Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pronouncing Maltese Letters: The Basics

Maltese is the only Semitic language written in a Latin script, and the only Semitic language that is part of the EU. It is a mixture of Sicilian Italian and Arabic, and the Maltese accent is unlike any I've heard elsewhere. The Maltese alphabet has 30 letters, and pronouncing those letters can be tricky for non-native speakers.
I am interested in learning conversational Maltese, but given my Maltese skills so far it's a very good thing that most people in Malta speak English. After one year of living in Malta I still pronounce most Maltese words incorrectly. This results in some miscommunication and awkward situations, but mostly it just makes for a good laugh.

Here's a quick guide to pronoucing letters in Maltese words. I hope it helps you in your efforts to master the basics of this strange and lovely language.

ċ - pronounced like the "ch" in "church"
ġ - pronounced like a "j" as in "jazz"
g - pronounced like a "g" as in "good"
h - silent at the end or in the middle of a word
   - at the start of the word pronounced like "h" as in "house"
i - pronounced "ee" as in "glee"
j - pronounced like a "y" as in "yellow"
għ - silent, like in the english words plough, though, etc. 
q - glottal stop (so difficult!) a glottal stop is like pronouncing "better" without the t's, "be-er"
r - trilled
x - pronounced "sh" as in "sheep"

- Jess

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Empty House

Two weeks until we leave and our apartment is looking very empty.

They have no idea what's coming...