arabic dialect spoken in Tunisia
Phrasebooks > Tunisian Arabic phrasebook

The Tunisian dialect of Arabic (تونسي / Tounsi / Derja) is the main language of communication in Tunisia.

Pronunciation guide edit

Pronunciation edit

Phonology edit

There are several differences in pronunciation between Standard and Tunisian Arabic. Nunation does not exist in Tunisian Arabic, and short vowels are frequently omitted, especially if they would occur as the final element of an open syllable, which was probably encouraged by the Berber substratum.

However, there are some more specific characteristics related to Tunisian Arabic like the phenomenon of metathesis.

Metathesis edit

Metathesis is the shift of the position of the first vowel of the word. It occurs when the unconjugated verb or unsuffixed noun begins with CCVC, where C is an ungeminated consonant and V is a short vowel When a suffix is added to this kind of noun or when the verb is conjugated, the first vowel changes of position and the verb or noun begins with CVCC.

For example:

(he) wrote in Tunisian Arabic becomes كتب ktib and (she) wrote in Tunisian Arabic becomes كتبت kitbit.

some stuff in Tunisian Arabic becomes دبش dbaš and my stuff in Tunisian Arabic becomes دبشي dabšī.

Stress edit

Stress is not phonologically distinctive and is determined by the word's syllable structure. Hence,

it falls on the ultimate syllable if it is doubly closed : سروال sirwāl (trousers). Otherwise, it falls on the penultimate syllable, if there is one: جريدة jarīda (newspaper). Stress falls on all the word if there is only one syllable within it: مرا mṛa (woman). Affixes are treated as part of the word: نكتبولكم niktbūlkum (we write to you).

For example:

جابت jābit (She brought). ما جابتش mā jābitš (She did not bring).

Assimilation edit

Assimilation is a phonological process in Tunisian Arabic.

The possible assimilations are:

/ttˤ/ > /tˤː/ /tˤt/ > /tˤː/ /χh/ > /χː/ /χʁ/ > /χː/ /tɡ/ > /dɡ/ /fd/ > /vd/ /ħh/ > /ħː/ /nl/ > /lː/ /sd/ > /zd/ /td/ > /dː/ /dt/ > /tː/ /ln/ > /nː/ /hʕ/ > /ħː/ /tð/ > /dð/ /hħ/ > /ħː/ /nr/ > /rː/ /nf/ > /mf/ /qk/ > /qː/ /kq/ > /qː/ /lr/ > /rː/ /ndn/ > /nː/ /ħʕ/ > /ħː/ /ʁh/ > /χː/ /ʕh/ > /ħː/ /ʃd/ > /ʒd/ /fC/1 > /vC/1 /bC/2 > /pC/2 /nb/ > /mb/ /ʕħ/ > /ħː/ /tz/ > /d͡z/ /tʒ/ > /d͡ʒ/ ^1 Only if C is a voiced consonant.

^2 Only if C is a voiceless consonant.

Consonants edit

Tunisian Arabic qāf has [q] and [ɡ] as reflexes in respectively sedentary and nomadic varieties: he said is [qɑːl] instead of [ɡɑːl]). However, some words have the same form [ɡ] whatever the dialect: cow is always [baɡra] (the /g/ deriving from an originally Arabic [q]), and a specific species of date is always [digla] (the /g/ deriving from an originally Semitic [q] - e.g. Aramaic: /diqla/: date tree). Sometimes, substituting [g] by [q] can change the meaning of a words For example, garn means "horn" and qarn means "century".

Interdental fricatives are also maintained for several situations, except in the Sahil dialect.[258]

Furthermore, Tunisian Arabic merged /dˤ/ ⟨ض⟩ with /ðˤ/

Consonant phonemes of Tunisian Arabic

Labial Interdental Dental/Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal plain emphatic plain emphatic plain emphatic Nasal m m (mˤ) ṃ n n (nˤ) ṇ stop voiceless (p) p t t tˤ ṭ k k q q (ʔ) voiced b b (bˤ) ḅ d d ɡ g Affricate voiceless (t͡s) ts (t͡ʃ) tš voiced (d͡z) dz Fricative voiceless f f θ s s sˤ ṣ ʃ š χ x ħ ḥ h h voiced (v) v ð ð ðˤ ḍ z z (zˤ) ẓ ʒ j ʁ ġ ʕ ʿ Trill r r rˤ ṛ Approximant l l ɫ ḷ j y w w

Phonetic notes:

The emphatic consonants /mˤ, nˤ, bˤ, zˤ/ rarely occur, and most of them are found in words of non-Arabic etymology.

Minimal pairs are not always easy to find for these contrasts, but there are nonetheless examples, which show that these marginal forms do not represent allophones of other phonemes.
For example:

/baːb/ [bɛːb] "door" and /bˤaːbˤa/ [ˈbˤɑːbˤɑ] "Father" /ɡaːz/ [ɡɛːz] "petrol" and /ɡaːzˤ/ [ɡɑːzˤ] "gas" These emphatic consonants occur before or after the vowels /a/ and /aː/.

