RAF Takali or RAF Ta Qali

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Continuing on the subject of terminology. Last night I have received an email from my colleague Anders Svennevik concerning the Defence of Malta chapter ...

Continuing on the subject of terminology. Last night I have received an email from my colleague Anders Svennevik concerning the Defence of Malta chapter of the book. Receiving this type of in-depth critique is a luxury which I would have very hard to obtain by other means than on the web. Thanks Anders, the relevant portions of the text will be duly corrected!

Hi Martin,

I have just read the article about Malta with great interest, especially as I lived on the island in the beginning of 1970s.

The name of the capital is spelled Valletta (with double ‘l’ and double ‘t’) both in English and Maltese, and should not be prefixed with ‘La’. The guy that christened the city – grand master of the Order of St. John – was Jean Parisot de la Valette.

Grand Harbour is not located ‘in’ Valletta. Valletta occupies the land massif north-east of the harbour, further ‘in’. On the south side are the Three Cities of Cospicua, Senglea och Vittoriosa. Located furthest in the harbour area are The Dry Docks, formerly belonging to Royal Navy, nowadays a commercial enterprise. Cargo ships were most often unloaded here, at the southern side of the Grand Harbour.

The English replaced, very inconsequently at times, Q with K in their spelling of Malta locations. In Maltese the correct name of the airfield is Ta Qali, while the English used both Takali and Ta Qali. Luqa is spelled identically in both languages, but not Qrendi (Krendi).

It could seem a bit pedantic to moan about the difference between Q and K but phonetically there is a large difference. The English pronounce K as a hard K such as “key”. Q in Maltese is a glottal stop consonant, meaning the sound made when the vocal cords are suddenly pressed together to stop the flow of air and then released.”

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