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Monthly Archives: November 2012

School activity: Valletta The Most Humble City

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Malta, the unique island in the Mediterranean boasts of a capital city built by the Knights of St John and nicknamed as the city built by gentlemen for gentlemen. Named after Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette, who successfully defended the island from an Ottoman invasion in 1565, the city was given the official name by the Order of Saint John and was called Città Umilissima  (The Most Humble City).

Valletta is the smallest capital of the European Union but every one of the millions of tourists that visits the island every year makes it a point to visit because it is a splendid city built in the Medieval era and has a mixture of Baroque, Mannerist, Neo-Classical and Modern architecture. Our students at Maltalingua insist on visiting Valletta and Maltalingua is always too happy to please. After all our motto is to aim to please.

Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is often described as an open-air museum. A true monument built nearly five centuries ago, Valletta has welcomed emperors, heads of state, artists and poets and is now the permanent seat of the Maltese government.

Charming, old-fashioned cafés and wine bars, are today’s attractions as regards to the hospitality sector. Fine restaurants found in refurbished character houses filled with history and located in squares, narrow streets, alleys and sometimes even in underground levels, each carry bags of folk tales… If only the walls could speak!

Valletta’s main streets: Triq ir-Repubblika, Triq Merkanti, Triq l-Ifran and Triq San Pawl are among many other streets sought after by shoppers. Although they are centuries old, these streets now host franchise outlets and other big stores making them the commercial part of the city. Triq Santa Luċija is famous for gold trade whilst the lower part of Triq Merkanti hosts an open air market daily.

While the whole world was expecting doom in 2012, Valletta was unanimously named European Capital of Culture for 2018, by a jury of experts. The official declaration of the title is expected to take place at the next EU Council of Ministers meeting, in May 2013.

St John’s Co- Cathedral, is just one of Valletta’s most important buildings. Formerly the Conventual Church of the Knights of Malta, it has the only signed work and largest painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Valletta was badly hit by bombing during World War ll. Although severely bombed, Valletta rose again within a few years. Unfortunately one of its treasures mostly damaged was the former Royal Opera House which is situated right in the heart of the city. It is currently being restored.

The magic of Malta’s Capital City lies within it it. Valletta is a mirror of the past whilst keeping the pace of the future. It offers a walking tour through history and a true celebration of what culture and art are all about.

written by Katrin Risiott

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English vocabulary – Money money money

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Money – the one thing we cannot live without! We use money on a daily basis, sometimes we deposit money, on lucky days we win money whereas on unlucky ones we lose money. Here is a list of verbs which are commonly used with money.

Owe – when you are obliged to pay someone
Withdraw – to take money from the bank
Pay back – to repay money to someone
Inherit – to receive money when somebody has died
Borrow – to take/obtain money that you will return
Lend – to give money provided that it is given back to you
Donate – to give money without expecting it back
Earn – to gain money because you have worked for it
Save – keep money so that you can use it in the future
Spend– to pay/use money

Now start the quiz – good luck :-)

created by Tess Giordmaina

[ssquiz id=’19’ all]

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School activity: Let’s get quizzical

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Studying at home, alone, after a day of lessons at Maltalingua is highly useful but definitely boring especially for those who like to socialise. Maltalingua’s leisure team tries to hit two birds with one stone: combining fun events with academic activities.

There are many activities that go down well with our students. Karaoke and the Monday Munchies (which is a welcome party for new students and a get-together for students already in Malta) are the top two. Many people prefer a relaxed evening and a conversation over a drink or two in a quiet bar or restaurant. It is a great way for practicing English, although conversations tend to be limited. This is why we decided to create an event that stimulates enthusiastic arguments and conversations, in a relaxed atmosphere, so a regular quiz night found its way on our social calendar.

Preparation is the key for anything that needs to be done, but especially for an activity such as this. Thanks to encyclopaedias and search engines on the internet, I managed to compile two quizzes of 25 questions each and another quiz of 50 questions. I must admit it was quite fun for me to make up the questions. Rather ask, than answer!  But I tried to find interesting questions about topics that not only everybody knows about, but also encourage students to discuss in English, thus practicing the language in an enjoyable way. The quiz includes questions about music and general knowledge amongst other topics. Questions related to music are definitely popular, however many students argue about questions related to history and science. This is where the competitive streak shines through the students.

Students often contradict each other, making the event more colourful and vivacious. Some are louder than others and most of the time the atmosphere can easily be compared to a sports arena. It is entertaining, I must say. Students express themselves in ways they themselves never thought possible and this goes to show how a friendly relaxed atmosphere can bring out the best in people.

Sometimes I find it hard not to laugh when opinions vary but everybody wants to be the one with the right answer, even when the right answer is the wrong one, while the presumed wrong answer is the right one. It may sound confusing, I must admit that it sometimes is, but this doesn’t take away the entertainment that a quiz night makes.