A different analysis is that the posited allophones of /a/ and /aː/ are phonemically distinct, and it is the marginal emphatic consonants that are allophonic.

/p/ and /v/ are found in words of non-Arabic etymology and are usually replaced by /b/, like in ḅāḅūr and ḅāla. However, they are preserved in some words, like pīsīn and talvza.

/t͡ʃ/ and /d͡z/ are rarely used, for example tšīša, dzīṛa and dzāyir.

The glottal stop /ʔ/ is usually dropped but tends to occur in the learned register, in loans from Standard Arabic, often in maṣdar (verbal noun) forms at the onset of the word but also in other words like /biːʔa/ "environment" and /jisʔal/ "he asks", though many (mainly less educated) speakers substitute /ʔ/ for /h/ in the latter word.

Like in Standard Arabic, shadda "gemination" is very likely to occur in Tunisian. For example, haddad هدد meaning to threaten.[254] Vowels Edit There are two primary analyses of Tunisian vowels:

Three vowel qualities, /a, i, u/ and a large number of emphatic consonants, namely /tˤ, sˤ, ðˤ, rˤ, lˤ, zˤ, nˤ, mˤ, bˤ/. /a/ has distinct allophones near guttural (emphatic, uvular and pharyngeal) consonants ([ɐ]) and near non-guttural consonants ([æ]).

Four vowel qualities, /æ, ɐ, i, u/, and only the three phonemic emphatic consonants /tˤ, sˤ, ðˤ/. The other emphatic consonants are allophones found in the environment of /ɐ/.

It is more likely that the first analysis is the accurate one, as the same phenomenon happens for [u] and [i] in Algerian and Moroccan Arabic that are also Maghrebi Arabic dialects.

Regardless of the analysis, Hilalian influence has provided the additional vowels /eː/ and /oː/ to the Sahil and southeastern dialects. These two long vowels are reflexes of the diphthongs /aj/ and /aw/.

Tunisian Arabic vowels. It is unclear if the vowels written a are allophones or phonemic. Front Back unrounded rounded short long long short long Close ɪ i iː ī (yː) ü u u uː ū Open-mid oral eː ā (œː) ë (ʊː) ʊ (oː) o nasal (ɛ̃) iñ (ɔ̃) uñ Open (ɑ̃) añ oral æ a ɐ a ɐː ā By assuming that pharyngealisation is a property of consonants, most dialects have three vowel qualities /a, i, u/, all also distinguished for length, as in Standard Arabic.

The length distinction is suspended at the end of the word. A final vowel is realised long in accent-bearing words of one syllable (For example, جاء jā [ʒeː] he came), otherwise short.

In non-pharyngealised environments, the open vowel /a/ is [e] in stressed syllables and [æ] or [ɛ] in unstressed syllables. In pharyngealised environments, the open vowel is [ɑ].

/ɔː/ and nasal vowels are rare in native words, for most of the varieties of Tunisian and mainly for the Tunis dialect, like منقوبة mañqūba and لنڨار lañgār and mainly occur in French loans.

/yː/ and /œː/ only exist in French loanwords.

Unlike other Maghrebi dialects, short u and i are reduced to [o] and [e] when written between two consonants unless when they are in stressed syllables.

Syllables and pronunciation simplification edit

Tunisian Arabic has a very different syllable structure from Standard Arabic like all other Northwest African varieties.

While Standard Arabic can have only one consonant at the beginning of a syllable, after which a vowel must follow, Tunisian Arabic commonly has two consonants in the onset.

For example, Standard Arabic book is كتاب /kitaːb/, while in Tunisian Arabic it is ktāb.

The syllable nucleus may contain a short or long vowel, and at the end of the syllable, in the coda, it may have up to three consonants ما دخلتش (/ma dχaltʃ/ I did not enter). Standard Arabic can have no more than two consonants in this position.

Word-internal syllables are generally heavy in that they either have a long vowel in the nucleus or consonant in the coda.

Non-final syllables composed of just a consonant and a short vowel (light syllables) are very rare, generally in loans from Standard Arabic. Short vowels in this position have generally been lost (Syncope), resulting in the many initial CC clusters. For example, جواب /ʒawaːb/ reply is a loan from Standard Arabic, but the same word has the natural development /ʒwaːb/, which is the usual word for letter.

As well as those characteristics, Tunisian Arabic is also known for differently pronouncing words according to their orthography and position within a text. This phenomenon is known as pronunciation simplification and has four rules:

[iː] and [ɪ], at the end of a word, are pronounced [i] and [uː]. Also, [u] is pronounced [u] and [aː]. [ɛː], [a] and [æ] are pronounced [æ].

For example, yībdā is practically pronounced as [jiːbdæ]

If a word finishes with a vowel and the next word begins with a short vowel, the short vowel and the space between the two words are not pronounced (Elision).

The phenomenon is seen clearly when Arabic texts are compared to their Latin phonemic transliteration in several works.

If a word begins with two successive consonants, an epenthetic [ɪ] is added at the beginning.

A sequence of three consonants, not followed by a vowel, is broken up with an epenthetic [ɪ] before the third consonant. For example: يكتب yiktib, يكتبوا yiktbū.

