Shadow Education Minister Justin Schembri has warned that the Maltese language is “dying in front of our eyes” and urged the government to take drastic action to save it.
Schembri, a Maltese language teacher, wrote an impassioned article in the PN’s In-Nazzjon newspaper after a census found that around a quarter of Maltese children younger than 10 consider English to be their mother tongue.
“We are speaking here about Maltese children who were born in Malta, without taking into consideration foreign children who live here and for whom Maltese is undoubtedly not their language.”
“I have repeatedly argued that unless the Maltese preserve their own language, no one else will. Foreigners who are coming here aren’t interested in Maltese and our culture, and we are therefore seeing this language die before our very eyes.”
Schembri urged the government to employ a team of writers to produce Maltese books and content for schools, something he warned is seriously lacking within the education system.
He also called for the subsidisation of Maltese publishing houses.
“Unless we take a seat and understand the severity of the situation, we will keep postponing the solutions and the problem will keep getting worse.”
Schembri went on to warn that the nation’s linguistic woes run even deeper, citing statistics showing that in only 100 students studied a foreign language at advanced level in 2021.
“It therefore seems as though Malta is moving towards the destination of monolingualism [English],” he said.
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