ABSTRACT

The learning of foreign languages was certainly part of rites de passage in the French-Brazilian borderland. First coined by Arnold van Gennep, the anthropological concept ‘rite of passage' denotes phases and practices of initiation which are characteristic of a given ‘culture' or society. With increasing border controls that accompanied the construction and inauguration of the Oyapock river bridge, these discrepancies have become more striking. Moreover, the control of border crossers changes and restricts the longstanding rite of passage, practiced by many people in the borderland for family visits as well as for shopping, employment, and educational opportunities. Moreover, ‘inequality in Latin America is an outcome of a complex interweaving of the ambitions, beliefs, actions and worldviews of past and present persons and institutions'.