing.

“It’s the only language of the EU that is Semitic – the same language family as Hebrew and Arabic. However, it uses a Latin alphabet, the only Semitic language to do so.” Ghax taf int – ahna ikkumplikati  so we totes understand the confusion that rises when trying to learn the language (us locals have all been through it).

“It’s got these which are a few extra letters,” she says, demonstrating all the letters bit-tikka as we call them and the ghajn, akka and ie. “It’s a descendent of Siculo-Arabic which was a language spoken when Sicily was an Emirate so it’s kind of like this Latinised, Italianised historical Arabic.” Hallata ballata, insomma. But we guess, that’s what makes us unique!

@sophiasmithgaler

Can anyone teach me some Maltese? :) ##malta ##learnontiktok ##arabic ##العربي ##italiano

♬ Lo Fi - Arion Blue

“So depending on whether you’re a Romance language speaker of an Arabic language speaker you’ll understand different parts of Maltese. A lot of the conceptual phrases are Latin based so for example, geografikament you’ll understand to mean geographically if you speak a Romance language. But, you’re not going to understand ir-ragel qieghed fid-dar, which you might understand if you’re an Arabic speaker,” she says, apologising for her pronunciation. No apologies necessary! Totally understandable. Hit us up for some lessons (wink wink).

14th January 2021


Jillian Mallia
Written by
Jillian Mallia
A book lover, writer and globetrotter who loves exploring new places and the local gems that the Maltese Islands have to offer. An avid foodie and arts fanatic, Jillian searches the island and beyond for the perfect settings to write about.

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