Alphabet

1. One-letter Alphabet
The following is a one-letter alphabet of Tunisian derived from the Latin alphabet and enhanced with the letter “ɛ” used in the Tamazight Latin alphabet and with the sound “ħ” used in the Maltese Alphabet. The unicode for lower case “ɛ” is U+025B, and the unicode for upper case “Ɛ” is U+0190. The unicode for lower case “ħ” is U+0127 , and the unicode for upper case “Ħ” is U+0126. The STUNdard method writes all the words the way they are pronounced in Tunisian.

Letter Example in Tunisian Example in English
A a Aryena America
B b Benzart Bee
C c Contratou Cat
D d Douz Dear
E e Eddar Dead
Ɛ ɛ Ɛin Drahem No equivalent. A voiced pharyngeal fricative / approximate.
F f Feryene Free
G g Gafsa Give
H h Hergla Have
Ħ ħ Ħouma No equivalent. A voiceless pharyngeal fricative
I i Sidi Bouzid Meet
J j Jandouba Genre
K k Kbir King
L l Lamta Love
M m Moknin Moon
N n Nebel Near
O o Omm Laɛrayess Odd
P p Portabel Please
Q q Qarqna No equivalent. A voiceless uvular stop.
R r Rdayyef No Equivalent. An alveolar trill.
S s Sousa Sleep
T t Tounes / Tatawin Take
U u Errévolusion No equivalent. French pronunciation of “U”.
V v Villa Violin
W w Twensa Well
X x Ettaxi Taxi
Y y Yesmin Yell
Z z Zaghwèn Zero

2. Two-letter sounds
The following are the two-letter sounds found in Tunisian

Sound Example in Tunisian Example in English
Ch ch Chbika Shore
Dh dh Dh‘hab The
Gh gh Ghomrassen No equivalent. A voiced velar fricative.
Kh kh Khniss No Equivalent. A voiceless velar fricative.
Ou ou Touzer Good
Th th Theni Three

3. Other
The usage of “ph” follows the French pronunciation, it is commonly pronounced as “f”.The usage of other vowels or sounds of French origin such as “é”, “è”, “ê”, or “eu” is usually in words of French origin.

4. Usage of the apostrophe
The apostrophe is used in the following cases.

4.1. Linking Two Words
Linking two words that are pronounced as one. For example the preposition “w” and any other word, as in: w’mchit, w’qrit, w’ktebt, w’eddar, w’elkhedma.
Separating the syllables to clarify any confusion in the pronunciation

4.2. Within One Word
To clear up any pronunciation confusion within one word, the apostrophe can also be used in the following cases:

4.2.1. Confusion between a two-letter consonant, and two separate consonants
In the case where a “h” and another letter could be mistaken for a two-letter consonant containing “h”. For example: “T’hanna” and “Theni”.

4.2.2. A two-letter consonant followed by the letter “h”
Between a two-letter consonant and “h”. For example: Dh’hab.

4.2.3. Two two-letter consonants
Between a two-letter consonant and another two-letter consonant. For example: Kh’dhit.

4.2.4. Stress on the “a” sound
Although the stress on the “Alef” sound is practically absent and is replaced by a smooth transition, the apostrophe can be used sometimes in words of Arabic origin to demonstrate a stress on the “Alef” sound. For example, in Arabic the word “الأرض” would be transliterated “al ardh”, in Tunisian however the word becomes “lardh” without any “Alef” sounds at all. If however the context requires a more Arabized pronunciation, then the Tunisian way of pronouncing the word would be “el’ardh”.

5. Exceptions

In words of French, Italian, English, or other origin than have not completely underwent a Tunisianisation in the way they are pronounced, they may be written both in the way they are in the original language or also in the way the STUNdard rule would imply.
For example the French word “administration” could be written “administration” or “administrasion” depending on the context and the writer’s choice. On the other hand the French “Téléphone Portable” has underwent complete Tunisianisation and thus would be “Telifoun Portabel”.

6. Example
Ɛasslema,
Barcha ynajjmou yasalou ɛlech hedha elkoll? Maw nektbou yema belfrançais yema belɛarbi waħna marteħin. Elmochkla ħatta ken tetɛallem elɛarbi wela elfrançais, mouch bech tnajjem tefhem ettounsi w’mouch bech tnajjem taħki bettounsi. Nħebbou wela nakrhou aħna Twensa qbal w’baɛd koll chay, w’kif nouslou nektbou loughetna bettounsi w’naqrawha kif kif bettounsi ɛanna ħaja en commun tlemmna enness elkoll. Hedheya elli nħebbou naɛmlouh w’nwasslouh, w’yaɛtik essaħa kif sbart w’qrit elparagraphe elkoll bettounsi.
Ken famma ayy ħaja ennajmou nɛawnou beha contactina, marħbe bik.

