Tunis - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

French is very helpful and almost everyone in the capital speaks it very well. There are fewer English speakers as this is a former French colony, but the numbers are increasing. Locals speak a dialect of Arabic that is mixed with some French and Berber words. If you try to speak formal Arabic (Fossha) many people will be confused or uncomfortable. - Jan 2024

Tunisian is an Arabic dialect and the everyday language. If you speak Arabic you will get by in Tunisian but it is quite different. Most people speak French, young people are increasingly moving to English for preference. Classes in both French and Arabic are cheap and easily available. - Jun 2022

Definitely learn some French. There are many classes and tutors available and affordable. The Tunisian dialect of Arabic is difficult and very different from anything else but is much appreciated when you have a few words. - May 2022

You need some French to venture out. - Nov 2020

It is very helpful to speak French. Local tutors are available and are very reasonable. - May 2020

Knowledge of French and/or Arabic will be immensely helpful and important for the day-to-day outside of an embassy or international setting. There are tutors and language institutes available. - Nov 2017

French, French, French! And Arabic helps, too. Everyone speaks French. Very few people speak English. - Nov 2015

YOU MUST BE FLUENT IN FRENCH! If you don't speak good French your life will be challenging here, NO ONE speaks English. - Nov 2014

Some French or Arabic is advisable. There are some English speakers, but you can't count on it. - Jul 2013

You must learn French. Hardly any English is spoken here. - Jun 2013

Some basic French is best for the taxis, restaurants, and cashiers. In the tourist areas, the staff will speak English. - Feb 2012

English is useless outside of a few tourist areas (and even in a few tourist areas). But you can get by with French. I'm embarrassed to say I learned very little Tunisian/Arabic. But I did pick up a good deal of French. - Oct 2011

Not many people speak English, so it definitely helps to have some French or Arabic. In and around Tunis most people speak at least some French. It's a bit tougher with French when you get out of Tunis. Arabic speakers might be frustrated by how much French they mix into any given sentence. - Jul 2010

You need to know at least some French. Arabic is nice to know but not totally necessary. You will have a hard time if you speak only English. The embassy has a good language program. - May 2010

You must speak French or Arabic to survive in Tunisia. The Arabic is different from standard Arabic but will serve you well here, with some minor tweaking. - Jan 2010


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