Tunisian Sign Language


A language of Tunisia


21,200 (2008 WFD). 53,000 deaf (2014 IMB).


Scattered, especially Tunis and Sfax.

Language Status

5* (Developing).


None known. Not the same as Unified Arabic Sign Language, an artificial system promoted by representatives of 18 Arabic-speaking countries (Rashdan 2016). Loans from French Sign Language [fsl] and Italian Sign Language [ise].

Language Use

Approximately 70 deaf schools (Total Communication, 2008 WFD).

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: Low (2008 WFD). Dictionary. Agencies: Voice of the Deaf Association of Tunisia (WFD); ICHARA; Tunisian Association for Assistance to the Deaf.


Unwritten documents [Zxxx].

Other Comments

Interpretation of television news (20 min. daily, but not well-understood), no interpreters in government institutions or at university, all interpreting services are voluntary (2008 WFD). Muslim.

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