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Both Maltese and English are official languages in Malta, and about 88% of the Maltese people can speak English as a second language. Various Maltese social groups switch back and forth between the two languages, or macaronically mix lexical aspects of Maltese and English while engaging in informal conversation or writing.
Recent studies have shown that code-switching is practiced by a third of the population in everyday discourse.
The most common areas where code-switching occurs is in part of the Northern Harbour District, mainly in the towns of Sliema, St. Julian's, Pembroke, Swieqi, Madliena, San Ġwann and Kappara. These areas are sometimes stereotyped as tal-pepé.
Examples of Maltenglish
|Mixed case||Give mummy a kiss.||Tiha bewsa 'il-omm.||Tiha kiss 'il-mummy.|
|In a Maltese sentence||The actor of that film took the limo to meet the director.||L-attur ta' dak il-film mar jiltaqa' mad-direttur bil-limużin.||L-actor ta' dak il-film mar jiltaqa' mad-director bil-limo.|
|In an English sentence||So tell him I'm coming now, you know, because I can't make it tomorrow||Mela għidlu li ġejja issa, ta, għax ma nistax għada.||Mela tell him I'm coming now, ta, għax I can't make it tomorrow.|
While code switching in English sentences is most predominant in the Northern Harbour District, code switching in a Maltese sentence is much more common throughout the country. This is usually because the Maltese word is not so well known or used. Examples include:
- the Maltese word for a mushroom is faqqiegħ, but most people still tend to call it a mushroom in Maltese.
- the proper Maltese word for television is televiżjoni (as derived from Italian), but most people still call it a television, for example Rajt film fuq it-television ilbieraħ (I saw a film on television yesterday).
- Lasagabaster, David; Huguet, Angel, eds. (2007). Multilingualism in European Bilingual Contexts: Language Use and Attitudes. Multilingual Matters. p. 189. ISBN 9781853599293.
- Palma, Alfred (27 November 2011). "Growing list of Manglish monstrosities". Times of Malta. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
- Brincat, Joseph M. (February 2005). "Maltese – an unusual formula". MED Magazine – Issue 27.
- Leone-Ganado, Philip (21 June 2012). "Exploring a Stereotype: Sliema Girls Say". Sunday Circle. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
- Ignasi Badia i Capdevila, "A view of the linguistic situation in Malta", Noves SL: Revista de Sociolingüística (2004)
- YouTube video on tal-pepé Maltese people with examples of Maltenglish
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