This chapter explores language in global South-North migration from the perspective of aspiring migrants in Lusophone West Africa within the context of increasingly restrictive European immigration regimes and their consequence of involuntary immobility in the South. While sociolinguistic scholarship has successfully engaged with globalization, mobility, and movement of people, it has insufficiently engaged with that which and those who don’t travel well. 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 three cases from ongoing fieldwork in Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau as part of a larger ethnographic project at the University of Luxembourg that explores the language lives, learning histories, (unfinished) travels, further mobile aspirations and changing social status of young West Africans on the move. The paper concludes by arguing that South-North mobilities are shaped by as well as shaping multilingual repertoires, and are entangled in complex desires and strategies of mobility.

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Published on 01/01/2017

Volume 2017, 2017
DOI: 10.4324/9781315640006-6
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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