Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 22

Vitality Theory

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication


Vitality Theory
Benjamin King Smith, Martin Ehala, and Howard Giles
Subject: Health and Risk Communication, Interpersonal Communication
Online Publication Date: Jul 2017 DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.496

Summary and Keywords

Group vitality is a widely invoked construct in the study of minority language


maintenance and interethnic relations. Per the original framework introduced 40 years
ago, the more vitality an ethnolinguistic group perceives itself to have, the more likely
that it will thrive as a collective entity in an intergroup context. Consequently, research
adopting this paradigmherein termed vitality theoryhas studied ways in which
objective and subjective group vitality has manifested itself in the endurance of
ethnolinguistic groups. The notion of objective vitality includes the factors of
demographics, institutional support, and status that characterize the strength of a group
in comparison to others present in an intergroup setting. Contrastively, subjective vitality
was introduced to highlight how groups may cognitively and affectively perceive these
same factors.

A large body of empirical research has been conducted within the vitality theory
framework that has resulted in several stages of development. Evidence has shown that
while the components of objective vitality (demographics, institutional support, status) do
not typically manifest themselves as distinct components in the structure of subjective
vitality, they do form a single component reflecting the perceived strength of the group.
In addition, several other social psychological factors, such as perception of the
legitimacy of intergroup relations, the level of ethnocentrism, and perception of
intergroup distance, were incorporated into models of subjective vitality. Relatedly, these
factors are shaped into group members discourse of vitality, which is a highly dialogical
process of negotiation of subjective vitality of the groups engaged in intergroup contact.

The vitality framework has been usefully invoked beyond ethnolinguistic groups,
embracing several intergroup settings including age, gender, and sexual orientation.
Vitality, which has provoked some controversy in the literature, has also been widely
adopted by very different approaches as an umbrella term to denote the long-term
sustainability of a group. Scholars in linguistics, sociology, psychology, education,

Page 1 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

anthropology, and beyond have contributed much to the concept, helping to educate and
raise awareness as to why languages die out and the effects of such languages dying out.

Keywords: group membership, intergroup relations, language attitudes, language maintenance, language shift,
intergroup communication

The Genesis of Vitality Theory


In its original conception, group vitality referred to that which makes a group likely to
behave as a distinctive and active collective entity in intergroup situations (Giles,
Bourhis, & Taylor, 1977, p. 308). It was argued that three sets of sociostructural variables
institutional support, demography, and social statuswere key factors for measuring and
monitoring the vitality of ethnolinguistic groups and for better investigating the social
psychological processes underlying interethnic behavior, intergroup relations, cross-
cultural communication, etc. To this more objective framework for understanding vitality,
Bourhis, Giles, and Rosenthal (1981) introduced a measure of subjective (or perceived)
vitality, arguing that knowledge about group members subjective perceptions of their
own ethnolinguistic vitality may help account for group members intergroup attitudes,
skills and motivations for second language learning, attitudes towards language usage
and use of code switching strategies (p. 147). Together, these two constructsobjective
vitality and subjective vitalitycomprise the commonly agreed-upon core of this
construct. In this section we provide a discussion of these two facets of vitality and move
on to an extended processual model of it.

The vitality framework has enjoyed a significant amount of scholarly attention, and while
the clear majority of work has focused on ethnolinguistic groups, it has been fruitfully
invoked across several intergroup settings including age, gender, and sexual orientation.
It also features as an integral component of ethnolinguistic identity theory (e.g., Giles &
Johnson, 1981), which was developed to predict when ethnic groups accentuate or
attenuate their distinctive linguistic and communicative features in interaction. The study
of vitality has been a fruitful area of academic study; a search of major academic research
databases shows it to have appeared in over 1,900 articles published in at least 182
different journals since 1977. Most of these studies (nearly 75%) have been published just
in the last 15 years. As noted by Yagmur and Ehala (2011), vitality has gained significant
prominence during the 21st century, in no small part due to the ever increasing effect
that globalization has on the dynamics of ethnic and linguistic communities (p. 101). The
vitality framework provides a useful lens for understanding the ever-shrinking boundaries
between cultural and ethnolinguistic groups and has been brought to bear in a large
range of disciplines, from social and cross-cultural psychology, to political science,
linguistics, communication, cultural studies, and more.

Page 2 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

The notion of ethnolinguistic vitality was originally proposed as a conceptual tool to


analyze the sociostructural variables affecting the strength of ethnolinguistic
communities within intergroup settings (Harwood, Giles, & Bourhis, 1994, p. 167).
Unsurprisingly then, the early research on vitality focused on what has come to be
referred to as objective vitality. The basic argument of objective vitality is that higher
status, institutional support/control, and/or positive demographic trends are indicative of
higher ethnolinguistic group vitality. In turn, the more vitality an ethnolinguistic group
has, in comparison to relevant outgroups, the more likely that it will survive and thrive
as a collective entity in the intergroup context (Harwood et al., 1994, p. 168). The natural
converse of this statement is that a group with low vitality is unlikely to endure and may
eventually cease to exist as a distinctive linguistic group.

Subjective or perceived vitality is the natural extension of the original vitality framework
and emerged in response to the equal need to take into account individuals cognitive
representations of the societal conditions which impinged upon them (Moscovici, 1981)
and which could mediate their intergroup behaviors (Johnson, Giles, & Bourhis, 1983, p.
256). Bourhis et al. (1981) also presented a first attempt to measure subjective vitality in
what they referred to as the Subjective Vitality Questionnaire (SVQ). No other facet of
vitality theory has received as much scholarly attention as the SVQ; by our estimates,
about 45% of all vitality studies utilize some version of this questionnaire.

The fundamental premise of subjective vitality is that group members subjective


perceptions of relative ingroup/outgroup vitality may be as important as, if not more
important than, the groups objective vitality. Fundamentally, individuals act based
upon what they perceive. While an individuals perceptions of vitality are surely
dependent (at least in part) on the objective realities of the world around themthus
acting as a mediator between objective group vitality and intergroup behaviorthey can
also be biased based upon cognitive and motivational factors (Sachdev & Bourhis, 1993).

