Introduction

This is the Maltese-language spelling dictionary. Note that the project itself refers to the creation of the dictionary of Maltese-language words, as well as the custom-made online spell checker. On your computer, other open-source software such as Hunspell, aspell or ispell is used.

The easiest way to use the spelling dictionary is via our online spell check. This allows you to check your spelling withough downloading anything. If you have a large amount of text to check, you may want to consider downloading an extension for your word processor, or using it system-wide. Most of the rest of this documentation covers this.

Keyboard Layout

Regardless of how you choose to use the spell checker, you will need to be able to type characters in Maltese first. The spelling checker uses the Unicode characters ġ, ħ, ż and ċ. The old Maltese-specific fonts (such as Tornado) will not work with this spelling dictionary. Setting your keyboard layout depends on your system. Below are instructions for how you can enable Maltese characters on Android, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows.

Enabling Maltese keyboard on Android

Follow these steps to enable the Maltese keyboard layout on Android devices.

Note: These instructions are for 'stock' Android. Your device manufacturer may have changed the user interface such that some of these steps are different. In such cases, the instructions will be similar, but refer to your device documentation for more information.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the System option.
  3. Go to Languages & Input.
  4. Go to Languages.
  5. Choose Add a language and choose Malti from the list.
  6. After clicking the back arrow, you should see your language settings have changed.
  7. You can now use the Maltese keyboard in apps that support it (which should be most apps, including Chrome so you can use the online spell checker). To use the Maltese keyboard, tap the world icon.
  8. The keyboard will switch between available languages.
  9. Your system may also have a built-in spelling checker provided by Android, which makes typing Maltese very easy!

Enabling Maltese keyboard on iOS

Follow these steps to enable the Maltese keyboard layout on iOS devices.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the General option and choose Keyboard.
  3. Tap on Keyboards
  4. Tap Add New Keyboard... and choose Maltese.
  5. You can now use the Maltese keyboard in any app. To use it, tap the world icon.
  6. The keyboard will switch between available languages.

Enabling Maltese keyboard on Linux

The following instructions are for GNOME 3-based desktops (Red Hat, Debian, Fedora, CentOS, Ubuntu, etc...). If you use another desktop environment, consult the documentation of your desktop environment for instructions.

  1. Open the settings application. by clicking on Activities and then typing settings.
  2. From settings, click on Region and Language, then click on the + sign.
  3. Choose Maltese, and if prompted, choose Maltese again.
  4. A language switcher will appear in your notifications area. Click it to switch between your normal language and Maltese.
  5. You can now use Maltese in any Linux application.

Enabling Maltese keyboard on macOS

Follow these steps to enable the Maltese keyboard layout on macOS.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on Language and Region.
  3. A list of preferred languages will be displayed. Click on the + icon to add a new language.
  4. Search for Malti, choose the appropriate entry, and click Add.
  5. macOS will ask whether you want to set Maltese as the default language for your applications. Choose your preference.
  6. An icon showing your current language will be displayed. Click on this icon to switch to Maltese.

Enabling Maltese keyboard on Windows

Follow these steps to enable the Maltese keyboard layout on Windows.

  1. Open PC Settings using Start > Settings (gear icon).
  2. Click Time & Language, then click Language.
  3. From Preferred Languages, click the Add a preferred language button.
  4. Search for Malti, select it, then click Next, followed by Install. The lagnauge will now download and install.
  5. You can now switch to the Maltese keyboard layout from the task bar.

LibreOffice

LibreOffice is an open-source and 100% free office suite, including LibreOffice Writer which is a fully-featured word processor. As LibreOffice is fully featured, works on Linux, macOS and Windows, and has native support for our dictionary format, this method is the easiest way of checking large amounts of text using our spelling dictionary. If you do not have LibreOffice, you can download it for free from https://www.libreoffice.org. Note that the instructions below should also work for Apache OpenOffice 3.2 or later, however this is untested.

Once you have downloaded LibreOffice, follow these steps to enable Maltese spell-checking.

  1. Download our spelling dictionary from here. This download includes the LibreOffice extension.
  2. Unzip/Extract the download. This will create a folder Maltese_Spellcheck, within which you will find a libreoffice folder.
  3. Open LibreOffice. Now click Tools > Extension Manager and click Add.
  4. Browse to the location where you unzipped/extracted the Maltese spell-checker. Go to the libreoffice-mt folder and choose the file called maltese-dictionary.oxt. Then click Open.
  5. You will be asked whether you want to install this extension for you, or for all other users. If you are the only user of this computer, or you are unsure what to do, choose the Only for me option.
  6. The extension will be loaded and displayed in the extension manager.
  7. Click Close. LibreOffice will prompt you to restart. You will need to restart LibreOffice before you can use the Maltese spelling dictionary extension.