For Arabic Script, see Arabic phrasebook and Arabic Script.

Phrase list edit

Some phrases in this phrasebook still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can help by plunging forward and translating a phrase.

Common signs

محلول (maḥlūl)
مسكر (imsaker)
دخلة (daxla)
خرجة (xarja)
دز (dez)
إجبد (ijbid)
ميحاض (mīḥāth)
راجل (rajel)
مرة (imra)
ممنوع (mamnūԑ)

Basics edit

عالسلامة. ( ԑa- is-slāma )
Hello. (informal)
أهلا. ( ahlā )
How are you?
اش حالك? ( āš ḥālik? ) / شنحولك? ( šnaḥwālik? )
Fine, thank you.
لاباس، يعيشك. ( lābās, yԑayšik )
What is your name?
شنوة إسمك? ( šnuwwa ismik? )
My name is ______ .
... إسمي . ( ismī _____ . )
Nice to meet you.
تشرفنا . ( tšarrafnā )
أمان. ( aṃān )
Thank you.
يعيشك. ( yԑayšik )
You're welcome.
؛مرحبا. ( marḥbā )
إيه. ( īh / aīh )
لا . ()
Excuse me. (getting attention)
سامحني. ( sāmaḥnī )
Excuse me. (begging pardon)
سامحني. ( sāmaḥnī )
I'm sorry.
سامحني. ( sāmaḥnī )
بالسلامة. ( b- is-slāma )
Goodbye (informal)
فيلمان. ( fīlamān )
I can't speak Tunisian Arabic [well].
ما ناحكيش ?????? [بالڨدا]. ( ānā mā naḥkīš tounsi?????? [ b- il-gdā ] )
I can't speak Arabic [well].
ما ناحكيش ?????? [بالڨدا]. ( ānā mā naḥkīš arabiya?????? [ b- il-gdā ] )
Do you speak English?
تحكي إنڨليزي? ( taḥkī inglīzī? )
Is there someone here who speaks English?
فمة شكون يحكي إنڨليزي هوني? ( famma škūn yaḥkī inglīzī hūnī? )
إجريولي! ( ijrīwli ! )
Look out!
رد بالك! ( rud bālik ! )
Good morning.
صباح الخير. ( ṣbāḥ il-xīr )
Good evening.
مسا الخير. ( msā il-xīr )
Good night.
ليلتك زينة. ( līltik zīna )
Good night (to sleep)
تصبح على خير. ( tuṣbaḥ ԑlā xīr )
I don't understand.
ما فهمتش. ( mā fhimtiš )
Where is the toilet?
وين الميحاض? ( wīn il-mīḥāḍ? )

Problems edit

Leave me alone.
خليني وحدي. ( xallīnī waḥdī. )
Don't touch me!
ما تمسنيش! ( mā tmisnīš! )
I'll call the police.
تو نكلم البوليسية. ( taw nkallem il-būlīsiyya. )
حاكم! ( ḥākim ! ) / بوليس! ( būlīs ! )
Stop! Thief!
شدوه! سارق! ( šiddũh! sāraq! )
I need your help.
حاجتي بيك. ( ḥājtī bīk. )
It's an emergency.
راهي حالة مستعجلة. ( rāhī ḥāla mustaԑjla. )
I'm lost.
انا ضعت. ( ānā ḍuԑt. )
I lost my bag.
ضيعت ألساك متاعي. ( ḍayyaԑt is-sāk mtāԑī. )
I lost my wallet.
ضيعت مكتوبي. ( ḍayyaԑt maktūbi. )
I'm sick. (fem.)
انا مريضة. ( ānā mrīḍa. )
I've been injured. (fem.)
انا مجروحة. ( ānā majrūḥa. )
I'm sick. (mas.)
انا مريض. ( ānā mrīḍ. )
I've been injured. (mas.)
انا مجروح. ( ānā majrūḥ. )
I need a doctor.
حاجتي بطبيب. ( ḥājtī b- ṭbīb. )
Can I use your phone?
تنجم تسلفني تليفونك ? ( tnajjam tsallafnī talīfūnik? )

Numbers edit

The Numbers

Cardinals standard:

Tunisian Arabic cardinals:

