The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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Language wars

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 9 May 2024, 08:00 Last update: about 18 days ago

It’s already been some time since the red lights went on and the warning bells tolled: the Maltese language is losing impetus and its usage is declining in Malta itself. Less and less people read in Maltese. Less and less children are speaking in their own language. Increasingly the language is becoming weakened and undermined by foreign expressions that get rammed into it and are converting it into a pidgin.

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If the competition about the extent to which a language is going to be spoken by the society and about how this is done, resembles a war, then it is being lost by the Maltese language. Many indicators confirm this. As when children who do not come from high society families feel lost when they have to write something in Maltese. Or like when the translations of foreign news is done so literally that it is next to impossible to understand precisely what is being reported.

Can the rot be reversed? Sure, it can. But it won’t be enough for people of goodwill to go on repeating the claim made by I forget who, that without a national language, there can hardly be a national identity. This is true. But so what?

                       

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THE ESTABLISHMENT

Possibly, a better moment or a better occasion could have been found for when to launch the debate about the establishment in this country. But the arguments raised by Prime Minister Robert Abela regarding the issue are valid.

What I found comic was the attitude adopted by a number of pundits on the topic. It was as if they had never heard about the whole subject. Yet in the past, there have been people (and I was one of them) who raised the matter and insisted how the establishment could be problematic for a democratic governance.

Yes, it is correct to say that there exists a web of people and interests  which hold themselves close to the political, economic and social power centres so that no matter who is in government, decisions are reached that stay aligned with how they envisage things. Actually the same happened twenty years ago when Malta became a full member of the EU. That same establihsment has hardly changed in the meantime!

A similar situation prevails in other places, including member states of the EU, just as much as it does in Malta.

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OLYMPIC GAMES

Locally popular enthusiasm for the Olympic Games due to be held this summer is still at a low. Not so in France when the Games will be held. There, the media began to publish stories about the ongoing preparations since quite some time back and the public is increasingly getting interested in following the arrangements being made. Clearly they will imply huge organizational efforts, not least in Paris, with regard to the use of public spaces and transport facilities. Prodded by President Macron, the authorities are straining hard to ensure that as the Games roll, France will be providing a truly spectacular and prestigious event.

                        The worst problems to arise could be security related. The Ukraine and Gaza wars trigger concerns about the likelihood of terrorist attacks at a time when security forces will already be having to carry out lots of delicate and difficult operations.

                         

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