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SURVIVAL MALTESEBy Grazio Falzon
MERHBA! WELCOME! This SURVIVAL MALTESE is intended for pleasure, especially to those planning a trip to the Maltese islands. Being able to speak even a few words will guarantee an appreciative and warm response. I suggest that you follow the initial sequence of this Survival Maltese, esp. in regards to pronunciation and basic expressions. This gives you not only a minimum vocabulary, but also helps you get used to pronouncing the language. The phonetic transcription enables you to pronounce every word. The imitated pronunciation should be read as if it were General American English. Of course, the sounds of any two languages are never exactly identical; but if you follow the indications provided here, you'll be able to read my transcriptions in such a way as to make yourself understood. I tested out my transcription method on my California wife; she could pronounce perfect Maltese by reading off my transcriptions. I am deeply appreciative to linguist Bjarne Skov (University of Oslo, Norway) and Hector Barca (Madrid Spain) for their invaluable feedback. I hope you have as much fun learning some basic Maltese as I had working on this project. Grazio N.B. For details about a printed much-expanded version of SURVIVAL MALTESE, please see: Maltese Dictionary & Phrasebook
CONTENTS -----------------------Pronunciation Some Basic Expressions Arrival Accommodation Eating Out Travelling Around Sightseeing Relaxing Making Friends Shopping Guide At the Bank At the Post Office Telephone Doctor Dentist Emergency THE ALPHABET -------LETTER APPROXIMATE PRONUNCIATION ------ ------------------------A sala B C D E F G G H short, like 'u' in 'shut' long, like 'a' in 'far' like Eng. b like ch in 'church' like Eng. d short, as e in 'shed' long, as ai in 'hair' like Eng. f like j in 'join' like g in 'great' silent within a word; SYMBOL -----a a: b ch d e e: f j g blu coff demm dell gelu frott gbejna gardell fehem EXAMPLES -------raba
pronounced like h in hen when at the end of a word H I J K L M N O GH P Q like h in 'house' short, as i in 'fit' long, as ee in 'jeep' like y in 'yes'
h h i i: y k l m n o o:
fih hamsa fitt ilu jannar kelma landa mans nisel bott sod boghod
like k in 'kit' like l in 'life' as in Eng. as in Eng. short, like o in got long, like aw in law mostly silent (*) gharef as in Eng. glottal plosive sound produced by the closure of the vocal chords followed by their sudden separation
R trilled like Scottish r marsus S T like s in 'sea' like t in French 'tante' s t
r sinjur tfajla u u: v w sh iva werwer xadina zunzan pinzell hut
U short, like u in 'full' pulptu long, like oo in 'fool' V W X Z Z as in Eng. like w in 'war' like sh in 'sheep' voiced, like z in 'fuzz'
unvoiced, like ts in 'hats'
(*) 'GH' is regarded as a single letter in Maltese. When it precedes or follows any one of the vowels 'a', 'e', 'o' it prolongs the sound of the vowel. In my phonetic transcription this is shown by : after the vowel concerned.
When 'GH' is followed by the vowel 'i' it takes the sound of 'ay' in the English word 'bay'. When 'GH' is followed by the vowel 'u' it takes the sound of 'ou' in the English word 'soul'. When 'GH' is the final letter in a word, it is pronounced as a soft aspirate sound like 'h' in the English word 'hair'. The phonetic transcription will show the correct variation in pronunciation. N.B.(1) General rules governing the length of vowels: -- All vowels at the end of a word are short and unstressed. -- All vowels are long when they are stressed and are followed by one consonant. They are short when followed by more than one consonant. -- A long vowel becomes shorter when the word in which it occurs is followed by a word beginning with a consonant and carrying the main stress. E.g. dar sabiha.
N.B.(2) My phonetic transcription will also show the differences in pronunciation of 'g' in 'gobon' and 'g' in 'gidba', 'z' in 'zija' and 'z' in 'zarbun', and between silent and pronounced 'h'. N.B.(3) Doubled consonants are to be lengthened phonetically at the beginning of a word or inside it. Thus ll in 'falla' must be pronounced not with one l as in English 'fuller' but with the first l closing the first syllable and with the second l opening the second syllable. Approximate phonetic analogy in English would be the pronunciation of "full life".
SOME BASIC EXPRESSIONS --------English Expression ------Yes No Please Thank you Thank you Maltese Translation (without diacritics) -------------------Iva Le Jekk joghgbok Grazzi Grazzi hafna Phonetic transcription ------------iva le yek yo:jbok gratsi gratsi hafna
very much You're welcome M'hemmx mn'hiex memsh mni:sh
Greetings ------Good morning Good evening Good night Good-bye So long See you later This is Mr. Mrs. Miss Pleased to meet you. How are you? Very well, thanks. And you? I beg your pardon? Excuse me Sorry! Bongu Bonswa Il-lejl it-tajjeb Sahha Caw Narak iktar tard Dan is-Sinjur Din is-Sinjura Din is-Sinjurina Ghandi pjacir Kif inti? bonju bonswa illeyl itayeb sahha cha:w narak iktar ta:rd dan isinyu:r diyn isinyu:ra diyn isinyu:ri:na a:ndi pyachi:r kiyf inti
Tajjeb(masc),tajba(fem) tayeb/tayba hafna. U inti? hafna u inti Skuzi? Skuzi! Skuzani! skuzi skuzi skuza:ni
Questions ------------Where? How? When? What? Why? Who? Which? Where is...? Fejn? Kif? Meta? X'hini? Ghaliex? Min? Liema? Fejn hu...? feyn kiyf meta shiniy a:li:sh miyn lima feyn uw
Where are...? Where can I find...? How far...? How long...? How much/many...? How much does this cost? When does.... open/close? What do you call this/that in Maltese? What does this/ that mean? Do you speak English? Is there anyone here who speaks...? yitkellem... I don't speak (much) Maltese. Could you speak more slowly? Could you repeat that? Could you spell the word? Please write the word down. Can you translate titraduchi:li this for me? I understand. I don't understand. Do you understand?
