5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

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5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by Guest on Thu May 14, 2015 11:43 am

Throughout our history we Maltese have had constant interaction with foreigners because of colonisation, tourism or immigration. Yet we Maltese have some distinct behaviour that is uniquely ours, and not just that... it baffles anybody else observing from the periphery. These observations come up inevitably from time to time; here they are black on white to help avoid any more confusion from being lost in translation!

We all talk at the same time



When I lived abroad, one of the things I had to learn was to wait for my turn to speak. I had never realised it before, until a German traveller pointed out that I would often interrupt people while they are speaking, in order to pass a remark or to add something to whatever the speaker is saying; what I had considered to be interested, animated and active participation in conversation, she simply considered impolite. Then I had to explain that, where I came from, if I waited for my turn to speak I would never get the opportunity to utter a word! 
Indeed this behaviour is not exclusive to the Maltese, but an intrinsic characteristic of Mediterranean culture, shared with Greeks, Israelis, Italians and Spanish alike: we are loud and we all talk at the same time, and we are so clever that we manage to understand what's going on in the midst of all that chaos. If you tend to disagree with this one, just take a look at what is happening in our parliament and on Malta's favourite talk show - even in the most formal situations for a discussion, everybody is talking at the same time!
 

We seem to be fighting with each other all the time




Granted that the language may sound a bit harsh at times, it is likely the passionate gesticulating and the increased volume of voice that earns us this one. An English friend once told me how she was quite stunned during her first meals with her Maltese husband's family, who might exchange a few loudly expressed opinions only to sit down cheerfully and enjoy a meal together in the next moment as if that never happened; her family always sat quietly at the dining table, polite at all times, "If an English person ever expressed himself so emotionally at the table, it would mean that something is so upsetting that he simply can't bottle it up any more!"
Visitors from countries where displays of emotion are far more conservative are generally quite shocked by our vibrant expression; they do not realise that the emotion will die down just as quickly as it flared up, just as soon as it has been vented. The Maltese are passionate by nature, both in love and war - they express themselves wholly and intensely, and that is a rather accepted norm of behaviour. Add to that the sprinkling of unintended swear words that sometimes accompany heated discussions and it is easy to assume that the two are sworn enemies when in fact they are best buddies. 


We seem particularly disrespectful towards our friends and family. (Seem.)



 
I used to work in a company where most of the staff was foreign. As colleagues do, we would sometimes have a laugh together in the office. One day, in the midst of such an atmosphere, I passed a teasing remark addressing an Eastern European member of staff; she smiled in that moment and I thought that was that, until three weeks later she brought it up again, asking what I had meant by that. I was amazed that she had carried it for so long, explained that it was a joke in Maltese taste, and that no harm was intended; she found it hard to understand, despite having lived on the island for several years.
So it would seem that another oddity, seen from the outside, is this tendency we Maltese have to pick on and tease our nearest and dearest. We Maltese can be very polite with strangers or in formal situations. The green light that defines a more intimate relationship is the dropping of formalities such as superficial respect; this can extend to offering downright insults and playing mischievous practical jokes, sometimes in bad taste, to "test" just how deep the friendship bond runs - the harder the joke we can swallow without taking offence, the better friends we are!
 

We constantly say "mela", which seems to mean nothing in particular



I have had the opportunity to host friends visiting Malta on several occasions. Without fail, one of the first questions to come up is, "What does 'mela' mean? You guys say it all the time." This is followed by the difficult task of attempting to translate one of the most versatile words in the Maltese language, which is actually impossible to define definitively. It can mean several different things depending solely on the very slight variations in the pronunciation, intonation and the context in which it is used; subtle differences that would be impossible for a foreigner to pick up on. It is a filler word which is at the same time extremely useful, perhaps better described as a sound than a dictionary word in itself! It can be spoken to oneself at the beginning of a task, as in "So...," or to others upon reaching some conclusion as in, "Then...," or as an affirmation, like "Of course," or "Obviously" and certainly many other situations. This is one word our foreigner friends will hear often but never understand quite what it means.
 

We take our home outside during the summer





Sweat is trickling down your back even though you are not even moving and it is 10pm. It's a hot summer's evening and you approach your balcony for some fresher air. Your neighbour has set up a mattress in his balcony and is snoring away to his heart's content, quite oblivious to the noise blaring up from the TV downstairs, which is on full volume seeing that the entire household has moved to watch it from an armchair and three chairs set out on the pavement. Somehow I never thought of this as strange, as I grew up with this sort of thing, until two foreign friends who were staying with me remarked about how odd and funny it was. I wonder what they would think of those families who go for a family picnic or day at the beach complete with generator, television, mini fridge and clothes horse!

These are just five of the peculiarities that stand out most often among the Maltese... yet certainly there are plenty more! Which ones can you think of?


http://littlerock.com.mt/culture/5-things-about-maltese-behaviour-that-completely-baffles-foreigners/#.VVOrVz_FZos.facebook




As we constantly here talk about the English Culture on here all the time, I thought maybe people could learn about other cultures. So I thought I would post this, where as already known my father was Maltese/Sicillian and grew up on Malta, until he left to leave at the age of 14 to work in Canada. I can certainly relate to many of the points made here and find it a very honest view point that you do find within Maltese people and its culture. I still have relatives there but most emigrated to Canada, Australia and the US. I suppose in a way I am lucky, having been brought up in an English culture mixed in with Irish, Maltese and Sicillian, where I know I have aspects of all four.



Maybe others would like to share the attributes of their cultures also.

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by veya_victaous on Thu May 14, 2015 10:50 pm

that's weird there is a lot of Maltese here (my first girlfriend was Australian born Maltese) and I don't think Aussies ever think they seem disrespectful but we call our best mates ---- and much worse so maybe it is just we are the same so it doesn't stand out.

