A Historical Account of Linguistic Imperialism and Educational Policy in Tunisia: From the independence to the ‘Jasmine Revolution’

Leila Najeh Bel’Kiry(1*)
(1) Sfax University
(*) Corresponding Author
DOI : 10.24256/itj.v3i1.1742


This article is about foreign languages hegemony in Tunisia. It describes the linguistic situation at the macro and micro levels, the Tunisian and the international linguistic communities, the status of English and French languages throughout the world, and their effects on the Tunisian educational policy. The prevalence of French in Tunisia as the language of science and technology between 1956 and 1987, the way the  value of English is promoted in the Tunisian educational system between 1987 and 2011 though Tunisia is a French colonized country, and the tendency to linguistic isolationism since 2011, prove the intrinsic link between language and politics. Political changes at international and local levels shape the local linguistic communities.


Educational policy in Tunisia; foreign language teachin; languages Hegemon; linguistic imperialism.


Abdesslem, H. (1987). An analysis of foreign language lesson discourse :With special reference to the teaching of English in Tunisian secondary schools (Doctoral thesis, University of Sheffield,England). Retrieved from http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/1813/1/DX190328.pdf

Aouina, H. (2013). Globalization and language policy in Tunisia: Shifts in domains of use and linguistic attitudes (Doctoral dissertation, University of the West of England).

Arieff, A., & Humud, C. (2014). Political Transition in Tunisia. Current Politics and Economics of Africa, 7 (4), 497-521. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS21666.pdf

Armstrong, D. (2002, October ). Dick Cheney’s Song of America: Drafting a plan

for global dominance. Harper's Magazine Foundation. Retrieved from https://harpers.org/archive/2002/10/dick-cheneys-song-of-america/

Bahloul, M. (2001). English in Carthage; or, the “Tenth Crusade”. http://www.postcolonialweb.org/poldiscourse/casablanca/bahloul2.html/, accessed 20 March 2017.

Battenburg, J. (1997). English versus French: Language rivalry in Tunisia. World Englishes, 16 (2), 281-290.

Bloomfield, L. (1993). About foreign language Teaching. Landmarks of American Language and Linguistics, 1,40-49.

Bouhdiba, S. (2011). L’arabe et le français dans le système éducatif Tunisien: Approche démographique et essai prospectif. Québec: Observatoire démographique et statistique de l’espace francophone, Université Laval. Retrieved from https://www.odsef.fss.ulaval.ca/sites/odsef.fss.ulaval.ca/files/rapport_bouh diba.pdf

Bouhris, R. (1982). Language policies and language attitudes: Le Monde de la Francophonie. In Rayan, E.B & Giles (Eds.), Attitudes towards language variation social and applied context ( pp 306-322). London: Edward Arnold.

Bouttemont,C. D. (2002). Le système éducatif Tunisien. Revue internationale d’éducation de Sèvres, (29), 129-136.

Brewer, T. L., & Boyd, G. (2000). Globalizing America: The USA in world integration. Edward Elgar Publishing. New horizons in international business

Crystal, D. (2006). English as a global language (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Daoud, M. (2001). The language situation in Tunisia. Current Issues in Language Planning, 2 (1), 1-52. Retrieved, from file:///C:/Users/dell/Downloads/daoud2001.pdf.

Davies, A. (2007). Introduction to applied linguistics: From practice to theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Derbel, F. (2001). EFL teacher preparation, teacher conceptual frame and the task of implementing pedagogical change: Direction for the future teacher education and development in Tunisia.(Doctoral thesis, University of London Institute of Education, London). Retrieved from http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10020366/1/536670vol1.pdf

Duverger, J. (2007). École élémentaire et enseignement des langues. Tréma, 28, 17-22. Retrieved from https://journals.openedition.org/trema/259

Fishman, D. (1999). The case for pragmatic psychology. New York: NewYork Univeristy Press.

Fries, C. C., & Lado, R. (1958). English pattern practices: Establishing the Patterns as Habits (An Intensive Course in English). Michigan: Michigan University, English Language Institute.

Gordon, P. H., & Meunier, S. (2001). Globalization and French cultural identity. French Politics, Culture & Society, 19 (1), 22-41.

Graddol, D. (2000). The future of English: A guide to forecasting the popularity of the English language in the 21st century (2nd Ed.). London: The British Council.

Halliday, A. K. (2006). Written language, standard language, global language. In Kachru, B., Yamuna Kachru and Cecil B. Nelson eds. The Handbook of World Englishes (pp. 349-365). Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell.

Harvey, David (2005). The new imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Howatt, R. & Smith, R. (2014). The history of teaching English as a foreign language, from a British and European perspective. Language and history, 57 (1), 75–95.

Kachru, B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistics. In Quirk, R. and Widdowson, H. (eds) English in the World: Teaching and Learning the Language and Literatures (pp. 11–30).

Kammoun, R. (2006). Diversité linguistique en Tunisie : Le français a-t-il perdu de sa suprématie? FIPLV WORLD CONGRESS 2006 Goteborg – Sweden, June 15-17, 2006.

Lado, R. (1957) Linguistics across cultures: Applied linguistics for language teachers. University of Michigan Press.

Moulton, W. (1993). Linguistics and language teaching in the United States 1940 - 1960. Landmarks of American Language and Linguistics, 1, 170-189.

Pennycook, A. (2013). The cultural politics of English as an International Language. London: Routledge.

Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Phillipson, R. (October 2012). English: from British empire to corporate empire. ReasearchGate, Sociolinguistic Studies. doi:10.1558/sols.v5i3.441

Quivy, M., & Tardieu, C. (2002). Glossaire de didactique de l'anglais. Ellipses.

Said, E. (1994). Culture and imperialism. New York: Vintage Publishers.

Stephen, H. (2002). Empire: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, Print.

Stevens, P. S. (1974). French and Arabic bilingualism in North Africa with special reference to Tunisia: A study of language attitudes and language use patterns. Unpublished PhD Dissertation.

Wright, S. (2004). Language Policy and Language Planning: From Nationalism

to Globalisation. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Article Statistic

Abstract view : 347 times
PDF views : 87 times

The PDF file you selected should load here if your Web browser has a PDF reader plug-in installed (for example, a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader).

If you would like more information about how to print, save, and work with PDFs, Highwire Press provides a helpful Frequently Asked Questions about PDFs.

Alternatively, you can download the PDF file directly to your computer, from where it can be opened using a PDF reader. To download the PDF, click the Download link above.

Fullscreen Fullscreen Off

Full Text: PDF

How To Cite This :


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 LEILA NAJEH BELGACEM

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.