Taqbiliet Maltin (Maltese rhymes)

Thanks go to Joan Psaila for her contributions, 89 at time of first writing.

To submit a rhyme or tongue twister for inclusion, email j@lidram.com

Some tongue twisters were thanks to: http://www.uebersetzung.at/twister/mt.htm

The translations are, where possible, meaningful translations not literal.

Taqbiliet Maltin (Maltese Ryhmes)

Darba waħda sparat bomba, 

tal-fajjenza x’qata ħa,

l-iskarpan telaq ix-xifa,

qattus nantek kemm int gifa.

X’marru jgħidula l-ommi, 

li ninnamra mal-gadlajja,

allavolja xhebba kera,

guvintur gerrejt warajja.

Hear what they’ve told my mum, 

That I frequent the port people.

Even though an ugly lady,

I had gentlemen courting me

Mananni tibża’ xejn, 

nigi għalik bil-lejl,

ngħalaqlek kullimkien,

u nkeċċilek id-dubbien.

Dawra durella, 

qasba żagarella,

ħija l-abatija,

bil-mustaċċi u s-sidrija.

Tar-rizzi waqa’ il-baħar, 

Tal-imħar qabeż għalih,

Tar-rizzi tela’ jiġri,

Tal-imħar baqa’ fil-qiegħ.

Ħanini mar Buġibba, 

W’minn hemm ma jigix b’ġibda

Ħanini mar Bufies,

Minn hemm ma jiġux nies.

Qalbi w qalb ħanini waħda, 

b’żagarella marbutin,

Il-mewt trid tkun għalina,

biex tifridna minn xulxin.

Ċuff ċuff il-baħar, 

ommi mir-raħal,

missieri miż-Żejtun,

x’tara ħmara w karettun.

Il-karettun ma jiswa xejn,

Il-ħmara tiswa habtejn.

Ajma ma gidimi dudu, 

fejn gidimni ma ngħidlekx,

gidimni banda ħażina,

taħt iċ-ċinta tad-dublett.

Ouch mama I was bitten by an insect. 

I won’t tell you where it bit me.

It bit me in a wrong place,

Under the skirt’s waist.

Ajma qalbi kemm hi sewda, 

gie il-bajjad ibajjadieli.

Saddli it-toqob kollha,

u ta’ wara ħallijieli.

Oh my heart is so black (sad), 

I asked a painter to colour it up.

He plastered all the holes,

But left open my back one.

Ħanini mar u ħallieni, 

issa x’namel biex ninkieh?

Naqbad ieħor aħjar minnu,

W’minn quddiemu ngħaddi bih.

My love left me, 

What shall I do to tease him?

I will find one better than him,

And with him pass in front of him.

X’dawl ta’ qamar tela’ il-lejla, 

Caqqufa hsibta xelin.

W’in-nies tat-Triq il-Gdida,

Kollha borom imgiddmin.

What bright moonlight there is tonight, 

I mistook a piece of pottery for a penny.

And all the road’s people,

Have very dirty pots

Rasi kuruna, 

mħadda salib,

min iħobb il-bambin ċkejken…

O Gesu` tini l-pacenzja, 

U mal-pacenzja tini l-flus.

Mal-flus tini d-dota`,

U mad-dota` tini l-gharus.

Oh please Jesus give me patience, 

And with patience give me money.

With money give me dowry,

And with dowry give me a man.

Għandi żaqqi kemm tugani, 

Kilt il-għeneb mhux misjur,

Iddendilt  mal-kannizzata,

Qisni l-kelb tal-kaċċatur.

I have stomach ache 

I ate unripe grapes

I climbed onto the woodwork

Like a hunter’s dog

Missieri w ommi keċċewni, 

Jiena qbadt il-bieb u ħrigt,

Kif ilwejt il-kantuniera,

Tajtu l-kelma w iżżewwigt.

Mum and dad chased me out 

I took to the door and left

Just as I turned the corner

I gave him my word and married

Iż-żunżana ddur ddur, 

Fuq il-bejt tal-gvernatur,

Meta tasal fuq il-mina,

Tamel Pim, Pam, Pum.

The bee goes round and round, 

On the major’s rooftop.

When it arrives under the tunnel,

It makes a loud noise Pin, Pam, Pum.

