Steven R. Loomis wrote:
> [...] Something curious is that while
> Maltese is really the more common language spoken, despite
> English being
> an official language and spoken with foreigners, people
> prefer to WRITE in
> English. I have heard this in other language groups as well,
> that they
> prefer language A, but language B is easier to write in, shorter, more
> common, etc.
> In Maltese, there is first of all a sense of the language
> being inferior, [...]
I think this happens in all bilingual situations, when one of the spoken
language is felt to have a lesser prestige than the other one.
For instance, this is what regularly happens with Italian dialects. Out of
big cities, local dialects or languages are used in everyday conversation,
standard Italian being only limited to cases when one wants to sound
But, in writing, the relationship reverses: people only write in standard
Italian. The few exceptions are only texts which clearly are dialectal
literature (e.g. traditional songs, poems, theater, etc.).
Another possible explanation of this is that local language often don't have
a well-established or well-known spelling. E.g., Italian newsgroups about
linguistics and grammar regularly host hot debates about the spelling of
dialects. In this debates, you can often see the same words or phases
spelled in lots of different ways, each one of them being considered "the
correct spelling" by someone. This state of things doesn't of course favor
the adoption of dialects in writing.
I know that such a chaos is *not* the situation of Maltese spelling.
However, I know that there are problems to represent some letters on
computers (e.g. barred H), and probably people don't feel very comfortable
with a spelling that they only used back in school times.