You now have the Maltese dictionary extension installed. Let's go through checking some text.

  1. Create a new Writer Document.
  2. Write some text in Maltese. Your text will be marked as incorrect.
  3. We need to tell LibreOffice that this is a Maltese document. To do so, click Tools > Options if you are using Linux or Windows, or click LibreOffice > Preferences if you are using macOS. Then, choose the Languages option under Language Settings.
  4. Under Default Languages for Documents, choose Maltese. Unless most of the documents you write are in Maltese, you will also want to check the For the current document only check box.
  5. Your document text is now in Maltese, and you are using the Maltese spelling dictionary.

If you have a mixed-language document, you can mark specific paragraphs as Maltese, English or any other language by going to Tools > Language > For Paragraph.

Microsoft Word

Maltese is not inclued as a spelling language in Microsoft Word. However, an Add-In is provided to allow spell checking in Microsoft Word versions 2010 to 2019. If you know how to create Microsoft Office extensions and want to give us a hand (especially making it a native dictionary), check out the contributing page.

Note: Unfortunately, the Add-In is not currently supported on the macOS versions of Microsoft Word.

  1. Download and install the Visual Studio 2010 Tools for Office Runtime from here.
  2. Download our spelling dictionary from here. This download includes the Microsoft Office Add-In.
  3. Unzip/Extract the download. This will create a folder Maltese_Spellcheck, within which you will find a msoffice-mt folder.
  4. Enter this folder, where you will find two setup files. Use MalteseSpellCheckSetup.msi if you have a 32-bit version of Microsoft Word, or use MalteseSpellCheckSetup64.msi if you have a 64-bit version of Microsoft Word.
  5. If you know what version of Microsoft Word you have, you can skip this step. Otherwise, open Microsoft Word and create a Blank document. Then click File > Account and click About Word. You will be able to determine which version of Word you have here.
  6. Double-click on the relevant file to start installation.
  7. Follow instructions.

The Add-In should now be installed. Let's try it out.

  1. Open Microsoft Word and create a new blank document.
  2. Make sure you're using the Maltese keyboard layout (see above).
  3. Type a sentence in Maltese. Word should automatically set the language to Maltese. You may be shown a warning about missing proofing tools, which you can safely ignore.
  4. To check your spelling, go to Add-ins > Maltese Spell Checker.
  5. Incorrectly spelled words will be highlighted and can be changed, similar to when using a normal spell check.

Using the spelling checker on Linux

Note: If you want to use the spell checker in LibreOffice, follow the instructions above. The following should be used if you want to install the spell checker as a system-wide spell checker.

Note 2: Although every effort has been made to simplify the process as much as possible, this section is intended for technical users.

The Maltese spelling dictionary is available for Hunspell, aspell and ispell. This guide assumes you are using Hunspell. The first step is to ensure that you have Hunspell installed on your system. First open a terminal (Activities, then type terminal if using GNOME 3), then:

On a Red Hat-based system (Red Hat Enterprise Linux/CentOS/Fedora etc...) run:

sudo yum install hunspell

On a Debian-based system (Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint/Pop_OS etc...) run:

sudo apt install hunspell

Next, we need to find out where Hunspell is looking for dictionaries. Run:

hunspell -D

This will produce output similar to the following, showing a list of directories where hunspell looks for dictionaries:

One of the directories will probably be /usr/share/hunspell. If not, pick any other directory from the above list. Next, download the Maltese spelling dictionary. Now, within the directory where you downloaded the ZIP file:

unzip Maltese_Spellcheck*.zip
sudo cp Maltese_Spellcheck/hunspell-mt/mt_MT.aff /usr/share/hunspell/
sudo cp Maltese_Spellcheck/hunspell-mt/mt_MT.dic /usr/share/hunspell/

We can now test it:

echo "Jien inħobb il-Malti! Dan żball aposta" > testfile.txt
hunspell -d mt_MT testfile.txt
aposta

Using the spelling checker on macOS

Note: If you want to use the spell checker in LibreOffice, follow the instructions above. The following should be used if you want to install the spell checker as a system-wide spell checker.

Note 2: Although every effort has been made to simplify the process as much as possible, this section is intended for technical users.

