Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Coolification and Language Vitality: The Case of Esperanto

Version 1 : Received: 18 April 2021 / Approved: 19 April 2021 / Online: 19 April 2021 (15:52:52 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Gobbo, F. Coolification and Language Vitality: The Case of Esperanto. Languages 2021, 6, 93. Gobbo, F. Coolification and Language Vitality: The Case of Esperanto. Languages 2021, 6, 93.


while enjoying a relative positive revival in the digital age, Esperanto and the assessment of its language vitality is often problematic and prone to gross errors, and therefore a theoretical re-flection is required. Unlike other lesser-used languages, Esperanto is intergenerationally trans-mitted mainly outside the family, and so Fishman’s GIDS and subsequent scales such as the EGIDS cannot be applied straightforwardly for language vitality diagnosis and estimation. In particular, it is the social movement with its language activists who guarantee its vitality and developing, for more than a century. A key aspect is the digital domain, where the relatively good positioning of Esperanto does not reflect in a parallel increase in the number of activists. This paper critically assesses the digital language vitality of Esperanto on the basis of its language ide-ology and other sociolinguistic data as a starting point for a discussion to overcome the limits of Blanke’s (2006) scale of language vitality of Esperanto and its rivals. This assessment eventually leads to a more general reflection on the role of ‘coolification’, i.e., the positive effects on language attitudes and development thanks to digital visibility, its limits and the issue of placing it in the context of language vitality in general.


language vitality; digital language vitality; Esperanto; coolification; intergenerational transmis-sion


Social Sciences, Anthropology

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