Xi ħlew dawk l-għajnejn ċelestini,, 

Kemm jixbħu l-baħar bnazzi,

Jekk iddur id-dinja kollha,

Ma ssibx oħra tħobbok daqsi.

How sweet those light blue eyes 

So alike to calm seas

Had you to tour the entire world

You won’t find another who loves you as much

Zija Mer urini l-bloomer, 

Zija Mer għidli kemm hu,

Zija Mer għidli m’nejn xtrajtu,

Ħalli nixtri wieħed Blu.

Auntie Mary lift your underskirt, 

Auntie Mary how much does it cost?

I want to buy one like it,

I want to buy a blue one.

Il-kitarra ta’ ħanini, 

Ġo fiha daħal ġurdien.

Ma kellux min jaqbadulu,

Daħħalt idi w’qbadtu jien.

Ħanini beċċun bajdani, 

Kull fejn imur iżoqquwuli.

Puh għalih għal żaqqu jagħmel,

Għad xi darba joqtluwuli.

Taqbiliet ta’ Żmien il-gwerra

Iqallbu il-ġebel, 

Jisirqu l-enemel,

Tad-demolition

Jidħlu gil-kcina, 

Jisirqu l-għaġina,

Tal- Victory Kitchen.

Għanjiet Maltin għat-tfal (Maltese ċhildren’s songs)

Lanċa gejja w’oħra sejra, 

Minn tas-Sliema għal Marsamxett,

Il-kaptan  bil-pipa f’ħalqu,

Jidderigi l-bastiment.

Sewwa sewwa f’nofs ta’  baħar,

Il-kaptan ħassu ħażin,

Ma kellux min idur miegħu,

Daru miegħu il-baħrin.

…(x2)

Għamillu karta,

Għamillu karta,

Għamillu karta għal tax-xjuħ.

Xolji lingwa Maltin (Maltese Tongue twisters)

Toni tagħna tani tina, 

Talli tajtu tuta tajba.

Trid tarah lil Toni tagħna

tiela’ it-tela tat-Tintillu.

‘Ta’ Toni, tin tlieta tonn.

Tatinix tonn tinten, tin tonn tajjeb,

ta’ Ton.’

Our Tony gave me a round fig, 

because I gave him a good berry.

You should see our Tony

going up the Tintillu hill.

‘Hey Ton, give me 3 tuna fish.

Don’t give me smelly tuna, give me good tuna,

please Ton.’

Jhonny Ponta kellu ponta, 

fil-ponta tal-ponta ta’ mnieħru.

Jhonny Ponta deffes il ponta tal-labra,

fil-ponta tal-ponta ta’ mnieħru.

Jhonny Ponta mingħajr il-ponta, deher aħjar.

Hawha hamra mhawwla fil-hamrija hamra ta’ Harara A red peachtree planted in red soil of (the village) of Hararaw.
Il-pespus pespes tpespisa, 

U mat-pespisa tal-pespus,

Il-pespusa pespset.

The male pipit hissed a hiss, 

And, on the male pipit’s hiss,

The female pipit hissed.

Tqahqaht tqahqieqa u t-tqahqieha li tqahqaht kienet tqahqieha kbira. I coughed a cough and the cough that I coughed was a big cough.
Luqa mlaqqam il-laaqi laaq-laaqa il-qara li qala u-qela bil-għaqal. Luke nicknamed the Toady licked the gourd which he picked and fried carefully.
Ir-re ta’ Batti Platti, 

mar biex jixtri l-platti ċatti;

mela f’Batti Platti m’andux platti ċatti

biex mar jixtri l-platti ċatti

bod minn artu Batti Platti.

