Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Tunisian/The Discussion with Abrahamic Faiths and other WMF users

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General Overview[edit]

Tunisian Arabic, or Tunisian (written in Tunisian as تونسي (Arabic Script) or Tounsi (Tunisian Arabizi)[1] local pronunciation: [ˈtuːnsi][2]), is a Maghrebi dialect of the Arabic language or Derja, spoken by some 11 million people in all Tunisia. That is why it is usually known by its own speakers as Derja, which means dialect, to distinguish it from Standard Arabic, or as Tounsi, which means "Tunisian". In the interior of the country it merges, as part of a dialect continuum, into Algerian Arabic and Libyan Arabic. Its morphology, syntax, pronunciation and vocabulary are quite different from Standard or Classical Arabic.[2] Tunisian Arabic, like other Maghrebi dialects, has a vocabulary mostly Arabic, with significant Berber and Punic substrates,[3] [4] as well as many words and loanwords borrowed from Berber,[3] French,[5] Turkish,[5] Italian[5] and Spanish.[5] As a Derja, Tunisian Arabic is intelligible to the speakers of Maghrebi Arabic, but it is hard to understand for middle eastern Arabic speakers.[3]

Due to multilingualism within Tunisia and due to all the different linguistic influences present in Tunisian Arabic as well as the Tunisian diaspora, it is not uncommon for Tunisian people to code-switch, mixing Tunisian, French, English, Arabic, and other languages into their daily speech.[6] Within some circles therefore Tunisian Arabic has integrated new French or English words, notably in technical fields, or replaced old French and Spanish ones with Standard Arabic words; more educated and upper-class people who make code-switching between Maghrebi Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic also have more French and Spanish loanwords.[6]

Moreover, Tunisian Arabic is also closely related to Maltese,[7] which is not considered to be a dialect of Arabic for sociolinguistic reasons.[8]

Tunisian Arabic had been always a field of research in Linguistics since 1893. That is why Houcemeddine Turki and Emad Adel proposed a Latin Standard Transcription Method and Software and a standard Arabic Script Tunisian Orthography based on the linguistic works of Al-Toma in 2015.

Further information could be found in: Tunisian Arabic in Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia

Arguments against Wikipedia Tunisian[edit]

  • This is not a language, in fact there is nothing called "Tunisian Language", its just a variation of Arabic, an Accent, its spoken not written. Even when its written its used only for advertisements to make them more appealing and closer to the public, but its not used in literature including newspapers, as well as news reports. No Tunisian (and Arab in general) no matter how bad he is in Arabic, can't understand literal Arabic. This is not something similar to "Simple English", it won't help even bigenners in Arabic! or the young Tunisian Audience for that matter (everyone is taught literal Arabic in schools!). No Arab official organization (even Tunisian organizations) admit any local Accent as a separate language, any Arab can understand a different Accent than his own (even the hardest accents if you just focus a little). Unless we are born with enough intelligence that we can understand a different language without learning it... That's in short really stupidباسم (talk) 13:13, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
باسم : I thank you for your comment and I advise you to see the discussion held in WikiArabia 2015 about Arabic Dialects... I did not say that Tunisian is a language. However, it is a divergent dialect...
As shown in the work about Tunisian Arabic, the interest in using Arabic dialects in Education is not very new. In fact, using the most intelligible variety to let people learn facts is more fructuous than letting them learn facts in the other varieties. People would not think about the meaning of the different structures and will only have to learn facts. --Csisc (talk) 13:26, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
*Sigh* The eternal "this-is-not-a-language-but-a-dialect"-mantra. Basm, have you even noticed how many vernaculars have their own Wikipedias? It called Sprachausbau, mister. Just because Tunisian Arabic is currently only used in advertising, does that mean it has to be that way forever? In the Middle Ages, English and French were only used for literature, all science was written in Latin. Standard Arabic is the Latin of North Africa and the Middle East: an ancient language which has developed into several living languages. As with English and French, the tradition of writing in Egyptian and Tunisian has to begin somewhere. Steinbach (formerly Caesarion) 18:24, 22 April 2016 (UTC)


Question Question: I have a question about this project, which script will this project be using? the main page is only partially in the Arabic script, and it looks like every other page except the main page is written in the Latin script. When I look on Ethnologue it says that Tunisian Arabic uses the Arabic Script, not the Latin script. Second question if the project does decide to use the Latin script, will the project be written left to right or right to left? I noticed currently the Latin script pages are written left to right but formatted right to left. Abrahamic Faiths (talk) 02:50, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for your question. Tunisian is not an official language in Tunisia, hence, there is no official script, and it is a spoken language more than a written one. Some literature works were done in Tunisian, such as the New Testament and some novels. Both are written using the Standard Arabic writing system. However, due to the phonological and morphological differences, the used writing system was defective, and you have to read the full sentence, understand its meaning, and then you can understand its correct pronunciation. That's why, we had to use a phonemic writing system, such as the one used in academic researches about Tunisian (and Maghrebi). But we had to make easier for daily use, that's why the writing system changes a lot on the test wiki.
We are not working on the test wiki right now because we have to standardize the language first, since "Tunisian" is actually a part of a dialect continuum called Maghrebi. There is a possibility of either merging Tunisian and Algerian to form one standard language, or to include Moroccan too (which is more "extreme").
For the writing direction, it was changed (not by us) since Ethnologue says that Arabic script is the one used for Tunisian. Thanks. --GeekEmad (talk) 07:15, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Abrahamic Faiths: I thank you for the question. We had recently developed a standard orthography for Tunisian Arabic that can use both Arabic and Latin Script. So, the project would be written in Latin Script and would be LTR and then a Script converter would convert the page in Arabic Script... So, this output is not final. We will modify and adjust it soon. --Csisc (talk) 12:36, 13 September 2015 (UTC)


  1. Sayahi, Lotfi (24 April 2014). Diglossia and Language Contact: Language Variation and Change in North Africa. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139867078. 
  2. a b Gibson, M. (2009). Tunis Arabic. Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, 4, 563–71.
  3. a b c Tilmatine Mohand, Substrat et convergences: Le berbére et l'arabe nord-africain (1999), in Estudios de dialectologia norteafricana y andalusi 4, pp 99–119
  4. Elimam, A. (2009). Du Punique au Maghribi: Trajectoires d’une langue sémito-méditerranéene'. Synergies Tunisie, (1), 25-38.‏
  5. a b c d Zribi, I., Boujelbane, R., Masmoudi, A., Ellouze, M., Belguith, L., & Habash, N. (2014). A Conventional Orthography for Tunisian Arabic. In Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC), Reykjavik, Iceland.
  6. a b Daoud, M. (2001). The language situation in Tunisia. Current Issues in Language Planning, 2(1), 1–52.
  7. Borg and Azzopardi-Alexander Maltese (1997:xiii) "The immediate source for the Arabic vernacular spoken in Malta was Muslim Sicily, but its ultimate origin appears to have been Tunisia. In fact Maltese displays some areal traits typical of Maghrebine Arabic, although during the past eight hundred years of independent evolution it has drifted apart from Tunisian Arabic".
  8. Borg, Albert J.; Azzopardi-Alexander, Marie (1997). Maltese. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-02243-6.