Malta’s Constitution declares both Maltese, the indigenous language, and English as the country’s official languages. Maltese is also the national language and since 2002 it was accorded official status in the European Union. Maltese is accordingly given more importance in Malta, a miniscule island with a population of slightly more than half a million people. This study reports on the findings of a scientifically representative study among 500 University of Malta students on their language use when using social media platforms. It provides data on the actual languages used in messages sent by the students themselves. This paper examines the different contexts in which English and Maltese are used on the social media platforms. It compares how the participants spontaneously use either language in different social media forms of communication. The study concludes that rather than a process of displacement of Maltese what is happening is differential usage through which Maltese is predominant in informal settings, while English is mainly used in more formal settings.
May 16, 2022