In 1994, Harwood, Giles, and Bourhis revisited and extended the group vitality
framework, providing the first true articulation of what is now considered vitality theory.
The extended model they proposed articulates the kinds of situational elements at a
number of levels that impact upon individuals assessments of in- and outgroup
vitalities (Harwood et al., 1994, p. 181). More fully, they proposed a recursive model
showing the precursors, dimensions, and communicative manifestations of vitality
assessment.

The extended model, and in turn vitality theory, is composed of nine research
propositions, shown in Table 1 (see also Giles & Johnson, 1981). The major advance of this
model was an acknowledgment that manifestations of the vitality assessment process can
be found in the communicative behaviors of in- and outgroup members and in intergroup
cognitions in terms of social attitudes, attributions, and relational strategies in intra- and
intergroup encounters (Harwood et al., 1994, p. 181). Additionally, this framework
refocused the research communitys attention on the process of vitality assessment (in

Page 3 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

relation to ethnolinguistic groups and beyond), rather than simply the description of
intergroup vitality climates around the world.

Table 1. Selected Listing of Research Propositions Composing Vitality Theory

1 In the absence of marked sociopolitical/economic instability, subjective vitality


assessments will broadly reflect the objective vitality of social groups.

2 The presence of societal instability will lead to marked intergroup differences in


the degree of cross-group consensus of intergroup vitalities.

3 An [individuals network of linguistic contacts] INLC will be directly related to


the objective and subjective vitality of their group. An increase in the use of a
particular language within the INLC will lead to more positive appraisals of its
vitality, while a decrease in the use of a language in the INLC will lead to more
negative appraisals of its vitality.

4 The salience of vitality concerns will increase as a function of the degree of


perceived change in ingroup and outgroup vitality.

5a A perceived decrease in vitality for the ingroup will lead to an attenuation of


intergroup vitality difference by the dominant group and to an accentuation of
intergroup vitality difference by the subordinate group.

5b A perceived increase in vitality for the ingroup will lead to an accentuation of


intergroup vitality difference by the dominant group and to an attenuation of
intergroup vitality difference by the subordinate group.

6 High levels of ethnolinguistic identification will enhance/accentuate the


processes outlined in other research propositionsespecially those in research
propositions 4 and 5.

7 All processes described above will be [moderated] by the immediate context of


assessment, including language of questionnaire, comparisons invoked, etc.

8a Group members who perceive their ingroup to have high vitality will tend to
converge little toward outgroup members, whereas group members who
perceive their ingroup to have low vitality will tend to converge toward the
outgroup, and especially so if their identification with their own group is low. As
identification with the ingroup increases, members of low-vitality groups will
become less likely to converge toward the outgroup.

Page 4 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

8b Group members who perceive their ingroups societal position as illegitimate


and unjust will be inclined toward divergent intergroup behavior (irrespective
of whether they have high or low perceived ingroup vitality). Under conditions
of higher perceived legitimacy, low subjective vitality groups will be likely in
intergroup contexts to converge or to diverge depending upon the individuals
level of identification (i.e., low or high, respectively), whereas higher vitality
groups will no converge (irrespective of their levels of ingroup identification).

Source: Adapted from Harwood et al. (1994).

Vitality Factors
Throughout the genesis of vitality theory, from objective to subjective and beyond, the
typical factors used to understand and define vitality have remained relatively stable. As
stated above, three factors are believed to primarily drive the assessment of vitality:
institutional support, demography, and status. The purpose of this section to define these
core factors while also providing examples of the empirical work being conducted in
relation to each.

Institutional Support

Institutional support (also known as institutional control) is defined as the extent to


which an ethnolinguistic group has gained formal and informal representation in the
various institutions of a community, region, state, or nation (Harwood et al., 1994, p. 168).
As the definition suggests, institutional support can be broadly delineated into two types:
formal and informal. Formal intuitional support refers to the position of ethnolinguistic
group members in decision-making roles within relevant government, business, industry,
media, religious, and cultural domains. Informal institutional support references power in
relation to the same domains as formal institutional support, with the key difference
being the locus of control. While formal measures the extent to which the ethnolinguistic
group is actually able to make decisions (and in turn to exert control), informal measures
the extent to which the group has organized itself as a pressure group to represent and
safeguard its own ethnolinguistic interests (Harwood et al., 1994, p. 168). Functionally
speaking, institutional support provides a framework for understanding how languages
are supported and controlled in certain contexts. However, Esteban-Guitart, Viladot, and
Giles (2015) also showed, with data from the Chiapas in Mexico, that the way in which the
ingroup construes support and control within its own community institutions is a
powerful factor in assessing group vitality.

Page 5 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

A growing portion of research on institutional support and vitality has focused on


concepts like a regions linguistic landscape to analyze or quantify the salience and
cultural influence of languages in multi-lingual cultures and regions. Within this context,
the geosemiotics of the linguistic landscape have been examined as quantifiers of the
presence of non-native languages, like English, because these markerslike public and
commercial signageserve as public media and form of communication of the status of a
language. Li (2015) used this approach to study the linguistic landscape of Suzhou, China.
Though not an official language of China, Li found that English was prevalently found
alongside Chinese as either translations or romanizations of shop, restaurant, and
manufacturer names. He asserts that English functions as a distinctive entity, redefining
what it means to be Chinese through the categorization of groups that associate and
employ English in the linguistic landscape of Suzhou.

In Singapore, Tan (2014) illustrated the tensions between groups of different ethnic and
linguistic heritage, again through analysis of the geosemiotics of the local linguistic
landscape. Through this analysis of official signs, an imbalance and prioritization of
languages was discovered that ran counter to the official stated policies of the
Singaporean government. The official languages of Singapore are English, Malay,
Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil, and the official policy is to be even-handed in its
treatment of the different ethnic groups, and therefore of the languages associated with
these groups (Tan, 2014, p. 456). However, Tan found a stronger English presence and
prioritization on official public signage (e.g., those associated with the mass rapid
transit), especially in relation to Malay. In the specific case of Malay, Tan argues that the
message being communicated by the discrepant actualization of official policy is that of
the erasure of Malay (Tan, 2014, p. 452).

