Monday, September 18, 2006
In my family we always liked to talk about different people and different cultures, when it came to Arabs, my environment was never very Arab friendly, and of course we had a scale of preferences:
The worst of Arabs were according to my family the Syrians naturally, one of the best Arabs (according to my family) were the people from the Maghreb and on top of all, the Tunisians.
First of all they are Francophone.
Carthage is in Tunis, the Phoenician pride (in spite of all the differences).
Tunisians as Moroccan and other Maghrebiens are pretty exotic, a mix between the Arab culture, Europe and the native Berber.
I never met in person any Tunisian, except for a lovely family that came to the restaurant but the Tunisian culture is a recurrent subject of my family meetings, language more particularly.
When I listen to a Tunisian talk I struggle really hard to grasp a few words, even though I speak both French and Arabic I can’t understand what they say, we in Lebanon insert French (and English) words in our language but usually a French word remains whole, we don’t Arabise it as they do.
Take the example of this page I have scanned from my little brother’s Math Devoir de Vacances. It’s about the basic expressions used in Tunis and the ones that I haven’t been able to decrypt:
Ech nah oualik?: comment ça va?
Labas: ça va bien
I wonder if it has something to do with the Berber Language or just some connection that I can’t figure out.