Plus there is the whole actually have sunshine as opposed to the drab winter weather England call's summer in common.

Australia is very multicultural and the Maltese are probably one of the ones help make it so positive being heavily represented amongst the early non-British migrants. now I'm not sure if some of the other similarities also come from the large number of Mediterraneans as we also tend to just but in when talking. Definitely food wise Mediterranean is eaten more than British here but it does suit the climate better.

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by Guest on Thu May 14, 2015 10:56 pm

veya_victaous wrote:that's weird there is a lot of Maltese here (my first girlfriend was Australian born Maltese) and I don't think Aussies ever think they seem disrespectful but we call our best mates ---- and much worse so maybe it is just we are the same so it doesn't stand out.

Plus there is the whole actually have sunshine as opposed to the drab winter weather England call's summer in common.

Australia is very multicultural and the Maltese are probably one of the ones help make it so positive being heavily represented amongst the early non-British migrants. now I'm not sure if some of the other similarities also come from the large number of Mediterraneans as we also tend to just but in when talking. Definitely food wise Mediterranean is eaten more than British here but it does suit the climate better.



I have cousins out in Australia Veya from Malta.
They are a very positive people, hence why I am.

Its a very honest thread this to me, hence I see the views have much validity.
I busted to talk when growing up and often did, being as there was so many of us talking over each other. It came naturally. It never came across as rude until others to them felt id did. I then learn to allow others to speak and indeed you end up listening far more than you thought you ever did.

Thanks for the reply, maybe you can think of things yourself Veya, from your own influences of culture

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by Guest on Thu May 14, 2015 11:01 pm

beautiful country, very beautiful people... Smile Smile

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by veya_victaous on Fri May 15, 2015 12:03 am

we are still stealing bits for our culture..... we haven't got it all yet pirat pirat pirat pirat

Australia Currently has a culture of adaption... everyone knows we are changing it is inevitable as we increase the diversity of our population. So we are trying to add the good bits and leave the bad bits of the cultures joining our multiculture, where it gets weird is people like myself that are raised in a very multicultural community have a sort of hybrid culture, I know several of my preconceptions are more inline with Asia than Europe even though my bloodlines are all European.

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by sassy on Fri May 15, 2015 12:09 am

The Busy Bee is Sliema makes the best cakes I have tasted in my life. Thankfully we went there before I got the sickness bug, so I was able to try them. Absolute heaven.

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by Guest on Fri May 15, 2015 12:44 am

veya_victaous wrote:that's weird there is a lot of Maltese here (my first girlfriend was Australian born Maltese) and I don't think Aussies ever think they seem disrespectful but we call our best mates ---- and much worse so maybe it is just we are the same so it doesn't stand out.

Plus there is the whole actually have sunshine as opposed to the drab winter weather England call's summer in common.

Australia is very multicultural and the Maltese are probably one of the ones help make it so positive being heavily represented amongst the early non-British migrants. now I'm not sure if some of the other similarities also come from the large number of Mediterraneans as we also tend to just but in when talking. Definitely food wise Mediterranean is eaten more than British here but it does suit the climate better.

Wow this is a really interesting post.Can you give us some more details Veya?

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by veya_victaous on Fri May 15, 2015 5:55 am

Well Shady Apart from the Maltese you also have Aboriginals that are actually very accepting they are not the 1 dimensional cartoon characters shows like 'utopia' try to make them out to be. Many support Multiculturalism.



Black fella, white fella
Yellow fella, any fella
It doesn't matter, what your colour
As long as you, a true fella

All the people, of different races
With different lives, in different places
It doesn't matter, which religions
It's all the same when the, ship is sinking

We need more brothers, if we're to make it
We need more sisters, if we're to save it

Are you the one that's gonna stand up and be counted?
Are you the one who's gonna be there when we shout it?
Are you the one that's always ready with a helping hand?
Are you the one who understands these family plans?

Oh stand up, stand up and be counted

Like the Kangaroo we cant go backwards so we must go forwards together

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by Guest on Fri May 15, 2015 6:34 am

Shady wrote:
veya_victaous wrote:that's weird there is a lot of Maltese here (my first girlfriend was Australian born Maltese) and I don't think Aussies ever think they seem disrespectful but we call our best mates ---- and much worse so maybe it is just we are the same so it doesn't stand out.

Plus there is the whole actually have sunshine as opposed to the drab winter weather England call's summer in common.

Australia is very multicultural and the Maltese are probably one of the ones help make it so positive being heavily represented amongst the early non-British migrants. now I'm not sure if some of the other similarities also come from the large number of Mediterraneans as we also tend to just but in when talking. Definitely food wise Mediterranean is eaten more than British here but it does suit the climate better.

Wow this is a really interesting post.Can you give us some more details Veya?

Seriously Veya, do you not even see when he is talking the piss?
This is the problem with trolls like shady, he is not here to partipate but create problems.

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by veya_victaous on Fri May 15, 2015 7:08 am

I know that
I don't care however
it is all in fun.
I take the piss out of the brits on here all the time, i am willing to take it in return


AND
I just wanted to post that song

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by Original Quill on Fri May 15, 2015 5:41 pm

Urban dictionary wrote: MELA

A little hottie with a body. short with dark hair this girl is a frisky young tigger. with the looks to kill this girl is the next plastic struting her stuff down the hall.

...damn that mela is hot, ohh shit son isn't she going out with that ghetto drew.

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Re: 5 things about Maltese behaviour that completely baffles foreigners

Post by Guest on Sun May 17, 2015 11:41 am

'mela'

Yeah, yes, of course, so, sure. And as a verb it means "to fill"

Its usually used for emphasis - closest English words I can think of are "of course".

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