0 (ṣfir) صفر

1 (wāḥid) واحد

2 (iŧnīn) or (zūz) اثنين or زوز

3 (ŧlāŧa) ثلاثة

4 (arbɛa) أربعة

5 (xamsa) خمسة

6 (sitta) ستّة

7 (sabɛa) سبعة

8 (ŧmanya) ثمانية

9 (tisɛa) تسعة

10 (ɛacra) عشرة

11 (ḥdāc) احداش

12 (ŧnāc) اثناش

13 (ŧluẓẓāc) ثلظّاش

14 (arbaɛṭāc) اربعطاش

15 (xumsṭāc) خمسطاش

16 (suṭṭāc) سطّاش

17 (sbaɛṭāc) سبعطاش

18 (ŧmanṭāc) ثمنطاش

19 (tsaɛṭāc) تسعطاش

20 (ɛicrīn) عشرين

21 (wāḥid wu ɛicrīn) واحد وعشرين

30 (ŧlāŧīn) ثلاثين

40 (arbɛīn) أربعين

50 (xamsīn) خمسين

60 (sittīn) ستّين

70 (sabɛīn) سبعين

80 (ŧmanīn) ثمانين

90 (tisɛīn) تسعين

100 (mya) مية

101 (mya wu wāḥid) مية وواحد

110 (mya wu ɛacra) مية وعشرة

200 (mītīn) ميتين

300 (ŧlāŧamya) ثلاثة مية

1000 (alf) الف

1956 (alf w tisɛamya w sitta w xamsīn) الف وتسعة مية وستّة وخمسين

2000 (alfīn) الفين

10000 (ɛacra lāf) عشرة الاف

100000 (myat elf) مية الف

1000000 (malyūn) مليون

123456789 (mya w ŧlāŧa w ɛicrīn malyūn w arbɛa mya w sitta w xamsīn alf w sabɛa mya w tisɛa w ŧmanīn)

مية وثلاثة وعشرين مليون وأربعة مية وستّة وخمسين الف وسبعة ميه وتسعة وثمانين

1000000000 (milyār) مليار

Ordinals edit

The ordinals in Tunisian are from one to twelve only, in case of higher numbers, the cardinals are used.

English and Tunisian Ordinal Numbers
English Feminine Masculine Plural
First أُوْلَى (ūlā)
أولانية (ūlānīya)
أول (uwwil)
أولاني (ūlānī)
أولين (ūlīn)
أولانين (ūlānīn)
Second ثانية (ŧānya) ثاني (ŧāni) ثانين (ŧānīn)
Third ثالتة (ŧālŧa) ثالت (ŧāliŧ) ثالتين (ŧālŧīn)
Forth رابعة (rābɛa) رابع (rābiɛ) رابعين (rābɛīn)
Fifth خامسة (xāmsa) خامس (xāmis) خامسين (xāmsīn)
Sixth سادسة (sādsa) سادس (sādis) سادسين (sādsīn)
Seventh سابعة (sābɛa) سابع (sābiɛ) سابعين (sābɛīn)
Eighth ثامنة (ŧāmna) ثامن (ŧāmin) ثامنين (ŧāmnīn)
Ninth تاسعة (tāsɛa) تاسع (tāsiɛ) تاسعين (tāsɛīn)
Tenth عاشرة (ɛāšra) عاشر (ɛāšir) عاشرين (ɛāšrīn)
Eleventh حادشة (ḥādša) حادش (ḥādiš) حادشين (ḥādšīn)
Twelfth ثانشة (ŧānšā) ثانش (ŧāniš) ثانشين (ŧānšīn)

Fractions edit

There are special forms for fractions from two to ten only, elsewhere percentage is used.

The Fractions can be used for various purposes like the expression of proportion and the expression of time...

For example, the expression of 11:20 in Tunisian Arabic is il-ḥdāc w ŧluŧ and the expression of 11:40 in Tunisian Arabic is nuṣṣ il-nhār ġīr ŧluŧ.

Similarly, midnight is nuṣṣ il-līl and noon is nuṣṣ il-nhār.

Standard English Tunisian Arabic

one half نصف (nuṣf) or نصّ (nuṣṣ)

one third ثلث (ŧluŧ)

one quarter ربع (rbuɛ)

one fifth خمس (xmus)

one sixth سدس (sdus)

one seventh سبع (sbuɛ)

one eighth ثمن (ŧmun)

one ninth تسع (tsuɛ)

one tenth عشر (ɛšur)

Time edit

Concept of time
before now later
قبل ( qbal ) توة ( tawwa ) من بعد ( min baԑd )
Period in a day
morning noon evening night
صباح ( ṣbāḥ ) وقت القايلة ( waqt il-qāyla) عشية ( ԑšiya) ليل ( līl )
Clock time and Writing time and date edit
Time measurement during the day edit

As said above, time measurement method and vocabulary below 1 hour is very peculiar in Tunisian and is not found in neither the other dialects of Maghrebi Arabic or standard Arabic. Indeed, Tunisian, uses fractions of 1 hour and a special unit of 5 minutes called دراج "drāj", to express time. Also, as in English as "it's 3 am/pm" or just "it's 3" and contrary to other languages such as standard Arabic, Tunisian do not precise the word "sāɛa (hour)" when expressing the time of the day as the subject is considered implied. Below is the list of the vocabulary used for time indication:

Standard English Tunisian Arabic

1 second ثانية (ŧānya) or سيڨوندة (sīgūnda)

1 minute دقيقة (dqīqa)

5 minutes درج (draj)

15 minutes ربع (rbuɛ)

20 minutes ثلث (ŧluŧ) or أربعة دراج (arbɛa drāj)

30 minutes نصف (nuṣf) or نصّ (nuṣṣ)

Writing date in Tunisian Arabic uses the format Day Name + " " + Day + " " + Month Name + " " + Year just in Standard Arabic.

Duration edit

Basic measures:

The Basic units for Tunisian Arabic are used in the same way as in English.