Research on institutional support also points to the idea that there is a level of prestige
associated with certain languages in terms of the support they receive from formal
institutions. Languages that are deemed appropriate and official by government or other
high-status establishments receive more attention, respect, and favorable treatment, as
opposed to minority or non-native languages. In the Greek Orthodox community of
Istanbul, Greek speakers have substantial vitality due to the highly symbolic status of the
language, a strong sense of ethnocultural identity, and, perhaps most importantly,
relatively strong institutional support, which, in turn, has given the Greek ethnolinguistic
minority great resilience in the Turkish-speaking environment (Komondouros & McEntee-
Atalianis, 2007). In other settings, such as schools, the use of certain languages is dictated
and enforced by the faculty and administration, which can lead to the erosion of non-
supported language groups. An ethnographic study of schools in Quetta, Pakistan,
portrayed the nature of policy toward indigenous, marginalized languages as biased and
unacceptable in the educational environment (Manan, David, & Dumanig, 2014). These
schools use Urdu and English as legitimate languages to undermine and lessen the
usage of indigenous languages; teachers and other administration are required to proctor
and reinforce the use of English and Urdu. An analysis of information taken from
ethnographies and interviews by Manan et al. (2014) showed that there were cases where

Page 6 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

those who did not comply were fined or faced corporal punishment. These efforts brought
on by the school board were to establish a division between and sense of exclusivism for
the indigenous languages to only be spoken in the home and community domains. These
top-down government language policies aimed to achieve linguistic homogeneity by
reinforcing Urdu and English as the official languages of Pakistan.

Additionally, media representations of languages shape the vitality of the given language.
The status of a language in the given country greatly influences the amount of airtime
and exposure to such language ethnic speakers will have. Moring et al. (2011) investigated
the objective vitality of diasporic languages in South Tyrol, Transylvania, Ostrobotnia,
and Uusimaa. Data found that several institutional factors such as being an official
language of the region and having laws that required administrative affairs be relayed in
the minority language were used to uphold the demographic and cultural strength of
these minority groups. Having such institutional support allowed minority groups to
establish themselves among the population, which, in turn, allowed them a sense of
consolidated positive status and right to exercise some control over the media
landscape. Since they were more concentrated demographically and had a somewhat
stable level of institutional support, there was a relatively high demand for and supply of
culturally relevant media. This resulted in high media representation, which in turn
reinforced the vitality of the minority groups.

Demographics

Demographic factors of vitality refer to the distribution and size of an ethnolinguistic


groupthe geographic distribution of group members, the relative proportion of group
numbers, and rates of births, deaths, and intermarriage (Moring et al., 2011). It is
generally believed that groups with favorable trends in demography are more likely to
have vitality as distinctive groups than those whose demographic trends are unfavorable
and not conducive to group survival (Giles et al., 1977, p. 309). Similarly, perceptions of
shifts in demography, as with perceived changes in immigration and emigration, can have
a large-scale influence on intergroup relations as well. Relatedly, sudden and or
consistent streams of outgroup members (e.g., refugees of various ideological
persuasions) that increasingly change the nature of our neighborhoods, local identities,
linguistic landscapes, and so on can be seen as threatening rather than enriching for
some, propelling them to acts of discrimination (see Barker & Giles, 2002; Barker et al.,
2001).

Demographic data are perhaps the most commonly used of the three objective vitality
factors, especially in research focused on subjective vitality, both as a predictor of
subjective vitality and as a means of quantifying and sorting groups objectively.
Additionally, census information is often used as a tool for better understanding issues
related to vitality, such as language shift. For instance, Schaberg and Barkhuizen (1998)
interviewed South African women in mixed-race marriages to examine German language

Page 7 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

shift and maintenance of mothers and their children in family settings. They found
evidence of a shift away from the low-vitality language toward the more demographically
dominant languages of English or Afrikaans.

As an extension of group size, researchers have used mapping techniques to visualize the
proportions and locations of language users. Demography of languages in Africa was
investigated through language maps, which suggested that radical language shifts were
occurring (such as influence of European language on African language and culture)
despite efforts used to promote language heterogeneity being put into place (Brenzinger,
Heine, & Sommer, 1991; for the Finnish context, see Liebkind, Henning-Lindblom, &
Solheim, 2008). The promotion of language heterogeneity by encouraging the use of
multiple languages was used as an approach to allow coexistence between minority and
majority languages, as well as alleviate the threat of European languages and extinction
of minority languages.

Since demographics are typically results of changes over time in this increasingly
common world of diaspora, it is important to look at patterns of migration to understand
how and why people inhabit their current regions. Hedberg and Kepsu (2003) considered
historical emigration patterns (waves of labor migration, seeking higher salaries/
opportunities) of Finlands Swedish speakers to Sweden to assess how their mobility has
contributed to the diminishing vitality of the Swedish language in Finland.

Status

Status factors are those which pertain to a configuration of prestige variables of the
linguistic group in the intergroup context (Giles et al., 1977, p. 309), determined by the
extent to which the social status of a member or members of a group are recognized in
inter- and intra-group contexts. Status is a broad category and includes economic, social,
sociohistorical, and language status (both within and without the boundaries of the
linguistic community). While in the original account, status was included among objective
vitality factors, it is only partly an objective property of groups, to the extent that it is
legally fixed (official language, right to marry for gays, caste systems).

A well-known example of objective status is the caste system in India in which each
member of society is born into a certain social class and assigned status per the rank of
it. As the chosen indicator for determining social class from birth, Jaspal (2011) examined
the ways in which the caste system is responsible for enacting identity and social space
not only in the whole landscape of Indian society but also within/between members of
scheduled caste (an official designation that generally refers to the lower segments of
Indian society) and higher caste groups.

