Tunisian Arabic is a variety of Maghrebi Arabic spoken in Tunisia by about 11.2 million people. It has similiarities to Algerian Arabic and Libyan Arabic, and is closely realated to Maltese. It differs significantly from Modern Standard Arabic, and while its vocabulary is mainly Arabic. it has a significant substratum of Berber words, and also loanwords from French, Turkish, Italian and Spanish.
Tunisian Arabic is spoken in Tunisian homes and businesses, and is used in television programmes, films and plays, however standard Arabic is the language of education, literature and news programmes and newspapers. There is very little literature in Tunisian Arabic, and it is mainly written with the Arabic script.
The Elyssa Alphabet was invented by Ramzi Hachani as a way to write Tunisian Arabic with the Latin alphabet. It is based on the Maltese alphabet with the addition of 3 letters with diacritics. It was first published in September 2015, and finalised in December of the same year.
More information about the Elyssa Alphabet
Ṡàħib il-lsènìn magħdùd b’cnìn
L’homme qui parle deux langues compte pour deux hommes
Kucrat il-klèm tŧayyaħ il-ħurme w kucrat iđ-đweeq tnaqqiṡ il-burme
L’abondance du langage diminue la considération, de même que la fréquence de la dégustation diminue (le contenue de) la marmite
Ewwel hbèl illi yagħŧi bint għammu l’ir-rjèl ; cèni hbèl illi yaŧlaà l’is-sùq blèċ mèl ; cèlic hbèl illi ygħànid iṡ-ṡyùde fi rùs ij-jbèl ; ràbigħ hbèl illi ygħàrik w me għle ktèfu rjèl
Première folie : laisser épouser sa cousine germaine par des étrangers ; – Deuxième folie : aller au marché sans avoir de l’argent sur soi ; – Troisième folie : attaquer les lions sur la cime des montagnes ; – Quatrième folie : entamer une lutte sans avoir des soutiens
In-nès il-kull muludìn ħurrìn w mitsèwìn fi’l-karàme w’il-ħuqùq. Tagħŧàw għqal w żamìr w lèzim ygħàmlu bgħażhum kìf l-axwa.
(il-bend l-uwwil mtagħ l-igħlèn il-għàlemi mtagħ ħuqùq l-insèn)
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about the Elyssa Alphabet and sample texts supplied by Ramzi Hachani
Tunisian Arabic phrases
A proposal for a standard written Maghrebi Arabic
Akkadian, Amharic, Arabic (Algerian), Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Hassaniya), Arabic (Lebanese), Arabic (Modern Standard), Arabic (Moroccan), Arabic (Syrian), Aramaic, Argobba, Assyrian / Neo-Assyrian, Canaanite, Chaha, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Ge'ez, Hadhramautic, Harari, Hebrew, Himyaritic, Jewish Neo-Aramaic, Maltese, Mandaic, Nabataean, Neo-Mandaic, Phoenician, Punic, Qatabanic, Sabaean, Sabaic, Silt'e, Syriac, Tigre, Tigrinya, Turoyo, Ugaritic, Western Neo-Aramaic
Page last modified: 19.05.21
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