Standard English Tunisian Arabic

Three (kānūn) كانون

Four (ḥāra) حارة

Five (ɛiddat īdik') عدّة إيدك

Twelve (ṭuzzīna) طزّينة

One centimeter (ṣāntī) صانتي

One meter (mītrū) ميترو

One deciliter (ɛšūrīya) عشورية

Two deciliters (xmūsīya) خموسية

A quarter of a litre (fluid) (rbuɛ ītra) ربع إيترة

One litre (ītra) إيترة

Ten litres (fluid) (dīga) ديڨة

Ten liters (mass) (galba) ڨلبة

Twenty liters (mass) (wība) ويبة

Three grams (ūqīya) أوقية

One pound (rṭal) رطل

One kilogram (kīlū) كيلو

One ton (ṭurnāṭa) طرناطة

One second (ŧānya) or (sīgūnda) ثانية or سيڨوندة

One minute (dqīqa) دقيقة

Five minutes (draj) درج

One hour (sāɛa) ساعة

One day (inhar) نهار

One week (jumɛa) جمعة

One month (šhar) شهر

One year (ɛām) عام

One century (qarn) قرن

The measure units are accorded when in dual or in plural, for example:

dqīqa becomes دقيقتين dqīqtīn (2 minutes) in dual sāɛa becomes سوايع swāyaɛ (hours) in plural

Days edit
Period in day
yesterday today tomorrow
البارح ( il-bāraḥ ) اليومة ( il-yūma ) غدوة ( ġudwa )
Period in week
last week this week next week
الجمعة إلي فاتت ( ij-jumԑa illī fātit ) هاذي الجمعة ( hāđī ij-jumԑa ) الجمعة الجاية ( ij-jumԑa ij-jāya )
Days in calendar
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
الأحدّ ( il-aḥadd ) الإثنين ( il-iŧnīn ) الثلاث ( iŧ-ŧlāŧ ) الإربعة ( il-irbɛa ) الخميس ( il-xmīs ) الجمعة ( ij-jimɛa ) السبت ( is-sibt )
Months edit

Months of the year

Standard English Tunisian Arabic

January (Jānfī) جانفي

February (Fīvrī) فيڥري

March (Mārs) مارس

April (Avrīl) أڥريل

May (Māy) ماي

June (Jwān) جوان

July (Jwīlya) جويلية

August (Ūt) أوت

September (Siptumbir) سپتمبر

October (Uktobir) أكتوبر

November (Nūvumbir) نوڥمبر

December (Dīsumbir) ديسمبر

Note, that in this case, the modern months are a tunisification of the name of the months from French, inherited from the protectorate times.

The native names of the months were that of their original Latin names, following the berber calendar:

Standard English Tunisian Arabic

January (Yennā(ye)r)

February (Furā(ye)r)

March (Mārsū)

April (Abrīl)

May (Māyū)

June (Yūnyū)

July (Yūlyū)

August (Awūsū)

September (Shtamber)

October (Uktūber)

November (Nūfember)

December (Dejember)

Colors edit

أكحل ( akḥal )
أبيض ( abyaḍ )
رمادي ( rmādī )
أحمر ( aḥmar )
أزرق ( azraq )
أصفر ( aṣfar )
أخضر ( axḍar )
مشماشي ( mišmāšī )
خزامة ( xzāma )
بني ( bunnī )

Transportation edit

Bus and train edit

How much is a ticket to _____?
بقداش البلاصة ل... ( b- qaddāš il-blāṣa l-...? )
One ticket to _____, please.
بلاصة ل... يعيشك ( blāṣa l-... yԑayšik? )
Where does this train/bus go?
لوين ماشي هاذا الترينو، لوين ماشية هاذي الكار (l-wīn māš(ī/ya) (hāđā it-trīnū/hāđī il-kāṛ)? )
Where is the train/bus to _____?
قداش من كيلومآتر (الترينو بعيد، الكار بعيدة) من ... ( qaddāš min (it-trīnū bԑīd/il-kāṛ bԑīda) min...? )
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
هاذا الترينو ياقف في ... ، هاذي الكار تاقف في ... ( (hāđā it-trīnū/hāđī il-kāṛ) (yāqif/tāqif) fī ...? )
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
وقتاش الترينو الماشي ل... يخرج، وقتاش الكار الماشية ل... تخرج ( waqtāš (it-trīnū il-māšī/il-kāṛ il-māšya) l-... (yuxruj/tuxruj)? )
When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
وقتاش الترينو يوصل ل...، وقتاش الكار توصل ل... ( waqtāš (it-trīnū yūṣil/il-kāṛ tūṣil) l-...? )