So! Silence please and on for the first question: Penny, Lucy, Eleanor and Jude are names of women a particular band loves to sing about. Which band is this? Is it a) The Rolling Stones, b) The Darkness, c) The Beatles or is it d) The Who?

written by Katrin Risiott

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School activity: Maltalingua Pub Crawl

Language students going on a pub crawl
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Although our original plan was to go to the cinema, there was a unanimous decision to go for a Pub Crawl instead. There was no set plan as to where and when we wanted to go, but I guess that’s always the beauty of spontaneity!

After meeting a bunch of students in front of our school, we decided to head off to the nearest pub. We started with the chitchat and laughter, taking photos, and of course, drinking beer.  Some chatted about the past week and general small talk, whilst others preferred a deeper topic of conversation and philosophised about life –could it be that the beer was already kicking in? Perhaps! Either way, we were all enjoying ourselves a lot.

At one point Pura decided to join in with the photo-taking fun, only to realise that she had forgotten her camera battery in her apartment! Two hours passed in the blink of an eye, so everyone decided it was time to go to another pub to change the scenery of things.

We popped into an Irish pub in which the atmosphere was welcoming and everyone felt right at home, which was a suitable setting for us to resume our beer drinking and photo-taking. What’s more, Katrin and James gave us a surprise visit, and added to the fun and banter.

After an hour or so, everyone felt the need to change the scenery again, so we started walking to Paceville. Everyone wanted to go to a Shisha bar, where we all sat down on sizeable cushions and enjoyed the relaxing music. Many conversations later we decided to call it a night. I did have a bitter sweet feeling though, because it was the last week of quite a few students, and I had to bid them farewell and hope we will keep in touch and that our paths will cross again in the future.

written by Michaela Griscti

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Useful English expressions – Expression with ‘one’

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It was one of those days – Peter was having a really bad day at work, got caught in the rain, missed the bus – everything was going wrong, so after work he decided to go to the local pub for a beer- a quick one. There were some of his friends so a quick one turned into a one or two and before they knew it they became one too many.  That’s the night he met Emma. At first they were good friends but one thing led to another and they fell in love.

She is a lovely person – one in a million. When she saw Peter she liked him straightaway. He was her one and only. She loved him to bits because he had all the good qualities rolled into one – affectionate, charming, intelligent and funny. She always used to say “I hope he asks me to marry him one of these days” but unfortunately that never happened.

Due to work, he had to relocate to Australia and after a while they drifted apart. Now they are back to square one, back to being good friends.

created by Tess Giordmaina

[ssquiz id=’18’ all]

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School activity: Silence Please! Mdina Visit in Progress

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One of Maltalingua’s students’ favourite places to visit, is the old capital city, Mdina: the city of many names. The name Mdina originates from the Arabic word Medina, meaning The City of the Prophet. It was given this name during Arab reign.

Situated on a hill, Mdina, developed into a typical Medieval town, surrounded by bastions which were most probably first built by the Phoenicians around 700 BC. During the Phoenician reign, Mdina was called Maleth. Malta became a Municipium and the Roman Governor built his palace in Mdina when it was under the Roman Empire.

In this beautiful town bursting with history, buildings dating from the Norman period still survive and are well looked after. Mdina was further fortified during the Norman Empire when the Normans surrounded the city with thick defensive fortifications and a wider moat.

Nicknamed The Silent City, Mdina is inhabited by about 300 residents only. Traffic is limited very strictly to residents. This enchanting city has seen important ceremonies along the years, including the swearing in of each of the Grand Masters of the Order of St John (Knights of Malta).

In 1693, Malta was hit by a strong earthquake and parts of the city of Mdina had to be rebuilt. It was the time when the Baroque Design was being introduced and the “new” buildings eventually blended in with the city’s scape.

Today’s Mdina hosts many museums, which are all worth visiting. Most palaces serve as private residences but others, like Palazzo Falson, popularly known as the ‘Norman House’ is open for visitors.

The 18th century Magisterial Palace of Justice today hosts the Museum of Natural History. Originally housing the Università, (Local Government) in this museum some of the most historically important mineral and rock collections are found.  There are collections of birds, bird’s eggs and nests, mammals, fish species, local and exotic shells and insects.

Another important museum is the  impressive Cathedral dedicated to the  Conversion of St Paul which was almost totally destroyed in the earthquake. Less than 10 years after its collapse, a new baroque church was erected in its place.

What used to be the Magisterial Vilhena Palace, now houses The Mdina Dungeons. This audio visual presentation relates tales of the dark side of Malta’s history.

Narrow streets and alleys, along with charming cafeterias and a magnificent aerial view of Malta from its highest peak, Mdina is definitely a must see. No wonder, Maltalingua ensures it is on top of its activities agenda.

