Information about Tunisia

Languages in Tunisia

Tunisian Arabic - French - English - German - Russian - Italian

The official language in Tunisia is Tunisian, which is an arabic dialect. Although Tunisians often understand an arabic speaker, an Arab will not always be able to understand a Tunisian easily.

From the 2rd form on, tunisian children learn the French language, so each Tunisian will, at least in theory, be able to speak French, and almost all official documents, signs, etc., are written in french, in addition to arabic.

There are, however, in recent years efforts taking place to push back the French language, court matters are, for example, dealt with exclusively in arabic language.

On the other hand, in the year 2011, English has been introduced as a compulsory language in school from the 4rd grade on.

In reality, especially with older people, but also with younger ones of a low educational level, there can be significant problems or misunderstandings when conversating in french language only.

Especially people of higher education degrees speak english quite well.
German is rather rare and limited mostly to the words, that the Tunisians need for dealing with German tourists.

To an even lower degree, this is true for many other languages as well, namely Italian, Russian or Spanish.  
Authorities usually understand and speak French well, while english and german language skills are being encountered rarely. However, when going into details, arab language is usually used and needed.

Employees in banks and shops in major cities usually speak english, as well as medical doctors, but, again, for an in-depth conversation, at least french language skills are needed.

In the areas of "new technologies", such as cellphones, computers, Internet, and the like, you will usually find English speaking staff members and will not need french language skills.

In hotels and shops in the tourist zones, English is widely understood and spoken, as well as French - and to a lesser degree also German, Italian or Russian.
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