Directions edit

How do I get to _____ ?
كيفاش نّجم نمشي ل... ( kīfāš nnajjam nimšī l-... )
...the train station?
المحطة متاع الترينو ( il-mḥaṭṭa mtāԑ it-trīnū )
...the bus station?
المحطة متاع الكار ( il-mḥaṭṭa mtāԑ il-kāṛ )
...the airport?
المطار ( il-maṭār )
وسط البلاد ( wisṭ il-blād )
...the youth hostel?
مصايف الشباب ( mṣāyif iš-šbāb )
...the _____ hotel?
أوتيل ... ( il-ūtīl )
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate?
السفارة الأمريكية، الكندية، الأسترالية، البريطانية ( is-sfāŗa il-amarīkiyya/il-kanadiyya/il-ustrāliyya/il-brīṭāniyya )
Where are there a lot of...
وين فمة برشة... ( wīn famma barša... )
وتلة ( witla )
مطاعم ( mṭāԑim )
بيران ( bīrān )
...sites to see?
بلايص تتشاف ( bḷāyiṣ titšāf )
Can you show me on the map?
تنجم توريني عالخريطة ( tnajjam twarrīni ԑa- il-xarīṭa )
شارع ( šāriԑ )
Turn left.
دور عاليسار ( dūr ԑa- il-ysāṛ )
Turn right.
دور عاليمين ( dūr ԑa- il-ymīn )
يسار ( ysāṛ )
يمين ( ymīn )
straight ahead
طول ( ṭūl )
towards the _____
مقابل ،،، ( mqābil )
past the _____
بعد ... ( baԑd )
before the _____
قبل ،،، ( qbal )
Watch for the _____.
رد بالك م ال،،، ( rud bālik m- il-...)
شمال ( šmāl )
جنوب ( jnūb )
شرق ( šarq )
غرب ( ġarb )
فوق الهضبة ( fūq il-haḍba )
تحت الهضبة ( taḥt il-haḍba )

Taxi edit

تاكسي ( tāḳsī )
Take me to _____, please.
هزني ل... يعيشك ( hizznī l-... yԑayšik )
How much does it cost to get to _____?
بقداش الركوب ل... ( b- qaddāš ir-rkūb l-...? )
Take me there, please.
هزني لفمة، يعيشك ( hizznī l- famma, yԑayšik )

Lodging edit

Do you have any rooms available?
عندكم بيوت فاضيين ( ԑandkum byūt fāḍyīn )
How much is a room for one person/two people?
بقداش البيت ل(عبد واحد، زوز عباد) ( b-qaddāš il-bīt l- (ԑabd wāḥid/zūz ԑbād)? )
Does the room come with...
البيت فيهاشي ( il-bīt fīhāšī )
أغطية ( uġṭya )
...a bathroom?
بانو ( bānū )
...a telephone?
تاليفون ( tāḷīfūn )
...a TV?
تلفزة ( talfza )
May I see the room first?
نّجمشي نارى البيت قبل ( nnajjamšī nāṛā il-bīt qbal )
Do you have anything quieter?
ما فماش حاجة أهدى ( mā fammāš ḥāja ahdā )
أكبر ( akbar )
أنظف ( anẓaf )
أرخص ( arxaṣ )
OK, I'll take it.
باهي، باش ناخدها ( bāhī, bāš nāxiđhā )
I will stay for _____ night(s).
باش نقعد ... ليالي ( bāš nuqԑud ... lyālī )
Can you suggest another hotel?
تنجمشي تنصحني بأوتيل أخر ( tnajjamšī tinṣaḥnī b- ūtīl āxir )
Do you have a safe?
عندكم خزنة ( ԑandkum xazna )
كزيايات ( kazyāyāt )
Is breakfast/supper included?
(فطور الصباح، الفطور) داخل في التاريفة ( (fṭūr iṣ-ṣbāḥ/il-fṭūr) dāxil fī it-tāṛīfa? )
What time is breakfast/supper?
وقتاش (فطور الصباح، الفطور) ( waqtāš (fṭūr iṣ-ṣbāḥ/il-fṭūr)? )
Please clean my room.
نظفلي البيت يعيشك ( naẓẓaflī il-bīt yԑayšik )
Can you wake me at _____?
تنجمشي تقيّمني في ... ( tnajjamšī tqayyamnī fi ...? )
I want to check out.
نحب نسلم البيت ( nḥib nsallam il-bīt )

Money edit

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars?
تقبل الخلاص بالدولار الأمريكي، الأسترالي، الكندي ( tiqbil il-xlāṣ b- id-dūlāṛ il-amarīkī/il-ustṛālī/il-kanadī? )
Do you accept British pounds?
تقبل الخلاص بالليرة البريطانية ( tiqbil il-xlāṣ b- il-līra il-brīṭāniyya? )
Do you accept euros?
تقبل الاورو ( tiqbil il-ūrū? )
Do you accept credit cards?
تقبل الخلاص بكوارط البانكة ( tiqbil il-xlāṣ b- kwāṛiṭ il-bāṇka? )
Can you change money for me?
تنجم تبدلّي الفلوس ( tnajjam tbaddallī il-flūs? )
Where can I get money changed?
وين نّجم نبدل الفلوس ( wīn nnajjam nbaddal il-flūs? )
What is the exchange rate?
بقداش تبديل الفلوس ( b- qaddāš tabdīl il-flūs? )
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?
وين ماكينة الفلوس متاع البانكة ( wīn mākinat il-flūs mtāԑ il-bāṇka? )

