When the leak becomes a flood
Vernacular literature in Tunisia
Social and technological changes over the past several decades have led to widespread writing of “spoken” Arabic dialects. In Tunisia, there has been a noticeable growth of vernacular prose literature, part of a larger development of Tunisian Arabic as a written language. Tunisia does not have a history of colloquial literature: previously even the use of “dɛ̄rja” in literary dialogue was rare. From this nearly non-existent base, a small “leak” of vernacular writing appeared in the latter part of the 20th century, followed by a flood–first online and increasingly in print–in the first two decades of the 21st. This has culminated in over a dozen vernacular novels and literary translations.
- 2.Tunisian Arabic literature in the early 20th century
- 3.The slow leak I: Vernacular for functional purposes
- 4.The slow leak II: Vernacular for creative purposes
- 5.The catalyst: Text messages and the internet
- 6.Tunisian Arabic fiction in the post-revolution era