It’s no secret. Us Maltese have created our very own, very weird, version of the English language. Having a conversation with any native English speaker will lead to many ‘huh?’ moments, as we try to convince a person who has spoken the language all their lives that it’s not nail polish, it’s ‘cutix’.
One particular Maltese use for the word ‘training shoes’ has caught the attention of many, on popular Facebook group ‘The Salott’. Now technically speaking, we could use ‘trainers’, but no one really does… it seems like the real argument is whether it’s, ‘sneakers’ or ‘slippers’ … and no one can seem to agree on which one is the correct one.
Now growing up myself, whenever school was about to start, my mother would always take me to buy ‘slippers’, but it would seem that many on ‘The Salott’, over 600 to be exact, are arguing over whether slippers is used for training shoes or for bed slippers (which many have argued is the Maltese equivalent of ‘pappocc’.’
Comments quickly started flooding in with many locals and native English speakers giving their two cents about the situation.
“What’s in a word?” One user writes… “as long as you are understood, nevermind the word you use. We have our own local vocabulary and slipper just sounds fine to me.”
But not everyone agreed … “for me a papocc is a bed slipper and a slipper is the trainers – that’s how i was taught- I don’t know why it’s so dificult to explain the sense out of it.”
And comments just kept flooding in one after the other both in favour of and against the term ‘slipper’.
“Yes, in childhood we used the term slippers for running shoes and we used pappocc for bed slippers. Once our friends coming from Scotland asked us to bring us something, we asked for slippers, and we got the bed slippers.”
One user eloquently shares: “Sa fejn naf jien 20 sena ilu meta kont tifla, kulhadd papocc jew l-aktar trainers kien jghid…. Imma ilum sar hawn hafna KOKO.”
And there were no shortages of funny anecdotes either… “This always reminds me of when I was in year 1 or 2 and the teacher told us: “Gibu l-slipper maghkom go basket separat ghada” Went home to my English mother and told her, so she packed my slippers in a separate bag and next day when I went to school, I learned that “l-islipper” meant trainers, not bed slippers.”
“Once the son of a friend of mine took with him to school bed slippers instead of trainers as his teacher the day before asked them to get with them a pair of slippers”
This just cracked us up… “I’ve even heard people calling the shoe strippers…”
But no matter if you say slippers or sneakers, it seems like ‘slippers’ will always be ingrained in our language for some reason or another because many do use it.
“I’m Maltese and have always called them ‘slippers’. All the members in my family always did too and I remember P.E teachers and other kids at school did as well, so that’s why it’s ingrained in me,” one user added.