In my research on the languages of Malta, I found that the two national languages are English and Maltese. Almost the entire population speaks Maltese, most (around 85%) speak English, and that French and Italian are also taught in schools. Italian used to be an official language until 1934 when English and Maltese were decided to be the only two national languages. Maltese is the only Semitic language that is an official language of the European Nation.
This language map highlights the influences of other languages and their relation to Maltese.
Maltese is the only Semitic language that is written in the Latin alphabet, and several characters were added to represent the Semitic sounds. There are 29 characters in the Maltese alphabet, and the 'Q' sound represents a glottal sound which can also be found in Syriac and Aramaic (the native language of Jesus).
There is debate about whether Maltese descended from Siculo-Arabic (spoken in Southern Italy and Sicily), or Phoenician-Punic which was spoken near Egypt. Maltese was influenced heavily by both of these languages, and it especially seen as influenced by the Arab languages due to it being written in the Latin alphabet. Maltese borrowed many words from Italian, French, and English so it is a language that has been formed and continually changed over time.
Some of the common phrases and pronunciations which will be useful to us are:
Hello = Merhba (Merhh-buh)
Bye/Cheers = Sahha (Suh-hha)
Please = Jekk Joghgbok (hYek hYoj-bok)
Yes = Iva (Ee-vuh)
No = Le (Leh)
I don’t understand = Ma nifhimx (Mah Nih-Fimsch)
Ġiebja = Cistern (Jih-eh-byuh)