The Maltese spelling dictionary is available for Hunspell, aspell and ispell. This guide assumes you are using Hunspell. The first step is to ensure that you have Hunspell installed on your system. First open a terminal (Applications > Terminal), then:

  1. If you already have Homebrew installed, skip to the next step. Otherwise, head over to https://brew.sh. The page will display a command which you can paste in your terminal to install homebrew. Copy this command, paste it in the terminal window, and press ENTER.
  2. When Homebrew has finished installing, type the following:
  3. brew install hunspell
  4. Homebrew will download and install Hunspell. Wait for the installation to finish.
  5. Now download the spelling dictionary and unzip the file if necessary. Assuming you have downloaded to your Downloads folder, go back to the Terminal and type the following:
  6. cd ~/Downloads
    sudo cp Maltese_Spellcheck*/hunspell-mt/mt_MT.dic /Library/Spelling/ sudo cp Maltese_Spellcheck*/hunspell-mt/mt_MT.aff /Library/Spelling/
  7. You have now installed the dictionary. Let's try it in TextEdit. Open TextEdit, and type a Maltese sentence.
  8. Now go to Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Show spelling and grammar. Switch the language to Maltese.
  9. You now have Maltese spell checking in TextEdit.

Using the spelling checker on Windows

Note: If you want to use the spell checker in Microsoft Office or LibreOffice, follow the instructions above. The following should be used if you want to install the spell checker as a system-wide spell checker.

Note 2: Although every effort has been made to simplify the process as much as possible, this section is intended for technical users.

Unfortunately, the spell checker is not available in native Microsoft Windows format. However, you can still use the spell checker on Windows via Hunspell. You can then either use Hunspell from a command prompt, or via a Windows application that supports Hunspell, such as emacs.

  1. The easiest (and arguably only working) method to install the latest version of Hunspell is to use the chocolatey package manager. So, we'll need to begin by installing that. Go to Start > Windows PowerShell, then right-click on Windows PowerShell and choose Run as Administrator.
  2. Type the following:
  3. Get-ExecutionPolicy
  4. If it says Restricted you will need to type:
  5. Set-ExecutionPolicy AllSigned
  6. Type y to accept. Now copy and paste the following line into PowerShell, and press ENTER.
  7. Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))
  8. Now install Hunspell:
  9. choco install hunspell.portable
  10. Type y to confirm when prompted.
  11. Now download the spelling dictionary and unzip the file. From the downloaded folder, go to the hunspell-mt folder within, and copy the mt_MT.aff and mt_MT.dic files.
  12. Open file explorer (Start > Documents (icon)) and go to C: (or your primary drive). Now create a folder called Hunspell and paste the two files you copied in the previous step within.
  13. We can now test the spell checker.
  14. echo aposta | hunspell -a -d mt_MT
  15. Note that when testing files, you must set encoding to ISO-8859-3 or UTF-8.

About this spelling dictionary

The Maltese spelling dictionary project was started in 2004 by the late Ramon Casha. The aim of the spelling dictionary is to allow the Maltese public, and any other Maltese writer, to check their spelling free of charge. The Maltese spelling dictionary is free, and will always be free. This is enshrined by the GNU Lesser General Public license used by this project, which not only ensures that the software will remain free of charge, but also open-source; i.e. available for everyone to download and modify as they wish.

The project has three main aims:

  • To develop and maintain a Maltese word list and associated files for currently available spell checkers.
  • To provide an online spelling checker to lower the barrier of entry for anyone wishing to check their spelling.
  • To promote the use of the spell checker and other Maltese-language related tools, because Maltese should be a first-class language.

Since 2004, the spelling dictionary has been hosted and maintained by the Malta Linux User Group. This is mainly due to the fact that the creator of the spelling dictionary was also the person who set up the group. In 2019, it was decided to update the spell checker to work on modern operating systems and browsers, and to further promote the project. This work was created by Keith Vassallo, who created this website and the new online spelling checker, updated the spelling dictionary to use Hunspell, created a new LibreOffice extension and works to further promote and enhance the spelling checker.

This dictionary is provided "as-is" and without warranty. Although we strive to fix errors in the word list, we are not professional linguists and hence this spelling checker should NOT be used as the basis of any legal documents without additional checking. The word list for the dictionary was sourced from the Laws of Malta, the German-Maltese lexicon, the electoral register of Malta and other various webites.

The vast majority of the work that has gone into this project was made by Ramon Casha, who sadly passed away in January 2017.

Ramon was more than just a programmer. Besides creating the spelling dictionary, Ramon was also the founder of both the Malta Linux User Group, as well as the Malta Humanists Association. He spoke fervently about civil liberties including divorce, same-sex marriage, emergency contraception, LGBTIQ+ rights and human rights in general. In the words of the MHA, "He was also a generous philanthropist, a committed social activist, an invaluable contributor to informed public debate, a tireless champion of secularism, and a voice of reason who will be sorely missed".

This entire project is dedicated to the memory of Ramon. The author of this document considered Ramon a mentor and a friend, as did all of his friends in the Malta Linux User Group.