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FIMBank CSR focuses on the beauty of the Maltese language

01.02.2016

FIMBank plc has partnered with Public Broadcasting Services Ltd (PBS) in an initiative which has seen the broadcast of a series of 30-second video-spots, focusing on Malta’s linguistic heritage. The series of 100 videos, the production of which was also sponsored by the Bank, traces the meaning of specific words in the Maltese language. The words selected for this series, which is entitled ‘Kelma Kuljum’ (or ‘A Word Everyday’), include both those used every-day, as well as others the use of which has become less frequent.

Commenting on this initiative, FIMBank Chairman Dr John C. Grech stated that “As a Malta-based institution we feel we owe it to the people of Malta to help raise awareness of the Islands’ rich cultural heritage. This consideration has always been a mainstay of our Corporate Social Responsibility programme. The Maltese language is recognised as being an essential part of the Maltese DNA. Its uniqueness, derived from its eclectic mix of Semitic and Romance influences, is appreciated by linguists worldwide. It is also a reflection of Malta’s long and chequered history, and the Islands’ strategic location at the centre of the Mediterranean. We are proud to be in a position to highlight the beauty of this language.”

Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, the Arabic dialect that developed in Sicily and later in Malta, between the end of the ninth century and the end of the twelfth century. Maltese itself is therefore linguistically classified as a unique branch of Arabic that has evolved independently of its source into a standardized language over the past 800 years in a gradual process of Latinisation.

About half of the vocabulary is derived from standard Italian and Sicilian; English words make up between 6% and 20% of the Maltese vocabulary, according to different estimates. The original Semitic base (Siculo-Arabic) comprises around one-third of the Maltese vocabulary, and typically includes words that denote basic ideas and the function words. Maltese has always been written in the Latin script, the earliest surviving example dating from the late Middle Ages. It remains the only Semitic language written in the Latin script in its standard form.

Jason Zammit, FIMBank’s Head of Marketing & Administration, said that the video spots, which are being broadcast five times daily on national TV station TVM, have proven to be very popular with Maltese viewers. He also said that “very positive and encouraging feedback was received after the spots were posted on Facebook and Youtube, where they have been shared extensively by users”. Zammit thanked all those who have collaborated in the project, including PBS as the main partners, as well as Dr Michael Spagnol who acted as the linguistic consultant for the series.

Public Broadcasting Services CEO Anton Attard expressed his satisfaction with this collaboration between the national broadcaster and FIMBank: “These short and straight-to-the-point features are an innovative way of promoting a greater appreciation of Malta’s linguistic heritage. By choosing TVM as the principal platform for this project, FIMBank has ensured that this educational campaign gets the highest exposure possible.”