7. Known limitations
The pronunciation of Tunisian can vary from a region to another, while the STUNdard method hopes to keep a neutral standardisation every Tunisian is free to use it to write their respective dialect.

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9 Responses to Alphabet

  1. Aħmad says:

    Nħesskom yessir influencé bel français. Yoqɛdou ħrouf fihom mochkla mathalan el j tkoun kima el fransawi wala kima el malti el talien… w el ou=u wala toqɛed kima el fransawi. ɛla 5ater bech tkoun akthar standard lezim tkoun tchabbah l akthar loughat momken mouch ken el francais

  2. Tounsi Tunifil says:

    Ya Aħmad, netsawwer elli “j” tkoun kima Elfransawi wela Ettalyen khir ɛla khater intwitiv akther lettwensa. Bech tkoun stondardizasion mouch lezem tkoun tchabbah lelloughat elkoll elmouhem tkoun famma convonsion enness elkoll tetfehem ɛleha w’ycodifiw beha ellougha bech twalli fason mouɛayyna maɛroufa et c’est tout netsawwer.

  3. Sendi says:

    et si on écrit en arabe ?

  4. Salpfish says:

    I have a suggestion regarding the letter X. You could use KS or CS for that sound, and then X could represent the pharyngeals, possibly the voiceless one, and then something like XH could represent the voiced one.

    • Semi says:

      Although on theory it sounds like an excellent idea, the letter x is still used in many many borrowed words, which may cause confusion. But your second suggestion about the XH representing the voiced pharyngeal is excellent and I support it, because there is no such subsequent occurrence in Tunisian of X and H and therefore is possible and can spare one less letter.

  5. Tounsi says:

    ɛaslema w yaɛtikom essaħa ɛal khedma hedhi lkoll
    Ama nħeb nefhem ħaja. Chnowa lfarq mebin l”C” wel “K”. Ezzouz yetnatqou kif kif. Ndhon khir ken l”C” tetnaħa mel alphabet bch metsirech ambiguité w tkoun ellougha accessuble akther.
    ħaja okhra, mch lezem zeda ntabbɛou bedhabt lfrançais.Mathalan kelmit “Alphabet” ħata lawken l’origine mteɛha jeya mel français, tnajem twalli “Alfabe” bettounsi, w hedha yettabaq lel kelmet lkoll elli d’origine etrangére, ɛala khater 7asbi ena meyjich tkhalitt les regles de grammaire mtaɛ zouz loughat.

    • Semi says:

      Normalement felkelmèt elli ettawnsou wallew complètement Twensa nektbou ken belK.
      Kima mathalan Carouselle elli twalli Karrousa.
      Ma nrach elli e’C tetnaħħa, khater famma barcha kelmèt fellangliz w fessouri fihom C w aħna nektbouhom kima houma, ema kima qotlek netsawwer elli elkelma kif twalli Tounsiya nektboha b’K.
      Sinon fima ykhouss elparti eth’thenya elli ħkit ɛleha mwefqek, ema medem nekh’dhou “borrowed words” wele esm mtaɛ marka lezem nektboha kima hiya.

      • Walid says:

        n7eb n9ollkom yaatikom essa7a 3al 5edma elli ta3mlou fiha. ama Semi meni mwefqek yeser, khater entouma 7attin “Questionet” fi site hedha.
        je trouve elli famma infisam fecha5siya elli lezemou yetna77a bech ywalli famma stundard.
        el C elli ya7ki 3liha tounsi tnejem tetekteb fi kelma ajnabiya, kifma wa9telli we7ed yekteb bel 3arbi w’lezmou yekteb 7aja bel lettres latines. Ama j’aurais préféré elli t9oul ennou c’est un héritage w heka 3lech tet7att. kifma 3meltou fi questionet mouch kestionèt.

        Soit tkoun lougha a part entière w mem el kelmet elli mekhdhin’hom mel les langues lokhrine ywalliw yetketbou bel orthographe mte3na puiske wallew utilisées massivement wa’ella nektbouhom bloughet’hom w yo93od e stundard un casi-standard.
        w jpense elli famma beaucoup de règles elli lezemhom yet3amlou à la tunisienne bech ywalli un vrai standard tunisien.
        w par rapport l un commentaire ta3mel plus haut je pense elli 7atta l3arbi ynejem ytlatina de la meme manière mte3 el latin. ennejmou nesta3mlou hedhi walla hedhi, selon la préférence W twalli ettounsiya el lougha tkarres 7orriyet el ach5as bech yesta3mlou l’alfabet elli el oula 3alamiyan elli tetekteb bzouz alfabeyet. 😉

        5itéman el tounsiya lougha w lezem’ha orthographe mouch tar9i3 belli mawjoud actuellement.

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