We’re a close-knit bunch here on this island resort we call home. With a population of less than half a million, we are all basically extended family. As such, trends start and spread like wildfire, and in no time at all everyone is carrying the same Guess bag or driving the same car.
Our language is no different. Want to find the one Maltese person in the room? Speak one of these phrases out loud and watch them gravitate towards you, like a pastizzi-loving moth to the irresistible glow of a murtal.
A word that can mean anything from ‘no way!’ to ‘come on!’ to ‘are you for real right now?’. This is one of those words that are kind of difficult to explain to non-speakers, like ‘mela’ and ‘moof beck plees’.
Tghid mhux hekk
This one translates roughly to ‘say it ain’t so’ but means more like ‘you’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me’. It’s a favourite with the older generation but is pretty effective when telling someone their bright idea isn’t quite as awesome as they think.
Shame on you (pronounced ‘shay mon yoo’)
We absolutely love this phrase. Whether it’s directed at a politician (which it often is) or someone who didn’t clean up after Fluffy took a steaming hot brown one in a public place, it’s basically the Every Man of insults. Flexible and entirely unoffensive, this phrase takes that deep-seeded guilt that was installed early on in most of us, and brings it to the surface in a ‘I’m not mad, I’m disappointed’ sort of passive-aggressive way.
At its best
Every time we see something stupid or genius (it’s always one or the other, with few exceptions), it’s always ‘traffic at its best’ or ‘creativity at its best’. Unless whatever you’re talking about got a haircut and put on a nice suit then no, it’s not ‘at its best’. It’s probably still wearing sweatpants and wiping the tortilla chip crumbs off its slightly malodorous jumper.
Go back to your country
Absolutely not saying that everyone here is racist but if you’re going to hear this horrifically prejudiced phrase, it’s likely to be coming from some uneducated individual who, more likely than not, has a family tree that includes all manner of nationalities. The irony of the fact that 80% of us could pass for Arabian carpet dealers is sadly lost on most people.