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Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication

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Volume 29, Issue 2 (Jan 2010)


Ethnolinguistic vitality and intergroup processes

Martin Ehala
  • Corresponding author
  • Professor and senior researcher at the University of Tartu.
Published Online: 2010-06-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mult.2010.009


The paper argues that ethnolinguistic vitality depends on four crucial social psychological factors: perceived strength differential, intergroup distance, utilitarianism and intergroup discordance. The influence of these factors on the vitality of subordinate and dominant groups is outlined. It is proposed that the vitality of both types of groups could be measured on the same scale. The low end of this scale indicates group members' disposition to dissociate themselves from the in-group's cultural values and practices. The high end indicates a perception of cultural distinctiveness, superiority, closedness and derogation of out-groups, i.e. high level of ethnocentrism. A theoretical model is proposed explicating how the interaction of vitality profiles of the dominant and subordinate groups leads to different acculturation orientations of subordinate groups (assimilation, integration, segregation, or marginalisation).

Keywords:: ethnolinguistic vitality; acculturation; language shift; ethnocentrism; interethnic processes

About the article

Address for correspondence: Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics, University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18, Tartu 50090, Estonia. e-mail: .

Published Online: 2010-06-15

Published in Print: 2010-06-01

Citation Information: Multilingua - Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, ISSN (Online) 1613-3684, ISSN (Print) 0167-8507, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mult.2010.009. Export Citation

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Martin Ehala and Elena Vedernikova
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Language and Linguistics Compass, 2014, Volume 8, Number 11, Page 618
Martin Ehala and Anastassia Zabrodskaja
Journal of Baltic Studies, 2011, Volume 42, Number 2, Page 213
Martin Ehala
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 2011, Volume 32, Number 2, Page 187

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