In-Nederlandiz Itir – Chrafa al zmenijetna miktuba minn H. P. Baxxter

Published: January 12, 2017 at 2:22am

Inspired by this.

Ix-xini bi tliet arbli, jigifieri teknikament mhux xini, imma nsomma, tal-pirata Malti, fil-fatt kursar ghax kollox legal u above board, Egrant, kien qed ibahhar ftit lil’hinn mix-xtut tal-istmu tal-hekk imsejha Panama.

Fuq il-poppa, jippoppaw, kien hemm corma mhux hazin. Ghax dawn kien sibbien ihobbu jidhru, ghax m’ghandhom xejn x’jahbu, u fil-fatt talbu audit mill-Ammiraljat Ingliz, li però kien ghadu ma sabx il-vaxxell sabiex jitla’ abbord u jaghmel spezzjoni. Imma l-aqwa li qalu li talbu audit.

Fil-galley, magenb pappagall multikolorat b’seba’ lwien (izda mhux pederasta) jismu Franco, li kien il-hin kollu, imma l-hin kollu, ghaddej “Riforma! Riforma! Riforma!”, kien hemm bahri liebes gakketta sewda fuq qmis sewda, b’harsa miksura ta’ wiehed **** mejjet, ilegleg flixkun Dutch courage, jew qlubija Nederlandiza.

Mal-arblu mezzan, li fil-fatt mhux dak tan-nofs imma ta’ wara, imma nsomma, kienet qed tisserreb stripper zul minn hawn. Il-policy ta’ open bar kienet tghodd ghalih wisq, u mieghu numru sew minn shabu.

Sadattant, fuq il-pruwa, is-sailing master, li ma nafx kif tigi skond l-akkademja tal-Malti, kien qed jezamina roadmap. Ghalkemm kollha kienu tilfu l-boxxla, kien qed jispjega lil ta’ madwaru li l-ispedizzjoni taghhom kienet costed and doable. L-entuzjazmu leggendarju tieghu kien bla razan, u l-fama tieghu kienet twassal sax-xtut imbieghda tal-port imbieghed ta’ Shanghai, fejn kellu tistennieh, jinghad, mara.

“Di xipp of stejt” qal il-kaptan pirata. U hadd ma fehem x’ried jghid biha izda lkoll kienu impressjonati. “Ja qabda ulied ta’ Nederlandizi doppji, iridu jaqbuna, imma mhux se jirnexxielhom! Ghandi hames snin ohra mill-inqas inhuf u nippiligja! (Orrajt, teknikament tigi ‘nahtaf b’mod sistematiku u vjolenti’ li allura tigi xi haga bhala ‘rapine’ minn ‘raptus’ li minnha giet ‘rape’, allura, skuzi, dan x’inhu jekk mhux haxi?)

“Taghna lkoll!”, qal bahri li kien hdejh, liebes eyepatch fuq ghajnejh it-tnejn…

  • Jan Farrugia

    Classic Baxxter.

  • callixtus

    Fantastic. We missed you, Baxxter.

  • Marinton

    Ingenious stuff. Keep them coming, Baxxter.

    • H.P. Baxxter

      I do my best. Usually in the anchor cable locker. Frigging in the rigging is dangerous, and if you get a nut caught in a block, it’s curtains.

  • R. Azzopardi

    Top notch. Keep ’em coming. We missed you, Baxxter.

    • H.P. Baxxter

      “Dalghodu fil-bajja ta’ Kemmuna ragel indarab minn dghajsa b’velocità qawwija….”.

      Issa jridu jaghmlu ghaxar snin ta’ seduti plenarji biex isibu kelma ghal “jet ski”. “Dghajsa ckejkna li tizloq fuq wicc l-ilma permezz tal-propulsjoni tal-ilma”?

      • La Redoute

        Getski – it’s got all the vowel sounds intact and chimes with blekbort.

      • tinnat

        Use the German technique – stick the words together and voilà, you have the new word.

  • photog

    Thank you, Baxxter, and gotspeet.

