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Abstract or Description

Especially since 1956, when Tunisia gained its independence from French occupiers, the language problems of this tiny North African country have come to the forefront. In Tunisia, as in other parts of the Maghreb, such as Algeria and Morocco, the existence of various forms of the indigenous tongue (Arabic, and in some areas, Berber) has been complicated by the presence of foreign languages, namely French. Linguistic issues, in turn, cannot be separated from culture, the milieu in which language finds its meaning. On the eve of independence, Tunisia had to grapple with the question of its cultural identity as well. As a whole Tunisian society had to decide how to preserve vestiges from its past while incorporating foreign elements