These phrases come second nature to many of us when greeting others and show that we are Maltese. Many important people make use of the Maltese language in their work and day-to-day life. President George Vella numbers among them. He has spoken about the need to care for and appreciate the Maltese language.
For this reason, the campaign ‘L-Ilsien Malti għal Qalbi’ (I Cherish the Maltese Language) was launched on 20 June 2022. It brings together all Maltese language organisations for one common purpose – to help make the Maltese language more present in our everyday lives and to see it become a language that is not spoken just by us Maltese. There are some among us who were born in a different country but have learnt Maltese too because they wish to communicate and integrate in our country. There are people studying Maltese at universities in Germany and France. And our language draws such interest that researchers from as far as the United States and China are studying its constructions. Who knows how long they spent looking for our island on the world map!
But it is not just important people or academics who should cherish Maltese. We should be proud to have our own language. This campaign is therefore going to help make the Maltese language something that unites an entire society. Maltese serves this purpose well when it comes to sign language. We hope to see subtitles more frequently on broadcast media, for the sake of the hard of hearing. Similarly, we should have audiobooks for the visually impaired. In this way we can also ensure that Maltese literature reaches a wider range of people.
Education begins at home. This campaign urges parents and grandparents to speak to their children and grandchildren in Maltese. And us children too should speak to each other in Maltese, whenever possible. If a Maltese word serves our purposes well, we should use it and not a different word from another language. When playing, we can use idiomatic expressions that are part of our identity. And rest assured, there are many, both for when you are losing and when you are winning. In this way we would be keeping our language alive, a language which adapts to the times and which above all reveals our identity.