Recognition and status can also be defined in socioeconomic terms. Socioeconomic status
(SES) in most societies (and in contemporary India) is based on the perception of a
groups economic and cultural capital, which is more flexible than class, allowing for

Page 8 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

greater social mobility. Puah and Ting (2015) measured how socioeconomic status shaped
perceptions of stereotypes among Hokkien and Foochow speakers in Malaysia toward
speakers of each language and Mandarin speakers. Perceptions were assessed through
stereotypical traits associated with Hokkien and Foochow, both regional minority dialects
that have less status when compared to the more globally dominant Mandarin Chinese.
These results indicate that much of status is a socially shared belief about the worth of a
group, that is, a subjective factor, closely connected to other social psychological
phenomena related to intergroup perception.

Relatedly, Sachdev, Bourhis, Phang, and DEye (1987) found that the history of job
segregation and discrimination against Chinese in Canada has in many ways led to lower
group vitality perceptions among first-generation Chinese Canadians. However, second-
generation Chinese Canadians, cued by the fact that many of the new Chinese
immigrants are professionals, technicians and business people who have attained high
social status (Sachdev et al., 1987, p. 293), reported inflated perceptions of ingroup
vitality. Therefore, stereotypes, both positive and negative, express the perceived status
of a group in societies in which status classes are not rigidly fixed.

Conceptual Analysis of the Vitality Construct


and Its Components
The concept of vitality has been criticized for being too general, poorly defined, not easily
operationalized, and not precise enough in predicting language maintenance or shift
(e.g., Haarman, 1986; Husband & Khan, 1982; Tollefson, 1991). An argument could be made
the much of this criticism has been overly hasty and ideologically driven (Johnson et al.,
1983), but some critiques of the vitality framework have proven useful in leading to further
theoretical development. In that vein, we engage in a critical analysis of the vitality
construct and its subcomponents.

Page 9 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

Definitional Issues

There is still some ambiguity as to the notion of vitality itself, partly because it is used in
several theoretical traditions that are fairly distinct from each other. In the definition
provided by Giles et al. (1977, p. 308), vitality is defined through a groups ability to
behave as a distinctive and active collective entity in intergroup situations, yet vitality
itself is not this ability, because it only makes a group likely to behave in such a manner.
Therefore, as Ehala (2010) argues, the groups ability to act collectively is at least partly
independent of its objective vitalitya group with unchanged vitality may still be more or
less likely to behave as a distinctive and active collective. In fact, many national
awakenings provide direct evidence of a situation where a group suddenly starts to act as
a collective force despite any long-term decline in its objective vitality. For this reason,
the original definition of vitality by Giles et al. (1977) misses an important variable that
stands between the sociostructural factors that support a groups ability to be a
distinctive and active collective and its actual ability to act as such a collective.

The term vitality is also used in several frameworks of language maintenance, and in
these frameworks vitality is understood as a groups long-term sustainability, not as one
of several factors that supports its sustainability. For this reason, Ehala (2015) proposed a
new definition that is more in line with the actual practice of how the term is used in
language maintenance and ground-level vitality studies: vitality is a groups ability to
maintain and protect its existence in time as a collective entity (p. 1). The word ability
refers both to the structural ability that enables sustainability such as demographic
strength and the extent of its institutional support (i.e., the objective vitality) as well as
the dynamic ability to maintain and protect, that is, to act as a group to secure its own
sustainability (i.e., subjective vitality).

This broader definition can be applied to characterize vitality of different types of groups,
because it leaves the nature of the structural ability and dynamic ability undefined. For
ethnolinguistic groups, the ability to be sustainable as a collective assumes the
maintenance of language practices and continuity of ethnic identity. For other types of
groups (religious, professional, subcultural), the particular structural factors necessary
for sustainability and how the group manifests itself as a distinct collective can be
different. Thus, vitality is any groups ability to maintain temporal continuity, that is, to
resist assimilation.

Difficulties of Operationalization

While the notions of objective and subjective vitality are heuristically instructive, it is very
hard to calculate the overall vitality as the sum of a large number of different factors in a
way that would make meaningful comparisons possible. For example, which language has
higher vitality: Qetchua, with several million of speakers but a very weak institutional
support system, or Faroese, with 50,000 speakers but with strong institutional support.

Page 10 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

Further, even if the number of speakers is roughly similar, it is hard to rank their vitality
if their strengths and weaknesses on factors of institutional support (number of schools,
churches, newspapers, and books published, hours of TV and radio broadcast, number of
societies and ethnic organizations, etc.) are different. There is no principled way to rank
groups on these parameters in anything but the most general terms. Even if the number
of institutions for two groups is similar, it would be hard to assess how actively they are
used, how many participate, etc. Clearly, the descriptions of institutional support would
need to be lengthy and detailed, and even then it would be hard to make an objective
assessment of how much higher the vitality of one is in comparison with other.

The situation is even more difficult with the measurement of status factors. First, it is not
entirely clear whether status is an objectively measurable structural property of a group
or a social consensus over the ranking of groups made based on some assessment
criteria. It is possible to get information about the status by surveying the general
population, by asking the subjects assessment about the prestige of certain groups
relative to other groups. Yet in this case, status depends on the group that does the
assessment. For example, some ethno-religious groups have often been assigned a rather
low status by the mainstream societies they live in, yet per their own value system, it is
the mainstream society that is corrupt and has rather low status. Thus, status is observer-
relative, that is, subjective.

Status has objective properties if the majority assessment is taken as the objective
reflection of different groups status in this society, and particularly when it is
institutionalized in law or regulations. For example, the status of a language as a state
language, official language, educational language (and the extent of this in different
school levels) all could be described and formalized clearly for objective vitality
assessment and comparison. Similarly, the status of gay communities can be measured in
respect to how they are institutionalizedwhether they have the right to marry, or to
form civil partnership, whether this sexual orientation is legal or considered a crime.

