Why Duolingo should have a Maltese Course
As you may know, I have recently been doing a lot of campaigning for a Maltese course on Duolingo. You can see all of my posts and a list of course applicants here.
So why should there be a Maltese course?
Now I'm going to say why I think we should have it...
Why is it interesting?
Maltese is the only Semitic language in the European Union.
Maltese is the only Semitic language that is written in the Latin script.
It is the only living descendant of the Siculo-Arabic dialect spoken by Arabs who settled in Sicily.
It has a unique sound due to the combination of very different influences.
Why is it useful?
Maltese is heavily Arabic based, but made easier because of Italian and English influences, in addition to the fact that it is in a familiar alphabet.
Maltese speakers have told me that they can properly communicate with Arabic speakers.
Malta is a very popular tourist destination, and they absolutely love it when a tourist speaks to them in Maltese.
Any other reasons?
I'm sure many Duolingoers would like to eventually have all the official EU languages on Duolingo, and Maltese would be one step further.
Maltese is a beautiful sounding language.
While Maltese has substantially more speakers than Irish and Esperanto (over 418,000), it is still a very small language, and English is overused in Malta. One of the aims of the Incubator is, of course, to help bring back and popularise small and endangered languages.
So as always...<h1>Learn Maltese!!!</h1>
I have a friend who speaks Maltese, he had to learn it because he was working for IBM, helping to build a Maltese interface. He actually lived on Malta for a year and really enjoyed it! I would love this course! It sounds very interesting, especially because of the mixture of different words (created by a mixture of cultures). Thank you for posting these wonderful facts, and thank you for your persistence in whipping up enthusiasm for a Maltese course!
I'm Maltese, my New Zealander partner would like to learn my langue and a lot of my friends are interested too! Maltese is such a beautiful langue with so much history behind it, please make a course! I feel like Malta never gets much notice, its unfair. There's a course in Klingon & Valyrian! Why not Maltese!?
Malta is a the hidden gem of the Mediterranean. I just commented under Duolingo's official twitter asking the same questions as you! I found a discussion post on here from 2016 from the cultural assistant of Malta saying he emailed Duolingo HQ about meeting with the then president but he was ignored.
I'd be tempted to have a look in on Maltese were it to come out on Duolingo, so I look forward to any progress with applications.
I also heard that Maltese possibly has a relation to Punic, the lost language of ancient Carthage. And it has that cool Semitic consonantal root system, apparently, too!
Maltese is the only descendant of the Siculo-Arabic language spoken in Sicily - and, of course, in Malta - between the IX and XII century. It was the language of very important personalities of that time, the poet Muhammad Ibn Hamdis and the leader Jawhar al-Siqilli (who founded Cairo in Egypt), among them. So, as I'm Sicilian myself, I'd like to see a Maltese course here... but I'd still learn Standard Arabic first :P
Here is a sample of spoken Maltese, for the curious :)
Dear StrapsOption ,
I just stumbled across you post arguing in favor of a Maltese course on Duolingo.
I deeply love Malta and am facilitated by the unique language spoken there. There are so many aspects of the language that would make it worthwhile to learn it, not least because of the wonderful Maltese people. I’d really love to see such a course here and would most definitely enroll.
Let's push this forward.
We are a Maltese/Australian family living in Australia and we visit Malta frequently. It would be so good is my children and I could speak Maltese with my husband and our Maltese friends. We are all extremely keen and already learn other languages on Duolingo. Please keep this campaign going!
Additional notes from someone living in Malta:
Maltese is dying. More and more children are taught only English.
There are next to no Maltese resources online. There are no good dictionaries and no formal courses whatsoever.
There are very few local courses of Maltese for foreigners. Since the topic is also perceived as new, these courses are also too focused on grammar and too little on communication (teachers are used to teaching formal grammar to Maltese students, not to foreigners who don't know a word of Maltese).
Maltese people in majority don't know how to properly write in Maltese. Their spelling is horrid in most cases (I'd say more than 90%) so a formal written course on Duolingo would be useful also to the Maltese population.
Until Duolingo wakes up and realizes why this is very important, here's something associated with their competition, Memrise. You can make your own courses on Memrise Decks, so I made one based on the materials from my formal Maltese for Foreigners Level 1 course:
Sorry, since I am Maltese I got somewhat offended by what you wrote, so here I go: 1. Maltese is not dying. All children are taught Maltese at schools. 2. There are several good dictionaries; just to mention some: ta' Dun Karm; ta' Aqiolina; il-Kalepin ta' Busuttil; ta' Diacono and what about Il-Miklem ta' Seraccino-Inglott. 3. It depends on which course you opted for. 4. Sorry, 90% can write Maltese properly, maybe 10% cannot; that's normal for all languages in any country!
I'm sorry if you felt offended, unfortunately, not everything you wrote is true :(.
Maltese is, unfortunately, in decline. There is a rising number of immigrants who do not even wish to learn it and there is a rising number of locals who opt to speak English instead, for example, many residents of Sliema and St. Julians. While Maltese is taught in public schools, not all children go to public schools.
All the dictionaries you mentioned are physical dictionaries while this post referred to online resources which was clearly stated... There is not a single online dictionary. Book dictionaries are not as easy to use everyday as online dictionaries. I am forced to use very limited (and full of errors) Ġabra, which is the best resource, along with Google Translate, which works... well I don't need to say how it works I reckon.
That is not true. I extensively researched all formal course options for nearly a year. The only formal MQF1/MQF2 courses for foreigners are in LifeLong Learning (where I took them) and at the University. In both cases, the courses are 90% dedicated to grammar and ortography. I have MQF2 in Maltese with honors (A+ mark in both courses) and I can't understand when people talk to me on the street. Imma nista' nikteb aħjar minn ħafna l-populazzjoni u naf kollox dwar il-grammatika Maltija.
That is also not true. Among my friends, most of whom are Maltese nowadays, many admit that they cannot write good Maltese at all. Only three people (all three of them are teachers/LLC) that I know can actually write without errors. Also, it's enough to go online and, for example, read the comments on articles published online to see that maybe 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 of those comments is correct in terms of grammar and spelling. The opinion that most Maltese cannot write in Maltese is shared by every single one of my Maltese friends that I talked about it with (I'd say at least 20 people or more).
Dik idea tajba! Huwa tajjeb li tara Duolingo jappoġġja lingwi fil-periklu.
Thanks to Google Translate, I can say that. It's Maltese for That's a good idea! It is good to see Duolingo supports endangered languages.
Thank you for the lessons and links to more info provided here, really handy! I would definitely do the Maltese course if there was one on duolingo. I go there on holiday every year, sometimes twice a year because we love it there. Thats 30 times now. I’d love to be able to understand when my Maltese and Gozitan friends are talking to one another and join in in their language. I’m always asking them to tell me what words mean. I’d definitely take the course if it was in here, and recommend it to to my family and friends who I take with me. I come on here every so often to check if theres a course yet.