Eating edit

A table for one person/two people, please.
طاولة ل(عبد واحد/زوز عباد) ( ṭāwla l- (ԑabd wāḥid/zūz ԑbād) )
Can I look at the menu, please?
نّجم نشوف الليستة متاع الماكلة? ( nnajjam nšūf il-līsta mtāԑ il-mākla? )
Can I look in the kitchen?
نّجم نشوف الكوجينة? ( nnajjam nšūf il-kūjīna? )
Is there a house specialty?
فمة شكون يطيّب ماكلة متاع دار? ( famma škūn yṭayyab mākla mtāԑ dāṛ? )
Is there a local specialty?
فمة شكون يطيّب ماكلة متاع الجيهة هاذي? ( famma škūn yṭayyab mākla mtāԑ il-jīha hāđī? )
I'm a vegetarian.
آنا ما ناكلش لحم ( ānā mā nākilš lḥam )
I don't eat pork.
آنا ما ناكلش لحم الحلّوف ( ānā mā nākilš lḥam il-ḥallūf )
I don't eat beef.
آنا ما ناكلش لحم البڨري ( ānā mā nākilš lḥam il-bagrī )
I only eat kosher food.
آنا ما ناكلش إلّا ماكلة حلال ( ānā mā nākilš illā mākla ḥlāl )
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard)
تنجم تخلي الماكلة هاذي ماهيش مزيتة برشة يعيشك ( tnajjam txallī il-mākla hāđī māhīš mzayta barša yԑayšik? )
fixed-price meal
فطور سومو ما يتبدلش ( fṭūr sūmū mā yitbiddilš )
a la carte
بالميني ( b- il-mënü )
فطور الصباح ( fṭūr iṣ-ṣbāḥ )
الفطور ( il-fṭūr )
tea (meal)
لمجة الأربعة متاع العشية ( lumjat il-arbԑa mtāԑ il-ԑšiyya )
العشاء ( il-ԑša )
I want _____.
نحب ... ( nḥibb ...)
I want a dish containing _____.
نحب صحن فيه... ( nḥibb ṣḥun fīh ... )
دجاج ( djāj )
لحم بڨري ( lḥam bagrī )
حوت ( ḥūt )
حلّوف قدّيد ( ḥallūf qaddīd )
مرڨاز ( mirgāz )
جبن ( jbin )
عظم ( ԑẓam )
سلاطة ( slāṭa )
(fresh) vegetables
خضرة (فرشكة) ( xuḍra (friška) )
(fresh) fruit
غلّة (فرشكة) (ġalla (friška) )
خبز ( xubz )
بشماط ( bišmāṭ )
روز ( rūz )
لوبيا ( lūbya )
May I have a glass of _____?
نّجم ناخذ كاس... ( nnajjam nāxiđ kās ...? )
May I have a cup of _____?
نّجم ناخذ فنجان... ( nnajjam nāxiđ finjān ...? )
May I have a bottle of _____?
نّجم ناخذ دبّوزة... ( nnajjam nāxiđ dabbūza ...? )
قهوة ( qahwa )
tea (drink)
تاي ( tāy )
عصير ( ԑaṣīr )
orange juice
برتڨان معصور ( burtgān maԑṣūr )
برتڨان ( burtgān )
(bubbly) water
ماء بالڨاز ( mā b- il-gāz )
(still) water
ماء ()
بيرّة ( bīrra )
red/white wine
شراب أحمر/أبيض ( šṛāb aḥmar/abyaḍ )
May I have some _____?
نّجم ناخذ شويّة... ( nnajjam nāxiđ šwayya ...? )
ملح ( milḥ )
black pepper
فلفل أكحل ( filfil akḥal )
زبدة ( zibda )
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
سامحني خويا ( sāmaḥnī xūyā )
I'm finished.
كمّلت ( kammilt )
It was delicious.
الماكلة بنينة ( il-mākla bnīna )
Please clear the plates.
لم الأصحنة يعيشك ( limm il-aṣḥna yԑayšik )
The check, please.
الحساب يعيشك ( il-ḥsāb yԑayšik )

Bars edit

Do you serve alcohol?
تسربيوا شراب? ( tsarbīw šṛāb )
Is there table service?
فمّة شكون يسربي? ( famma škūn ysarbī )
A beer/two beers, please.
بيرّة وحدة / زوز بيرّة, يعيشك ( (bīrra waḥda/zūz bīrra) yԑayšik )
A glass of red/white wine, please.
كاس شراب أحمر/أبيض, يعيشك ( kās šṛāb (aḥmar/abyaḍ) yԑayšik )
A pint, please.
نصَ إيترة شراب, يعيشك ( nuṣṣ ītra šṛāb yԑayšik )
A bottle, please.
دبّوزة شراب, يعيشك ( dabbūza šṛāb yԑayšik )
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please.
...بال ... (... b- il-... )
ويسكي ( wīskī )
ݡودكا ( vodka )
ماء ()
tonic water
شويپس ( šwīps )
Coke (soda)
كوكا ( kūka )
Do you have any bar snacks?
ما تبيعوش حاجة تتاكل في ها البار ( mā tbīԑūš ḥāja titākil fi hā il-bāṛ )
One more, please.
زيدني وحدة أخرى يعيشك ( zidnī waḥda uxṛā yԑayšik )
Another round, please.
زيد سربينا مرّة أخرى يعيشك ( zidnī sarbīnī marra uxṛā yԑayšik )
When is closing time?
وقتاش تسكروا البار? ( waqtāš tsakrū il-bāṛ )
بصحتكم ( b- ṣaḥḥitkum )