Written by Katrin Risiott

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English Grammar – Past Simple and Present Perfect

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Differences between these two tenses:

Past Simple

Present Perfect Simple

1) Used to talk about a finished action in the past 1) Used when an action is still happening
2) Used when one action happens after another 2) Used for an action that happened at an unknown time in the past (time is not mentioned)
3) Used to describe an experience
4) used for an action that happened in the past but influences the present
1) We travelled to Jamaica last year. 1) They have lived in Dubai for 6 years. (They still live there)
2) When Peter finished work, he called his friends and they all went to the beach. 2) I’ve already been to that museum, so I’m afraid you have to go on your own. (we don’t know when he/she visited the museum)
3) I’ve been to Mexico twice (in my life, up to now)
4) I have lost my keys (the keys are still missing)
Key words

  • yesterday
  • 2 days ago
  • last week/month/year
  • in 2006
Key words

  • so far
  • up to now
  • just
  • already
  • yet
  • ever
  • recently/lately

Now try the following quiz to see how much you remember – good luck :-)

created by Tess Giordmaina

[ssquiz id=’17’ all]

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School activity: Valletta Waterfront by night

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As always, loads of students took heed of our eagerness and signed up for our celebratory end-of-the-week activity. This time round, we decided to meet a bit earlier than the last couple of times, so we would have more time to savour the beautiful night’s scenic views of Valletta’s traditional balconies and old architecture lit up by colourful lights.

We were seated at a restaurant on the Valletta waterfront by around 9pm, where everyone had a huge appetite, was ready to order food and devour their dishes! Some of us ordered burgers, others pasta, while a few picked a more nutritionally conscious dish of salad. I on the other hand, preferred to relish the picturesque view of the waterfront itself over a couple of glasses of sweet white wine. Despite the fact that we were a large number, everyone managed to mingle with each other at some point during the evening, and we took some photos, capturing our antics and merriment.

After dinner and drinks we had ample time to walk it off, breathe in the fresh air and admire the other restaurants around (perhaps the next time we plan a similar event we could pick another restaurant). Jazz music was playing in the background as we strolled by the sea absorbing the pictorial buildings and vibrant façades of the buildings us Maltese are so proud of. It is really no wonder Valletta was recently named Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2018.  Sadly the night came to an end quite quickly, and it was time to say goodbye to the beautiful Maltese city. It’s really true what they say –time flies when you’re having fun!

Written by Michaela Griscti

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English vocabulary – Daily routines

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wake up

get up


have a shower

brush my teeth


get dressed

do my homework


have dinner

wash the dishes


watch TV

feed the cats

Now start the quiz – good luck :-)

created by Tess Giordmaina

[ssquiz id=’16’ all]

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Malta experience report by our student Cedric Purr

Maltalingua Student
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Malta the little big planet!

I just stayed 5 weeks in Malta, but honestly it was amazing. Even if Malta is such a small island, it was the right decision to practise my English in this country.  There are so many different aspects why I would come back to this wonderful place. Firstly the weather is one of the main reasons. In 5 weeks there was not any rain. The sun was shining every day, while I was laying on the beach under the royal blue sky.

But there is not just the sea. It is also allowed to swim in the school pool of Maltalingua. I had a lot of fun especially every Monday when the directors and the teachers just wanted to swim.

There were also the English lessons with my teachers Katrin, Mariella and Ilene. At the first day I had to show my fantastic skills   in a kind of test. So you can find out your English level. My level was B2, so Katrin was my teacher in the morning. First every student was very quiet, but our teacher tried to speak to every student. So I had not any chance!

Speaking is a very important point in that small language school. Therefore it is very easy to find new friends and meet interesting people from all over the world. We were like a big community or family (also the teacher). In fact the school is very small, but especially this fact is a big advantage of Maltalingua. You are not just a number of many people …you are the number! The number ONE! While I stayed in Malta I knew every person from the school.

Back to the topic! In the lessons there are not only discussions. We also took a view on grammar or pronunciation. We worked in teams or pairs and had a lot of fun.

When the sun goes down, Malta shows its nightlife. I remember really funny karaoke nights with Yutaka, Dino, Katrin, Michael, Susanne, Michaela, Tess and many other people. After karaoke we usually went to the clubs and bars. And after that to McDonalds. That was incredible!!!

All in all there are too many places you have to visit. Comino and the blue lagoon was a highlight, the different beaches and Valletta were also great. But there are much more interesting places I did not visit. So I have to come back someday. Thanks everyone for such a great time. I am still missing my Maltese family. See you soon.

Student details

Name: Cedric Purr
Study time:
5 weeks (July/August 2012)
General English Intensive (30 lessons per week)
English level (at start of course):
Upper Intermediate (B2)
English level (at end of course):
Advanced (C1+)

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