Fejn huma...? Fejn insib...?
feyn uma feyn insi:b
kemm hi(fem), hu(masc) kem iy/u/uma huma (pl) boghod...? bo:d Kemm iddum...? Kemm...? Kemm tqum din?(f) iqum dan?(m) X'hin ... jiftah/jaghlaq? Kif tghid dan/dak bil-Malti/ Xi jfisser dan/ dak? Titkellem bl-Ingliz? Hawn xi hadd li jitkellem..? Ma nitkellimx (tajjeb) bil-Malti. Tista' titkellem iktar bil-mod? Tista' tirrepeti dak? Tista tispelli l-kelma? Jekk joghgbok iktibli l-kelma. Tista tittraducili dan? Nifhem. Ma nifhimx. Qed tifhem? kem iddu:m kem kem t'u:m diyn i'u:m dan sh hiyn... yiftah/yala' Kiyf teyd dan/dak bil malti shiyfisser dan/ dak titkellem bl ingli:s a:wn shi had li ma nitkellimsh (tayeb) bil malti tista titkellem iktar bil mo:d tista tirrepeti dak tista tispelli: il kelma yek yo:jbok iktibli ilkelma tista dan nifem ma nifimsh 'ed tifem
Can you show me? I can't. Can you tell me? Can you help me? Can I help you? Can you direct me to...?
Tista' turini? Ma nistax. Tista' tghidli? Tista' tghinni? Nista' nghinek? Tista tghatini d-direzzjonijiet ghal...?
tista turiyni ma nistash tista teydli tista teyni nista neyneyk tista tati:ni id diretsyoniyi:t al
Wanting -------I'd like... We'd like... What do you want? Give me... Bring me... Show me... I'm looking for... I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. I'm tired. I'm lost. It's important. It's urgent. Hurry up! Nixtieq... Nixtiequ... X'ghandek bzonn? Aghtini... Gibli... Urini... Qed infittex... Ghandi l-guh. Ghandi l-ghatx. Jien ghajjien. Intlift. Importanti. Urgenti. Ghaggel! nishti:' nishti:'u sha:ndek bzon a:tini jiybli uriyni 'ed infittesh a:ndi il ju:h a:ndi la:tch yi:n a:yi:n intlift importanti urjenti a:jjel
It is / there is ------------It is... It isn't... Hi(ja)...(fem.) Hu(wa)...(masc.) M'hix...(fem.) M'hux...(masc.) iy(ya) uw(wa) miysh muwsh
Here it is. Hawn hi. (fem.) Hawn hu. (masc) aawn oo Here they are. There it is. There is/are... Is there/are there...? Ther isn't/aren't. Hawn huma. Hemm hi. (fem.) Hemm hu. (masc.) Hemm... Hemm...? M'hemmx.
awn iy awn uma em iy em uw em em memsh
It's -------------big small hot cold easy difficult heavy light right/good wrong/bad old new old young m/f sing. plural kbir / kbira kbar zghir / zghira zghar shun / shuna shan kiesah / kiesha keshin facli difficli tqil / tqila tqal hafif / hafifa hfief tajjeb / tajba tajbin hazin / hazina hziena qadim / qadima qodma gdid / gdida godda xih / xiha xjuh zaghzugh zaghzuha kbi:r / kbi:ra kba:r zeyr / zeyra za:r s hun / s huna s ha:n kisah / kis ha kes hin fachli diffichli t'il / t'ila t'a:l hafif / hafifa hfi:f tayeb / tayba taybin hazin / hazina hzi:na 'adim / 'adima 'odma jdid / jdida joda shih / shiha shjuh zazuh / zazuwa
zaghzagh beautiful ugly better worse early late cheap expensive near far first last Quantities ----------a little / a lot much / many more / less enough Prepositions ---------on in after before (time) before (place) for from with without towards to until during fuq gewwa / go wara qabel quddiem ghal minn ma' minghajr lejn ghal sakemm matul ftit / hafna hafna iktar / inqas bizzejjed sabih / sabiha sbieh ikrah / kerha koroh ahjar aghar kmieni tard irhis / irhisa irhas gholi / gholja gholjin vicin = qrib il-boghod l-ewwel l-ahhar
zazah sabih / sabiha sbi:h ikrah / kera koroh ahyar a:r kmi:ni tard irhis / irhisa irha:s o:li / o:lya o:lyin vichin / 'rib il bo:d lewel lahar
ftiyt / hafna hafna iktar / in'as bizzeyed
fu' jewa / jo: wara 'abel 'udi:m a:l min ma mina:yr leyn a:l sakem matul
next to behind between since above below inside outside
hdejn wara bejn mindu fuq taht gewwa barra
hdeyn wara beyn mindu fu' taht jewa barra
A few more useful words --------------and or never always nothing something none too, also but soon now then again perhaps only u jew qatt dejjem