The official language spoken in Tunisia is Arabic, and French is also widely understood by the local population; in fact, it’s the unofficial second language. But did you know that the majority of people speak a dialect known as Tunisian Arabic? This is a specific variety of Maghrebi Arabic, and is known by its 11 million speakers as ‘Tounsi’.
Tunisian Arabic, which is mainly written with the Arabic script, is heavily influenced by those who have lived in or ruled the region throughout history. It represents a mix of languages including Algerian Arabic and Lybian Arabic, with many words borrowed from Turkish, Italian, French and Spanish. It’s also closely related to Maltese. Tunisian Arabic is used in the home and in businesses, as well as TV programmes, but standard Arabic is the language of education, literature and newspapers.
It can be a good idea to make sure you know a few simple phrases before you head off on your holiday, like ‘thank you’ and ‘good morning’ in Arabic. We’re here to make sure your Tunisian language is up to scratch, so let’s take a closer look at some of the most common phrases listed below.
Just click on the green icons to hear how they’re pronounced and remember to practice your Tunisian language skills before you head off.