    • H.P. Baxxter

      Nerfa’ towst ghal dak.

  • The Flying Dutchman

  • Baxxter shares my views about Peter Serracino Inglott. It’s one of the reasons we get along.

    • H.P. Baxxter


    • H.P. Baxxter

      I’m not quite sure I got V Zammit’s point, but even Peter Serracino Inglott had a problem communicating effectively in Academy-approved Maltese.

      He appeared on George Sapiano’s TV show once, years ago, and Sapiano read out something that Serracino Inglott had written about clergymen not getting involved in politics, “fil-miskja tal-politika.”

      Sapiano helpfully explained to the imbecile viewers that miskja was “fit-tahlita, jigifieri”. Serracino Inglott pointed out that it was not. It meant “the thick of the battle.”

      If he’d written in English, he’d wouldn’t have had to invent or transliterate words from Italian. He’d have used the English “melee” (yes, I know it’s French minus the accents).

      Maltese will forever be a stunted language. If it assimilates foreign words exclusively from Italian, or Italianises them, why not be done with it and switch to Italian? Oh but that would jar.

      But so does pidgin Maltese when it tries to communicate lofty concepts, or even just precise concepts.

      A stunted people with a stunted language and stunted thoughts. Quite how we can ever keep up in the 21st century, I don’t know. To think we had it all and threw it away on a whim.

      • Serracino Inglott didn’t communicate effectively precisely because effective communication was not the primary aim of his writing. The primary aim was to use confusing and pointless words in a complicated sentence construction so as to impress those he thought of (largely correctly) as his intellectual inferiors. In the land of the blind, and so on.

      • Catharsis

        Just like Musumeci then.

      • torquemada

        “the thick of battle” would translate as “taqbida”. I agree that the Maltese language is limited, however, many writers and speakers are too lazy to look for the proper Semitic words and opt for bastardised ones like “miskja”.

  • H.P. Baxxter


  • H.P. Baxxter

    ‘Fraid I still don’t get you.

  • Jonathan Azzopardi

    I totally agree re the boring element of the rhyme. I do however also appreciate the futuristic vision (ironic?) of a drug-induced rant by a Malta-based (then equivalent of) chief of staff to the government, going on about an albatross round the neck of one member of the crew spelling the doom of the whole bloody lot of them …

  • Lucrezia Borgia

    We love you, Baxxter. Don’t go all silent on us again.

  • H.P. Baxxter


  • La Redoute

    Right. Show me where I can sign up.

  • John J Cefai

    But is there really such a thing as a ‘Maltese’ language? Shouldn’t a language have a certain percentage of original words in that language without them deriving from other languages? How many words in ‘Maltese’ are there that do not have Arabic, Italian, French or other roots? What makes a language a language then? Politicians?

    • H.P. Baxxter

      A language is a language if it can communicate all the thoughts of a group of individuals within that group.

      Since the set of thoughts of the more intelligent among the Maltese far exceeds the vocabulary and syntactic capability of Maltese, then Maltese is no longer a language, if it ever was.

      It is a pidgin or creole language. And a great big dead weight that’s holding us back. Putting it in the constitution does not make it a language. Sorry.

  • V Zammit

    That is a very warped conception of our language, any language, and man’s primary mode of communication. .It diminishes identity and is self-deprecating.

    Ours is the same language of Dun Karm and Saydon, of Alfred Sant and Lino Spiteri and Kilin and of your piece above, and of ordinary Maltese generally.

    At the moment the language is in such a flux that its speakers can hardly put up with it. It shows. Sometimes it labours to be born. Sometimes the trouble is not with birth but occasionally with what is born. We need less Baxxters and more Santayanas.

    • He’s right though. And I don’t have any patriotic or nationalistic sentiments about Maltese at all. It’s a language, and an inadequate one. The limits of the language are one of the reasons for the limited thinking of people who speak nothing people. We think in words, not wordlessly – and therefore we need the words for the concepts. No words, no concepts. No concepts, no words.