The King of Clinking Plates went to buy some plain plates; So in Clinking Plates he didn’t get plain plates. If he went to buy plain plates away from his homeplace Clinking plates.
Ir-re ta’ l-Ingilterra, gie Malta jixtri t-terra 

Mela fl-Ingilterra m’hemmx terra

Biex ir-re ta’ l-Ingilterra,

gie Malta jixtri t-terra

The King of England came to Malta to buy baby powder. Why did the King of England had to visit Malta to buy baby powder? Isn’t there any baby powder in England then?
Patri minn Napli mar Kapri għall-papri 

Mela f’Napli m’hemmx papri

Biex patri minn Na

pli mar Kapri għall-papri

The monk from Naples went to Capri to get ducks. Why did the Monk from Naples had go to Capri to get ducks? Aren’t there any ducks in Naples then?
Qafas tal-qasab imdendel mas-saqaf A cage made of reeds hanging from the ceiling.
Platt fuq platt, platt taht platt. A plate on top of a plate, a plate underneath a plate.
Tapp itik hu, tapp ittik hu. He gives you a lid, she gives you a lid.
Gorg raga’ gà mill-gagga tal-ggant. George came back already from the cage of the giant.
Trakk fuq trakk. Trakk taht trakk. Truck on a Truck, Truck under a Truck
Dari rari tara re: tara lira tara re. In old times you would rarely see a king: when you see a pound-note, you would see a king.

21 thoughts on “Taqbiliet Maltin (Maltese rhymes)

  1. i am trying to tell a friend about a maltese rhyme about Ciku – but i cannot spell or write in maltese – but it was about Ciku who fell out the window and fell on his head and broke something etc etc
    please help me

    Tania

    • Me again. This must be what you are looking for.

      Wiehed tnejn tlieta,
      Pacikk qabes mit-tieqa.
      Gie fuq blata,
      Wegga il-patata.
      Mar ghand ommu,
      Caqcqitomlu.
      Mar ghand misieru,
      Kissirlu snienu.
      Mar ghand it-tabib,
      Garalu bott halib.

    • Wieħed tnejn tlieta,
      Paċik qabeż mit-tieqa.
      Ġie fuq blata, weġgħa’ il-patata.
      Mar għand ommu, ċapċapthomlu.
      Mar għand missieru, kisirlu sninu.
      Mar għand ir-re, garalu gabarrè.
      Mar għand ir-Regina, garatlu kuċċarina.
      Mar għand it-tabib, diliklu l-butir.
      Ħaduh l-isptar, għattewh bl-liżar.
      Ħallewlu ż-żokkra barra u kielilu d-dundjan.

  2. Pingback: Taqbiliet u Rimar Malti « Mardil, son of Vorondil, first ruling steward of Gondor

  3. My grand parents used to put me on there knees and sing a song. I can’t write in Maltese but this is the best i can do: Buni bonotsi, ja nunu ja. Toroso (childs name) an (other childs name) Montosay. Thats what I remember. Please help me!!!!!

  4. When I was a kiddie (some 40+ years ago!) I was taught a little song in Maltese and I would love to have the proper words (both Maltese and English) if possible; does anyone recognise a little song that looks (or might sound) something like this:

    Kul filghodu, kmieni, kmieni, titla tpespes fuq il-bejt
    Jew inkella, tixraq tghani, fuq il-bejta li tkum bnejt

    That’s purely from memory – apologies if it’s rubbish, bad or ridiculous – that’s what I remember it sounding like and though I speak 8 languages, I only learned and spoke a little Maltese when I lived there, and I never learned to write it ever so am hopeful that my phonetics are okay-enough for you good people to be able to recognise the song, which I think is a nursery rhyme or similar (a 6-year-old taught me it!).

    Many thanks in advance.

    Kazzy (who has a piece of Malta in her heart)

  5. Do you know the ryme/tongue twister about Pawlu Pawlu??? It was about a man named Paul and they shot him under the bed.. Everyone used to say it to me when I was a little boy.. I would love to know it.. Thank you Paul Grech

    • Hi Chantelle, I remember another version of this but unfortunately I cannot write in maltese. I will explain it in English if you like.

      Nannu xih
      Nannu xih
      Look, you have dropped your key (muftih)
      Don’t bend down to pick it up, I will pick it up for you.
      ……And I don’t know the last sentence.
      I’ve lived in Australia since 1963 and although I can read Maltese, I cannot write it anymore.

      Jane

  6. Jiena ghandi 24 sena u ghandi tifla ta 5 u tifel ta 8 xhur it tifla tafhom bl ammet u t tifel meta nejduhomlu tghidx kemm jidhaq u jfaqqa d dahq

  7. Does anyone know of a song called something like “dhaisa battea”; it mentioned something about a mouse and a lizard in a boat.
    I learned it as child and haven’t seen it since.

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