From the three components of objective vitality, only demographic factors can be
reasonably objectively measured using reliable censuses and other available statistical
data that states collect about the ethnolinguistic background of their populations. The
difficulties associated with measuring the institutional support and status factors
objectively and presenting the results in a sufficiently fine-grained vitality scale for
meaningful comparative research is perhaps the main reason why the objective vitality
construct has not been adequately operationalized and there is no widely accepted
research instrument for assessing objective vitality.

Problems with the Validity of the Instrument

Measuring subjective vitality was operationalized by the SVQ, which focuses on the
perception of objective vitality (Bourhis et al., 1981). The recurrent problem with this

Page 11 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

instrument is that the underlying three-component structurecomprised of status,


demography, and institutional support factorsfails to consistently emerge based on
empirical data (see, however, Giles, Rosenthal, & Young, 1985).

Abrams, Barker, and Giles (2009) explored the latent structure of the SVQ further. Their
analysis suggested that there is no empirical basis for the three-component structure of
objective vitality, based on a study of 430 self-identified African Americans, Hispanic
Americans, and Asian Americans taking undergraduate communication classes at
universities and community colleges in southern California. However, what they found,
similar to previous studies (see, e.g., Pittam, Gallois, & Willemyns, 1991), was that the
whole 21-item set of questions aligned well to just one underlying latent factor, with a
solid Cronbach alpha well over 0.7.

What these findings suggest is that the subjective vitality as conceptualized by SVQ
measures a single factor that could be defined as the perceived strength of the group.
According to social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979; Turner & Brown, 1978), the
perceived strengths of the ingroup and outgroup affect the choice of strategy to improve
the collective identity: if the ingroup is perceived as strong and the intergroup power
relations are perceived to be illegitimate, the subordinate group may choose a social
change strategy (or social competitive) to improve its status; that is, it is likely to act
collectively to demand justice and more rights. If the strength differences between the
groups are large, social mobility is a more likely strategy to improve the self-esteem of
the subordinate group.

Another thorough exploration of the predictive power of the SVQ was conducted by Allard
and Landry (1994), who measured how well it predicted the choice of language in bilingual
French-English settings in several Canadian provinces compared to the alternative
instrument of Beliefs on Ethnolinguistic Vitality Questionnaire (BEVQ). The latter
consisted of two sections: questions about exocentric beliefs (i.e., beliefs about objective
vitality) and about egocentric beliefs (i.e., beliefs about ones own future behavior relative
to normative beliefs about language maintenance). These authors predicted that SVQ
would align with the exocentric beliefs of BEVQ and both these measures would be
weaker predictors of language choice than egocentric beliefs. The results of their study
confirmed both predictions.

Vitality has been used widely over the years as an integral component of several
theoretical frameworks including models of bilingualism (e.g., Clment, 1980; Giles &
Byrne, 1982) and ethnolinguistic differentiation (Giles & Johnson, 1981). Some other models
are in critical dialogue with the original conceptions of vitality, and we describe two of
these below.

Page 12 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

Cultural Autonomy Model

The cultural autonomy model (CAM; Bourhis & Landry, 2008; Landry, Allard, & Deveau,
2010) is a direct theoretical development of vitality theory, particularly in terms of
objective vitality. CAM also incorporates the interactions between the components, thus it
is a dynamic model of vitality. The model includes four componentssocial proximity,
institutional completeness, ideological legitimacy, and collective identityand outlines
relations between the components (Figure 1). The edges of the tripod model correspond
roughly to the components of the standard version of objective vitality. The central
element in the model is social proximity, which incorporates the key demographic
variables of the vitality theory: the absolute number of group members and their
proportion in the general population. Basically, it is the sphere of homefriends
neighborhoodommunity nexus that is crucial for the intergenerational transmission of
language and cultural practices (Fishman, 1991).

Institutional completeness
roughly corresponds to
institutional support in
vitality theory. CAM
further posits a
relationship between
Click to view larger institutional completeness
Figure 1. Cultural autonomy model. (Adapted from and social proximitythe
Landry, Allard, & Deveau, 2010, p. 33) more concentrated the
group members are
territorially, the easier and more likely it is that the group would establish social
institutions for its own sustainability. Institutional completeness thus depends both on the
communitys ability to build social institutions and on the support of the wider society
(e.g., legislation, public funding). This larger institutional support depends directly on the
ideological legitimacy of this group within the larger society. Such legitimacy is
institutionalized through official status, which is either given or not given to the group
and their language, or active downgrading of their position in the society by the majority
(as in the case of the new immigrant communities in some societies). Thus, ideological
legitimacy expresses the institutionalized aspect of the group status in the society and
corresponds somewhat to the status component of vitality theory.

At the center of the CAM model is collective identity, which Landry et al. (2010) see as a
shared understanding of the group as such, with its history and destiny. They admit that
collective identity is hard to understand and measure, but it has the ability to mobilize
and govern (Landry et al., 2010, p. 33). They argue that collective identity is the basis for
cultural autonomy but do not specify how collective identity affects the processes that
take in place in the other three components of the model. The collective identitys ability

Page 13 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

to mobilize suggests that it is close to the version of vitality theory elaborated in Ehala
(2010), which we discuss next.

Extended Subjective Vitality Model

The extended subjective vitality model, developed in Ehala (2009, 2010), claims that
subjective vitality as perception of objective vitality (and measured by SVQ) is just one
among several social psychological factors that contribute to a groups ability to act
collectively. The model aims to expand upon social identity theory (see Tajfel & Turner,
1979) to further specify the wider social psychological conditions that make group
members choose collective strategies rather than individual strategies for improving their
social status. For example, according to Giles et al. (1977), the likelihood of collective
action depends on whether the subordinate group perceives alternatives to the existing
intergroup situation. If cognitive alternatives are perceived, the subordinate group is
more likely to opt for social change. Turner and Brown (1978) argue that the perception of
cognitive alternatives depends on three factors: stability of the intergroup situation (i.e.,
how likely it is that the status hierarchy could be changed); legitimacy of the intergroup
setting (i.e., the extent that the status differential is perceived to be just and moral); and
the permeability of group boundaries.