  • Jonathan Azzopardi

    No, sorry. But will take your implied advice …

  • Joe Azzopardi

    Ghax minn Had-Dingli. Ara bl-Ukrajn jitkellem tajjeb.

  • Timothy Duca

    This is good, x’cuc hu Leli ta’ Haz-Zghir.

  • H.P. Baxxter

    Actually, it hasn’t enough of them. The “shini” was a Mediterranean Muslim ship type somewhere in the middle ages, with two masts.

    Egrant’s ship is a galleon (with a very-small diameter mizzen mast so it can be used as a stripper’s pole, and the galley with fitted rum locker located abaft so it is near the mizzen, and the sailors can enjoy both booze and strippers). There is no proper Maltese word specifically for ‘galleon’.

    The bit of twang-of-the-wrist prose above was meant to illustrate the confusion that comes from the vocab not keeping up with the concepts. I mean how do you even say “spar”? Or “rigging”? And is there a word for “sailing master”?

    Now that we’ve invented the fantastical Netherlandiz, are we to assume we should write “jochtt”? And what is the Akkademja’s recommended translation of: “Shiver me timbers, look at the tits on that! Like twin spinnakers at full sail, me hearties!”

    How do you even write a decent film script in Maltese? It would have to be about boring people doing boring things. Like politicians in parliament, or office workers or something.

    • A.Vella

      You obviously missed Musumeci’s reply. Gripping stuff.

      • H.P. Baxxter

        Yes, the neighbours’ chandelier was rattling.

        And did Musumeci ever take my advice and get himself a pair monkstraps? He was complaing about his feet having high arches and the pain caused by Oxfords. Poor fellow.

        My heart goes out to him. He could do with a foot massage, perhaps performed by a member of the judiciary. That gives it the extra oomph.

    • Flanker

      I guess you’d have to spend time with some old salt who’s also up there with the lingo as you would not learn this at school.

      Some words that come to mind would be gifen, xebek. Xebek is a lateen sailed 3-master. And I’m sure there’s a word for galleon, as there would be for caravel or carrack as the knights had those types of vessels and Maltese authors would write about them, probably derived from Italian, Spanish and French. This guy might help:

      Don’t laugh.

      I get your point though. The words you use in English come naturally to a native English-speaking person. The fact that we cannot come up with the necessary words in Maltese off the cuff is an absolute disgrace and an indictment of the paucity of Maltese public broadcasting programs and Maltese language education.

      • Flanker

        This might provide some ideas:

        Very Saydon influenced: Mirkeb is pure Arabic, coming from an ex-Libya trader.

      • Flanker
      • H.P. Baxxter

        See, this is what gets me. We are taught to believe that somehow language is divorced from history. The ‘old salts’ that served on sailing ships would have done so in the Royal Navy from 1800 onwards, or at any rate they did so when Malta was British. The even older salts did so when the language of the naval officers was Italian or French.

        So disabuse yourself of the notion that Maltese contains the full range of nautical terminology from 1500 to 2017. It doesn’t.

        You say ‘gifen’. The word comes from the Arabic ‘jafn’ through the Andalusi Arabic ‘jafan’, which refers to a galley, not a galleon.

        As for Joseph Muscat the naval historian (not his glorious, immortal and godlike namesake), I do laugh a bit. The ‘xprunara’ was invented in Malta, was it? How about it’s just a fore-and-aft lateen-rigged ship which was invented some time in the seventh century in the Muslim Mediterranean? The dhow is practically identical.

        All I was trying to show in that short story – and I’m not too happy with how the debate has gone all over the place except where it should – is how it is impossible to write good, gripping, enjoyable, good-quality stuff in Maltese. That is unless you limit yourself to platitudes to God (Christian, but with an Arabic name) and very simple dialogue of the Me-Tarzan-You-Jane kind.

        Now can we PLEASE focus on getting rid of this coagulation of human evil which is the Labour government?

        Afterwards, once we do, I will be more than happy to have this debate. Promise.