Despite experiencing a relatively positive revival in the digital age, Esperanto and the assessment of its language vitality is often problematic and prone to gross errors; therefore, a theoretical reflection is required. Unlike other lesser-used languages, Esperanto is intergenerationally transmitted 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 of language activists who have guaranteed Esperanto’s vitality and development for more than a century. A key aspect is the digital domain, where, paradoxically, the relatively good positioning of Esperanto in terms of new users does not imply a parallel increase in the number of activists. This paper critically assesses the digital language vitality of Esperanto on the basis of its language ideology 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 (in the sense of Garvía 2015). This assessment eventually leads to a more general reflection on the role of ‘coolification’, i.e., positive effects on language attitudes and development due to digital visibility, its limits and the issue of placing it in the context of language vitality in general.
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