Shopping edit

Do you have this in my size?
عندك هاذا في قياسي? ( ԑandik hāđā fī qyāsī )
How much is this?
بقدّاش? ( b- qaddāš )
That's too expensive.
غالي برشة ( ġālī barša )
Would you take _____?
تحب تاخذ...? ( tḥibb tāxiđ ...? )
غالي ( ġālī )
رخيص ( rxīṣ )
I can't afford it.
ما نّجمش نشريه ( mā nnajjamš nišrīh )
I don't want it.
ما نّحبش نشريه ( mā nḥibbiš nišrīh )
You're cheating me.
راك قاعد تغش فيّا ( ṛāk qāԑid tġišš fiyyā )
I'm not interested.
ما يهمنيش ( mā yhimnīš )
OK, I'll take it.
باهي, توة ناخذو ( bāhi, tawwa nāxđū )
Can I have a bag?
نّجم ناخذ ساك? ( nnajjam nāxiđ sāḳ )
Do you ship (overseas)?
تجيب حوايج من برّة? ( tjīb ḥwāyij min barra? )
I need...
لازمني ( lāzimnī )
معجون سنان ( maԑjūn snān )
...a toothbrush.
شيتة سنان ( šītat snān )
صابون ( ṣābūn )
شمپوان ( šañpwāṇ )
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen)
دوا وجيعة راس ( dwā wjīԑat ṛās )
...cold medicine.
دوا ڨريپ ( dwā grīp )
...stomach medicine.
دوا معدة ( dwā māԑda )
...a razor.
ماكينة حجامة ( mākīnat ḥjāma ) umbrella.
مطرية ( maṭariyya )
...sunblock lotion.
كريمة شمس ( krīmat šams )
...a postcard.
كارطة متاع جوابات ( kāṛṭa mtāԑ jwābāt )
...postage stamps.
طابع بوسطة ( ṭābaԑ būsṭa )
پيلات ( pīlāt )
...writing paper.
ورقة ( warqa )
...a pen.
قلم ( qlam )
...English-language books.
كتاب بالإنڨليزي ( ktāb b- il-inglīzī )
...English-language magazines.
مجلّة بالإنڨليزي ( mjalla b- il-inglīzī ) English-language newspaper.
جريدة بالإنڨليزي ( jarīda b- il-inglīzī ) English-English dictionary.
منجد بالإنڨليزي ( munjid b- il-inglīzī )

Driving edit

I want to rent a car.
نحب نكري كرهبة ( nḥibb nikrī karhba )
Can I get insurance?
نّجم ناخذ تأمين ( nnajjam nāxiđ ta'mīn? )
stop (on a street sign)
أوقف ( ūqif )
one way
تعدّي و ما ترجّعش ( tԑaddī w mā tjībiš )
أولويّة ( awlawiyya )
no parking
التراكيّة ممنوعة ( it-tṛākiyya mamnūԑa )
speed limit
أعلى جرية ( aԑlā jarya )
gas (petrol) station
محطة إيسانس ( mḥaṭṭat īsañs )
إيسانس ( īsañs )
مازّوط ( māzzūṭ )

Authority edit

I haven't done anything wrong.
ما عملتش حاجة غالطة ( mā ԑmiltiš ḥāja ġālṭa )
It was a misunderstanding.
فهمنا بعضنا بالغالط ( fhimnā bԑaḍnā b- il-ġāliṭ )
Where are you taking me?
لوين باش تاخذني? ( l- win bāš tāxiđnī? )
Am I under arrest?
معناتها آنا توّة موقّف ( maԑnāthā ānā tawwa mwaqqaf )
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.
آنا مواطن أمريكي/أسترالي/بريطاني/كندي ( ānā mwāṭin amarīkī/ustṛǎlī/brīṭǎnī/kanadī )
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.
نحب نكلّم السفارة الأمريكية/الأسترالية/البريطانية/الكندية ( nḥibb nkallam is-sfāṛa (il-amarīkiyya/il-ustṛǎliyya/il-brīṭǎniyya/il-kanadiyya )
I want to talk to a lawyer.
نحب نتكلّم مع محامي ( nḥibb nitkallam mԑa muḥāmī )
Can I just pay a fine now?
نّجم ما نخلّص إلّا خطيّة توّة? ( nnajjam mā nxallaṣ illā xṭiyya tawwa? )

References edit

  • Ben Abdelkader, R. (1977) Peace Corps English-Tunisian Arabic Dictionary.
  • Singer, Hans-Rudolf (1984) Grammatik der arabischen Mundart der Medina von Tunis. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
This Tunisian Arabic phrasebook is a usable article. It explains pronunciation and the bare essentials of travel communication. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.