Developing these ideas, Ehala and Zabrodskaja (2014) claim that intergroup stability is a
function of two factorsthe perceived strength differential between the groups and the
perceived intergroup discordance. if the outgroup is perceived to be stronger than the
ingroup, and the situation is considered legitimate with little intergroup distrust, the
overall intergroup situation is perceived as stable. If the ingroup is perceived as nearly as
strong as the outgroup and/or the intergroup hierarchy is deemed illegitimate
(accompanied by strong distrust toward the outgroup), the situation is perceived as
unstable. The perception of instability increases the groups likelihood for collective
action, whereas the perception of stability suppresses it. According to the extended
model, subjective vitality is further affected by the perception of the permeability of
group boundaries: the more permeable they are perceived to be, the smaller is the
likelihood of collective action. This may be because it is far easier for the group members
to leave the group individually than to try to improve its status collectively. The fourth
factor in the model is utilitarianism.

Utilitarianism is a value system in which rational calculation of material gains,


pragmatism, and innovation are considered valuable. It is in conceptual opposition to
traditionalism that values cultural roots and emotional attachment to a heritage identity.
In general, the more utilitarian minority group members are, the more likely they are to
seek to abandon the heritage identity in favor of mainstream identities. The more
traditional they are, the more likely they are to retain their heritage identity. This means
that a high level of utilitarianism among group members reduces their likelihood for
acting collectively as a group.

Page 14 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

All the components of Ehalas model are fully operationalized for triangulated
quantitative-qualitative research (see the instrument in Ehala & Zabrodskaja, 2014) and
are invoked for comparative research of subjective vitality in the Baltic countries and
some other post-Soviet societies. Since the survey instrument involves Likert-type of
scales, each of the parameters of the model can be expressed numerically so that exact
scores can be calculated. This enables comparative assessment of vitality with very high
precision.

Discussion and Future Directions


As outlined, the notion of vitality has been extensively theorized and developed during the
last 40 years and, as alluded to above, studied in many contexts around the globe (Figure
2).

While the concept of


objective vitality has been
clear, it has been
challenging to measure it
with accuracy and
precision. One useful
large-scale assessment
instrument is the EGIDS
Click to view larger
scale used in the
Figure 2. Vitality studies conducted throughout the ethnologue classification
world in the past 40 years.
of language endangerment
(Lewis, Simons, & Fennig,
2016). It uses only a few robust indicators: the formal (official) status of the language,
intergenerational transmission of language, and its use in different domains (from
international to home, differentiating between generations if necessary). The EGIDS scale
can be complemented by questionnaires about language choice in different domains of
use (such as the Individuals Network of Linguistic Contacts Individuals Network of
Linguistic Contacts (INCL), developed by Allard & Landry, 1994). Administering such a
survey enables scholars to gather scalar data about which languages are used to which
extent in different institutional settings (e.g., home, neighborhood, school, workplace,
medical institutions, media). These data provide a good indicator of the institutional
support a language has received in a particular domain. Even though it is an indirect
measure, it can give fine-grained complementary assessment to EGIDS and is well suited
for comparative research. Another relatively easily measured indicator of objective
vitality is the absolute number of speakers and their concentration in a specific territory.

Page 15 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

Therefore, we suggest that a fairly complete description of objective vitality of a language


community can be provided by its EGIDS score, basic demographic data, and the self-
reported data about the choice of heritage versus mainstream language in different
domains of communication. Thus far there is no good matrix for evaluating the objective
vitality of other communities than ethnolinguistic ones (see, however, Giles et al., 2000;
Kramarae, 1981). As the nature of these communities (cultural, lifestyle, etc.) can be rather
versatile, the ways of assessing their objective vitality is likely to differ to a considerable
extent.

The development of the subjective vitality concept has been very diverse, but a few
consensually agreed-upon points have emerged over decades of research. First, it is
connected to and a function of social (collective) identity as specified in ethnolinguistic
identity theory (Giles & Johnson, 1981, 1987), Ehalas (2010) extended subjective vitality
model, and the cultural autonomy model. The connection between collective action and
the emotional attachment to social identity has been confirmed in experimental studies as
well (see Ellemers, Kortekaas, & Ouwerkerk, 1999). Second, it is understood that
perceptions of vitality as measured by the SVQ form just one aspect of the construct that
is much more complex social psychologically. There are several different elaborations of
these parameters, such as Giles and Johnson (1987), Harwood et al. (1994), and Allard and
Landrys (1994). As Ehala (2010) argues, subjective vitality must be understood as a groups
ability to act collectively, i.e., its level of social mobilization.

The most current theoretical elaboration of this understanding of subjective vitality is the
Web Model of intergroup settings (Ehala, Giles, & Harwood, 2016). Based on prior work on
vitality, social identity, and self-categorization theories, these scholars propose that high
subjective vitality is the consequence of high levels of six social psychological
parameters: emotional attachment to group identity, boundary impermeability,
ethnocentrism, perceived strength of the group, perceived illegitimacy of intergroup
power relations, and perceived level of intergroup distrust. High levels of these six
parameters lead to the emergence of hot identities characterized by high subjective
vitality (Ehala, 2011). The Web Model makes a prediction that the dialogic rise in
subjective vitality of the groups in contact could, in certain settings, lead to escalation to
the Ground Zero of intergroup communication in which negotiable intergroup
communication ceases, with any further escalation leading to overt intergroup violence.

