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TUNISIA
Language

Language

Inscription in French and Arabic medical faculty TunisiaInscription in French and Arabic medical faculty TunisiaPhoto: Aymen Fersi CC 4.0 International no changes made

The official language is Arabic, the spoken form of which is very different from the written language. The colloquial language in Tunisia is an Arabic dialect that may vary slightly depending on the region. Classical Arabic script is written from right to left and only consonants and long vowels are written. French is still widely used in administration and commerce and by the older generation. The younger generation feels more at home with Classical Arabic. Moreover, it is the language of higher education. Many words are derived from Turkish, a result of 250 years of Ottoman influence. Berber has almost completely disappeared and is mixed with Arabic.

Some pronunciation rules of Arabic:

Tunisian ArabicTunisian ArabicPhoto: Nguyenhuunhien CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

There is no fixed spelling for Arabic words. The names are written as they are pronounced. Aqaba can therefore be spelled just as well as Aqaba.

The Arabic script is written from right to left and consists of 28 consonants. Vowels are not written and this creates different Latin spellings for one and the same word. Arabic numerals are written from left to right.

Some words and phrases:

EnglishArabic
Onewahed, vrouwelijk: wahda
Twoetnen
threetalata
Ten‘ashra
Hunredmeyya
thousand‘alf
Sundayyom el had
Wednesdayyom el ’arba’
Yes‘aywa
Nola’
Summersef
Wintersheta
Where is the hotel?fen el fondok?
What time is it?essa’a kam?
What is your name?‘esm-ak ‘ak? (man)
What is your name?‘esm-ek ‘eh? (vrouw)
HDo yoy have change?‘andokom fakka?

Sources

Dominicus, J. / Tunesië
Gottmer

Ruland-Wachters, T. / Reishandboek Tunesië
Elmar

Tunesië
Standaard

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2022
Copyright: Team The World of Info