The Malta Independent 18 July 2024, Thursday
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97% consider Maltese as their first language – survey

Thursday, 24 June 2021, 14:57 Last update: about 4 years ago

97% of adults with Maltese citizenship consider Maltese as their first language, a survey published on Thursday revealed.

The survey, which saw the participation of 1,025 people between the ages of 18 and 80, was carried out by the National Council for the Maltese Language and the Department of Maltese within the University of Malta in collaboration with the National Statistics Office.

The study found that Maltese still remains very prevalent, even when considering that a lot of communication is done in English and that 7% of the survey respondents said that they had spent over 5 years living abroad, mainly in countries which are English-speaking.

The survey identified that even though Malta is a bilingual country, the use of Maltese remains very strong even in youths – something which bodes well for the future.

The survey found that the vast majority of Maltese agreed that the government’s websites and pamphlets should be in both Maltese and English.

It also found that English was favoured over Maltese in very limited scenarios, such as the writing for a formal letter or email, the writing of a card, the use of ATMs, the reading of books, and the listening of music.

Otherwise, 75% of respondents said that they speak to their children in Maltese only (compared to 5% in English only), while 89% said that they speak with their parents in Maltese only (compared to 3% in English only).

Half of the respondents also said that they speak in Maltese only on the workplace, compared to 4% who said that they speak exclusively English.

Even from cultural perspectives: 64% of respondents said that they attend theatre productions which are only in Maltese, while 15% said that they attend those in English; while there were similar majorities in listening to the news or current affairs programmes (64%) and the radio (71%).

In fact, 80% of the respondents believe that Maltese music should be given more airtime on local radio stations.

77% also disagreed that only English should be used on public signs and notices.

Interestingly, 57% of respondents agreed that Maltese is easier to speak and understand than English is; however 55% of respondents then disagreed that Maltese is easier to read and write than English is.

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