While much has been achieved over four decades in terms of both empirical forays in
many parts of the world (see Figure 2) as well as in conceptual wood-clearing, much
obviously remains. First, we have an array of vitality (or vitality-centric) models that
would benefit from reconfiguration and measurement into those that coherently and
parsimoniously address specified research questions and how conceptions of vitality are
explanatorily useful in specific domains. These might include (but not be limited to)
predicting and understanding: language attitudes and language use; proficiency in
second and foreign languages; code-switching between languages and dialects;

Page 16 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

maintenance of heritage languages; the salience of social identity across intergroup


settings; and collective communicative actions to rewrite supposed injustices.

Second, the clear majority of empirical research conducted relies on quantitative


measures such as surveys, and there is a dire need to follow up the processual path
initiated by Harwood et al. (1994) into exploring the discourses of vitality, not only in face-
to-face interaction and in traditional media, but also in the various forms of electronic
communication such as texting, blogging, and the social media. Third, we need
programmatic comparative study of different intergroup settings from, for example, gay
straight to political parties to militarycivilian to understand the power of relative
vitalities in impacting our group thoughts, feelings, messages, and social interactions.
Finally, there are so many isolated ethnolinguistic vitality studies conducted in various
parts of the world (see Figure 2) that a thorough meta-analysis is required, which would
give us insights into what different vitality profiles emerge, where, and why. Hopefully,
this article, in pulling together very diverse (and sometimes provocative) perspectives on
the vitality construct and its implicated processes, will be useful toward these and other
ends.

Further Readings
Ehala, M. (2010). Ethnolinguistic vitality and intergroup processes. Multilingua, 29, 203
221.

Ehala, M., Giles, H., & Harwood, J. (2016). Conceptualizing the diversity of intergroup
settings: The web model. In H. Giles & A. Maass (Eds.), Advances in intergroup
communication (pp. 301316). New York: Peter Lang.

Giles, H., Bourhis, R. Y., & Taylor, D. M. (1977). Towards a theory of language in ethnic
group relations. In H. Giles (Ed.), Language, ethnicity, and intergroup relations (pp. 307
348). London: Academic Press.

Giles, H., & Byrne, J. L. (1982). An intergroup model of second language acquisition.
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 3, 1740.

Giles, H., & Giles, J. L. (2012). Ingroups and outgroups communicating. In A. Kurylo (Ed.),
Inter/cultural communication: Representation and construction of culture in everyday
interaction (pp. 141162). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Giles, H., & Johnson, P. (1981). The role of language in ethnic group relations. In J. C.
Turner & H. Giles (Eds.), Intergroup behavior (pp. 199243). Oxford: Blackwell.

Giles, H., Noels, K., Ota, H., Ng, S. H., Gallois, C., Ryan, E. B., et al. (2000). Age vitality
across eleven nations. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 21, 308
323.

Page 17 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

Harwood, J., Giles, H., & Bourhis, R. Y. (1994). The genesis of vitality theory: Historical
patterns and discoursal dimensions. International Journal of the Sociology of Language,
108, 167206.

Kramarae, C. 1981. Women and men speaking. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Kristiansen, T., Harwood, J., & Giles, H. (1991). Ethnolinguistic vitality in The Danish
Capital of America. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 12, 421448.

Sachdev, I., & Bourhis, R. Y. (1993). Ethnolinguistic vitality: Some motivational and
cognitive considerations. In M. A. Hogg & D. Abrams (Eds.), Group motivation: Social
psychological perspectives (pp. 3351). New York: Harvester/Wheatsheaf.

References
Abrams, J. R., Barker, V., & Giles, H. (2009). An examination of the validity of the
Subjective Vitality Questionnaire. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development,
30, 5972.

Allard, R., & Landry, R. (1994). Subjective ethnolinguistic vitality: A comparison of two
measures. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 108, 117144.

Barker, V., & Giles, H. (2002). Who supports the English-only movement? Evidence for
misconceptions about Latino group vitality. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural
Development, 23, 353370.

Barker, V., Giles, H., Noels, K., Duck, J., Hecht, M., & Clment, R. (2001). The English-only
movement: A communication perspective. Journal of Communication, 51, 337.

Bourhis, R. Y., Giles, H., & Rosenthal, D. (1981). Notes on the construction of a
subjective vitality questionnaire for ethnolinguistic groups. Journal of Multilingual and
Multicultural Development, 2, 145155.

Bourhis, R. Y., & Landry, R. (2008). Group vitality, cultural autonomy and the wellness of
language minorities. In R. Y. Bourhis (Ed.), The vitality of the English-speaking
communities of Quebec: From community decline to revival (pp. 185212). Montreal:
CEETUM, Universit de Montral.

Brenzinger, M., Heine, B., & Sommer, G. (1991). Language death in Africa. Diogenes,
39(153), 1944.

Clment, R. (1980). Ethnicity, contact and communicative competence in a second


language. In H. Giles, W. P. Robinson, & P. M. Smith (Eds.). Language: Social
psychological perspectives (pp. 147154). Oxford: Pergamon.

Edwards, J. (2010). Minority languages and group identity: Cases and categories.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Page 18 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

Ehala, M. (2009). An evaluation matrix for ethno-linguistic vitality. In S. Pertot, T. Priestly,


& C. Williams (Eds.), Rights, promotion and integration: Issues for minority languages in
Europe (pp. 123137). Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ehala, M. (2010). Ethnolinguistic vitality and intergroup processes. Multilingua, 29, 203
221.

Ehala, M. (2011). Hot and cold ethnicities: modes of Ethnolinguistic Vitality.


Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 32(2), 187200.

Ehala, M. (2015). Ethnolinguistic vitality. In K. Tracy, C. Ilie, & T. Sandel (Eds.), The
international encyclopedia of language and social interaction (pp. 17). Boston: John
Wiley.

Ehala, M., Giles, H., & Harwood, J. (2016). Conceptualizing the diversity of intergroup
settings: The web model. In H. Giles & A. Maass (Eds.), Advances in intergroup
communication (pp. 301316). New York: Peter Lang.

Ehala, M., & Zabrodskaja, A. (2014). Hot and cold ethnicities in the Baltic states. Journal
of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35, 7695.

