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Tunis / Photo HH

Tunisia has a bilingual, multifaceted society. Arabic is the official language, but French is still widely used in business, education, and daily life, especially in the country’s urban centres. Tunisian Arabic is widespread in rural areas, where illiteracy is much higher and many people speak only basic French, or none at all. Tunisian Arabic has been influenced significantly by other languages, especially Berber and French.

Tunisian society has changed greatly since the revolution that ousted President Ben Ali. Islamists, who had been suppressed and often exiled, have become more numerous, and religious symbols, such as the veil, have reappeared. Women play an active part in Tunisian society and enjoy a high level of education, even though they are still under-represented in the workforce.