Living on an island with such a tiny population has many disadvantages, but one shining pro to the whole thing is that we have a language understood by less than half a million people.
So when we’re out and about on foreign turf, you better believe we’re gonna abuse of our ‘secret language’.
1. You scan for anyone Maltese-Looking
That 6’5″ blondie is not gonna understand shit, but that small man with the olive skin looks like a guy I saw in Havana once. Better be wary before we start blabbing.
2. You test out the ones who may be Maltese
You begin to project mundane Maltese phrases in their general direction to see if they react in the slightest.
“MELA! TA! X’HINU?” … nothing. We’re in the clear.
3. You comfortably start speaking to your friends
We’re all clear, time to say whatever we want, however we want to and as loudly as we possibly can.
4. You notice some people staring at you
That guy we just said looks like Eileen Montesin’s long-lost brother is staring at us. He’s onto us. He was Maltese all along. The test has failed and we’re doomed.
5. You test them again to be sure
Your conversation instantly switches back to nothing more than a grocery list as you tentatively start the usual tests all over again, this time with laser focus.
6. You get asked the usual questions about the language
As Mr. Montestin approaches, it seems your fears were unfounded.
He begins to ask you what language you were speaking, explaining that he knows Arabic and thought it was that but confused along the way, and suddenly the usual pre-formed explanation tumbles out.
“It’s based in Arabic but has Italian, English and French words…”
7. You get super comfortable bitching directly in people’s faces
One day in you don’t even realise how comfortable you’ve gotten.
“Dan ta quddiemi fuckin jinten man!”
“Ara din xi kruha ta libsa, Ġesu!”
8. You freeze when you can’t remember a word…
What was right and left in Maltese? How the hell do you read this date?
9. … Or when you’re about to use an easily understood word
It may be a Maltese word, but calling someone an idjota is probably going to be understood by most people.
10. So you start inventing convoluted ways to explain what you mean
Say you’re in Rome and you know better than to say ‘L-Italja’ cos they’ll know what you’re talking about, so suddenly you end up with the world’s most long-winded description to get your point across.
“Dawk li qedin ftit il-fuq minnha, il-mappa għandha forma ta żarbuna. Iħobbu l-pizz…ikel tond bit tadam u ġobon li ssajru fil-forn”
11. You get so comfortable you forget you can’t get away with it in Malta
You’ve had a wonderful holiday, you’ve flown back home but you’re still on ‘tourist mode’ so you end up telling your boss where to stick it and accidentally bitch on everyone you meet right to their face.
You also curse like a sailor no matter where you are, which can be quite problematic.