Ellemers, N., Kortekaas, P., & Ouwerkerk, J. W. (1999). Self-categorization, commitment to


the group and group self-esteem as related but distinct aspects of social identity.
European Journal of Social Psychology, 29, 371389.

Esteban-Guitart, M., Viladot, M. A., & Giles, H. (2015). Perceived institutional support
among young indigenous and mestizos from Chiapas (Mxico): A group vitality approach.
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 36, 124135.

Fishman, J. A. (1991). Reversing language shift. Theoretical and empirical foundations of


assistance to threatened languages. Clevedon, U.K.: Multilingual Matters.

Giles, H., Bourhis, R. Y., & Taylor, D. M. (1977). Towards a theory of language in ethnic
group relations. In H. Giles (Ed.), Language, ethnicity, and intergroup relations (pp. 307
348). London: Academic Press.

Giles, H., & Johnson, P. (1981). The role of language in ethnic group relations. In J. C.
Turner & H. Giles (Eds.), Intergroup behavior (pp. 199243). Oxford: Blackwell.

Giles, H., & Johnson, P. (1987). Ethnolinguistic identity theory: A social psychological
approach to language maintenance. International Journal of the Sociology of Language,
68, 69100.

Giles, H., Noels, K., Ota, H., Ng, S. H., Gallois, C., Ryan, E. B., et al. (2000). Age vitality
across eleven nations. Journal of Multilingual & Multicultural Development, 21, 308323.

Page 19 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

Giles, H., Rosenthal, D., & Young, L. (1985). Perceived ethnolinguistic vitality: The Anglo-
and Greek-Australian setting. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 6,
253269.

Haarman, H. (1986). Language in ethnicity: A view of baic ecological relations. Berlin:


Mouton de Gruyter.

Harwood, J., Giles, H., & Bourhis, R. Y. (1994). The genesis of vitality theory: Historical
patterns and discoursal dimensions. International Journal of the Sociology of Language,
108, 167206.

Hedberg, C., & Kepsu, K. (2003). Migration as a mode of cultural expression? The case of
the Finland-Swedish minoritys migration to Sweden. Geografiska Annaler: Series B,
Human Geography, 85, 6784.

Husband, C., & Khan, V. S. (1982). The viability of ethnolinguistic vitality: Some creative
doubts. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 3, 193205.

Jaspal, R. (2011). Caste, social stigma and identity processes. Psychology and Developing
Societies, 23, 2762.

Johnson, P., Giles, H., & Bourhis, R. Y. (1983). The viability of ethnolinguistic vitality: A
reply. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 4, 255269.

Komondouros, M., & McEntee-Atalianis, L. (2007). Language attitudes, shift and the
ethnolinguistic vitality of the Greek Orthodox community in Istanbul. Journal of
Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 28, 365384.

Landry, R., Allard, R., & Deveau, K. (2010). Schooling and cultural autonomy: A Canada-
wide study in Francophone minority schools. Ottawa: Canadian Heritage.

Lewis, M. P., Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D. (Eds.). (2016). Ethnologue: Languages of the
world (19th ed.). Dallas, TX: SIL International.

Li, S. (2015). English in the linguistic landscape of Suzhou. English Today, 31, 2733.

Liebkind, K., Henning-Lindblom, A., & Solheim, E. (2008). Group size, group status and
trait valence as determinants of intergroup bias: Stereotyping in Finland and Sweden.
European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 637651.

Manan, S. A., David, M. K., & Dumanig, F. P. (2014). Language management: A snapshot
of governmentality within the private schools in Quetta, Pakistan. Language Policy, 15, 3
26.

Moring, T., Husband, C., Lojander-Visap, C., Vincze, L., Fomina, J., & Mnty, N. N.
(2011). Media use and ethnolinguistic vitality in bilingual communities. Journal of
Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 32, 169186.

Page 20 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

Moscovici, S. (1981). On social representations. In J. Forgas (ed.) Social Cognition.


London: Academic Press.

Pittam, J., Gallois, C., & Willemyns, M. (1991). Perceived change in ethnolinguistic vitality
by dominant and minority groups. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
12, 449457.

Puah, Y.-Y., & Ting, S.-H. (2015). Malaysian Chinese speakers attitudes towards Foochow,
Hokkien and Mandarin. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 36, 451
467.

Sachdev, I., & Bourhis, R. Y. (1993). Ethnolinguistic vitality: Some motivational and
cognitive considerations. In M. A. Hogg & D. Adrams (Eds.), Group motivation: Social
psychological perspectives (pp. 3351). New York: Harvester/Wheatsheaf.

Sachdev, I., Bourhis, R. Y., Phang, S., & DEye, J. (1987). Language attitudes and vitality
perceptions: Intergenerational effects amongst Chinese Canadian communities. Journal of
Language and Social Psychology, 6, 287307.

Schaberg, H., & Barkhuizen, G. P. (1998). German maintenance and shift in linguistically
mixed marriages: Three case studies. South African Journal of Linguistics, 16, 136142.

Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G.


Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 3347).
Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Tan, P. K. W. (2014). Singapores balancing act, from the perspective of the linguistic
landscape. Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, 29, 438466.

Tollefson, J. W. (1991). Planning language, planning inequality. London: Longman.

Turner, J. C., & Brown, R. J. (1978). Social status, cognitive alternative and intergroup
relations. In H. Tajfel (Ed.), Differentiation between social groups: Studies in the social
psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 201234). London: Academic Press.

UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages. (2003). Language vitality and
endangerment. UNESCO. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/doc/src/
00120-EN.pdf.

Yagmur, K., & Ehala, M. (2011). Tradition and innovation in the ethnolinguistic vitality
theory. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 32, 101110.

Benjamin King Smith

Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara

Martin Ehala

Page 21 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017


Vitality Theory

Institute of Estonian and General Languages, University of Tartu

Howard Giles

Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara

Page 22 of 22

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, COMMUNICATION (communication.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford
University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see
applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details seePrivacy Policy).

date: 07 August 2017