Granite island pearls

'Unaccompanied foreign minors' in a Corsican FLE class


  • Alexander Mendes Emory University


This article explores the intersection between globalization and language learning, as experienced by 'unaccompanied foreign minors' in a French as a Second Language class on Corsica. The analysis of linguistic-ethnographic data makes use of an extended metaphor, pearls, to develop multilayered conceptualizations of phenomena such as liminal multilingualism, mobility and (im)migration, and the post-national economy. Linguistic ethnography and metaphor prove useful for operationalizing a complexity approach in sociolinguistics (Blommaert 2016: 247), while the context under analysis allows for the investigation of globalizing surges (Ramanathan 2013a: 9-10; 2013b: 254) and peripheral multilingualism (Pietikäinen et al. 2017: ix, 225) among a vulnerable population. The case of these students offers an opportunity to look at the consequences of globalization on (im)migrant youth.

Author Biography

Alexander Mendes, Emory University

Mendes (PhD, UC Davis) is Assistant Professor of French at Emory University. His interests include qualitative applied sociolinguistics, language policy, minoritized language groups in francophone settings, Mediterranean studies, and interactions of culture and place.






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