• Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at 7:11 AM
    Last Update : Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at 7:11 AM

Tunisian Village Whose Locals Speak No Arabic, Stick to Amazigh Language

(AWP) - Residents of the Tunisian village of Taoujout in the state of Gabès do not speak neither Arabic nor any local dialect as they strictly speak the Amazigh language.

Famous for a number of historical monuments, including its central palace, Taoujout is one of the very few Tunisian villages where residents only speak Amazigh.

"We are now specifically in Aghasro, known as the palace. The Amazigh name for it is Aghasro. It is located in the middle of the village and was built in it since its inception," Ali Mezian, Member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Reviving Taoujout, says.

"From there, the village began to expand. The village has many historical customs and traditions, such as traditional industries and Amazigh weddings," he added.

Apart from those who left the village to study and work in nearby cities, Taoujout still hosts around 100 families.

Unlike other Berber villages spread throughout Tunisia and despite the successive governments and years, Taoujout residents hang on to their culture and customs, which are particularly evident in their clothing.

According to resident al-Hadi Harhiri, the area is "a mosaic of heritage, where the living religions - Islam, Christianity and Judaism – live".

"(Tamzart) is the long view, while (Gabès) is (Kabes), meaning the land of grapes," Harhiri added.

Despite the lack of official stats for Amazigh speakers in Tunisia, unofficial figures estimate them at half a million persons scattered across specific neighbourhoods in the capital and various cities throughout the country, in addition to dozens of small villages.