October 16, 2004, marked the first centenary of the birth of the Maltese scholar Erin Serracino Inglott. Cospicua has a great reason to celebrate this event!
Erin Serracino Inglott was an intellectual and a philosopher - a great scholar of the Maltese language and its grammar. He authored many plays as well as books. Lyric opera was also his field of study together with the study of the place names of every nook and cranny in Malta and Gozo.
He translated into Maltese Dante's La Divina Commedia. Unfortunately only the first part, L'Inferno, was ever published. But his masterpiece remains the Maltese dictionary Il-Miklem Malti in nine volumes. This was printed through the generosity of the Klabb Kotba Maltin, a company publishing books in Malta. He had developed his own grammar, which I followed blindly until L-Akkademja tal-Malti, of which I was an active member, established some guidelines for certain controversial rules.
But Erin Serracino Inglott was a special person for me! He was my good old friend. I always considered him a second father When I was studying, and later vice-rector of Savio College in Dingli, I used to visit him quite often to consult with him on certain rules and he welcomed me warmly. I saw him work avidly on his dictionary and he used to tell me how much he wished to see it printed. He also wrote an introduction to my two long poems, Is-Sebh (Dawn) and Il-Bniedem Misteru (Man Is A Mystery). He was one of the first to appreciate my poems and he used to examine them rigorously before I sent them to the printing press.
I can boldly confess that he was the one who taught me the Maltese language. When studying philosophy in Sicily, my mother used to send me a copy of the newspaper Il-Poplu (The People) and in one of the pages of every issue, Erin Serracino Inglott used to pinpoint all the grammatical errors found in the Maltese papers and correct them, giving the why and how for his correction. I used to love reading his page and I must say I always followed his method of explaining to my students of Maltese, religion and Italian the why of my corrections.
His death was a shock to me as it came so unexpectedly. At the time I was in Gozo and I didn't make it in time for his funeral, a thing I regret to this day. But his memory in my mind and heart will live for ever, as will my admiration, love and gratitude for him. He touched my life and I am grateful for it.
A commemorative stamp to mark this event would have been much appreciated!
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