Maltese is not like pastizzi and English is not a Big Mac. My good friend and colleague Mark Anthony Falzon (‘Making Maltese great, in Maltese’, The Sunday Times of Malta, September 13) knows well enough that language is much more than just a means of instruction, because it means important things to both individuals and communities.
The University of Malta demands a Secondary School Certificate pass in Maltese (which hardly requires an effort of monumental proportions) because Maltese is our language, the language of the Maltese islands, and the University is just that, the University of Malta.
It’s not some university franchise or narrow-minded business enterprise. It’s not there to just churn out degrees to individual students: it has a major role in our community. And as Falzon has eloquently shown elsewhere in his column, it fulfils its role more than admirably.
I think we need more, not less language. And we need more languages, too. More Maltese, English, Italian, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Chinese, and Russian. This is basically what our University is providing, precisely because it’s not some fast food outlet.
The Maltese language is not significant in China. It won’t rock the US economy, or make sales at McDonald’s rise to unprecedented heights. But it is significant, very significant, in Malta, in our community. And we are all the richer for it.
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