Digital assistants such as Siri and Alexa should be programmed to speak in Maltese so as to prevent the national language from “digital extinction”, Nationalist MEP Francis Zammit Dimech said.
“Maltese language is part of our national identity, which makes us proud of who we are,” Zammit Dimech said at a translation conference yesterday. “That is why I believe that it is important to facilitate the teaching and learning of Maltese language, which we use in our daily lives as well as on digital media.”
“It’s our responsibility to ensure that the Maltese language is well integrated and used within the digital sphere including on digital platforms and through digital assistants such as Siri and Alexa. By doing so, we will ensure that our national language remains relevant in an ever-changing digital world.”
Citing recent statistics, MEP warned that many youths in Malta are now unable to properly speak and write in Maltese and English and that many are performing poorly in school because of their poor language skills.
“Poor learning skills are concerning because if young people are not able to speak languages well, they will not be able to enter the job market,” he said. “It is only through continuous efforts of teaching Maltese language to younger generations that we will be able to keep our language alive and transmit it to the generations to come. Maltese language is just as important to building human connections offline, as it is online.”