Painel Temático 03

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Tavares, Bernardino / Juffermans, Kasper - South-North trajectories and language repertoires

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Autoria Tavares, Bernardino
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Título South-North trajectories and language repertoires
Sessão PT03. New speakers’ linguistic status within diasporic trajectories. Social mobility and transformation of linguistic practices

Resumo

This paper explores language in global South-North migration from the perspective of aspiring migrants in West Africa within the context of increasingly restrictive European immigration regimes and their consequence of “involuntary immobility” (Carling, 2002) and emerging alternative South-South mobilities. We consider that while sociolinguistic scholarship has successfully engaged with a range of themes of globalization, mobility, and movement of people, it has insufficiently engaged with those that don’t travel well or are only tentatively mobile. We argue that a sociolinguistics of globalization needs to develop multi-sited methods and tools for investigating and understanding these “absent presences” – the invisibly excluded – and propose that repertoires and trajectories are useful tools in such undertaking.

The paper attempts a theoretical review of these concepts and illustrates their analytical potential with ethnographic vignettes from ongoing fieldwork in Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau as part of a larger project on language and migration at the University of Luxembourg. In particular, we explore the language lives, learning histories, travels and further mobile aspirations of several young Luso-West Africans “on the move”: of Mamadou in rural Guinea-Bissau, a so-called nania (literally, a “newly arrived”) immigrant entrepreneur from the other Guinea looking for a better future in and further migration from Guinea-Bissau; of Herina, a young housemaid on São Vicente in Cape Verde with family (parents, sister and brothers) in Italy, who was denied visas to Italy, France and the Netherlands seven times; of bicycle and motor spare parts dealer Sadjo and beekeeper Dino in Guinea-Bissau, who have initial mobile experiences to Dubai and Germany respectively; and of Eunice in Praia (Cape Verde), who has travelled to Portugal, France, and the U.S. to visit family. We argue that new speakerhood begins before migration and sets in motion social mobility and status transformations before one effectively becomes a mobile or diasporic citizen. We consider how their (unfinished) travels and their various strategies of learning language (formal and informal) have transformed their multilingual repertoires; and how their unfolding mobilities changed or are changing their social status. The paper concludes that South-North mobilities are shaped by as well as shaping multilingual repertoires, and are entangled in complex social expectations and desires of mobility.