Volume 44, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0272-2690
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9889
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Esperanto is neither an official nor a commonly spoken language anywhere in the world and, due to the limited number of people who speak this language from birth and who teach it to the next generation, the persistence of this speech community cannot rely on intergenerational language transmission. Based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork in France, mainly in Paris, this article explores continuities and discontinuities in the Esperanto community and movement bylooking at how present-day young Esperanto speakers use the language online and through networks of sociability. In asking what is transmitted from one generation of Esperanto speakers to the next, and how new communication technologies impact the ways in which people use the language, I analyse how the concentration of speakers from different age groups around distinct technologies creates a segmentation in this community that leaves some issues incommunicable and hard to transmit. I argue that, on the one hand, engaging with Esperanto through Esperanto associations and, on the other hand, through social media and non-institutionalised gatherings, shapesdifferent perceptions of the language, marking a shift from Esperanto as a forward-looking cause for activists to Esperanto as a tool for sociability and an intellectual game for language-lovers.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ariès, P.
    (1962) Centuries of childhood: Social history of family life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Ben-Amos, I. K.
    (1995) Adolescence as a cultural invention: Philippe Ariès and the sociology of youth. History of the human sciences8:2, 69–89. doi:  10.1177/095269519500800204
    https://doi.org/10.1177/095269519500800204 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bennett, A.
    (2015) ‘Speaking of youth culture’: A critical analysis of contemporary youth cultural practice. In: D. Woodman & A. Bennett (Eds). Youth cultures, transitions, and generations: Bridging the gap in youth research (pp.42–55). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137377234_4
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137377234_4 [Google Scholar]
  4. Fettes, M.
    (2018) Festparolado de la Prezidanto de UEA, D-ro Mark Fettes. Taĵo Nia: Kongresa Kuriero de la 103a Universala Kongreso de Esperanto4, 1–3.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Fians, G.
    (2017) TEJO, um maduro movimento da juventude. In: F. Pita & G. Fians (Eds). O Esperanto Além da Língua (pp.240–253). Porto Velho: Temática Editora.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Forster, P. G.
    (1982) The Esperanto movement. Contributions to the sociology of language. The Hague: Mouton. 10.1515/9783110824568
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110824568 [Google Scholar]
  7. Garvía, R.
    (2015) Esperanto and its rivals: The struggle for an international language. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 10.9783/9780812291278
    https://doi.org/10.9783/9780812291278 [Google Scholar]
  8. Gobbo, F.
    (2005) The digital way to spread conlangs. In: S. Posteguillo, M. J. Esteve, M. L. G. Valor, S-D. Insa, and M. L. R. Renau (Eds). Language @t work: Language learning, discourse and translation studies in internet (pp.45–53). Castelló de la Plana: Publicacions de la Universitat Jaume I.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. (2018, May). Coolification vs contestedness and the digital world: Lessons learnt from hollywood languages and Esperanto. Paper presented at theThird conference on contested languages in the old world (CLOW3), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Hardman, Charlotte
    (2001) Can there be an anthropology of children?Childhood8:4, 501–517. doi:  10.1177/0907568201008004006
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0907568201008004006 [Google Scholar]
  11. Illia, L.
    (2003) Passage to cyberactivism: How dynamics of activism change. Journal of public affairs3:4, 326–337. doi:  10.1002/pa.161
    https://doi.org/10.1002/pa.161 [Google Scholar]
  12. James, A.
    (1995) Talking of children and youth: Language, socialization and culture. In: V. Amid-Talai & H. Wulff (Eds). Youth cultures: A cross-cultural perspective (pp.43–62). London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Jordheim, H.
    (2014) Introduction: Multiple times and the work of synchronization. History and theory53, 498–518. doi:  10.1111/hith.10728
    https://doi.org/10.1111/hith.10728 [Google Scholar]
  14. (2018, June). Emergent geo-generational lifetimes. Paper presented at theInternational Conference The Social Life of Time: Power, Discrimination and Transformation, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  15. Lapenna, I.
    (1974) Tutmonda esperantista junulara organizo. In: I. Lapenna, U. Lins & T. Carlevaro (Eds). Esperanto en Perspektivo: Faktoj kaj Analizoj pri la Internacia Lingvo (pp.534–547). London and Rotterdam: Universala Esperanto-Asocio/ Centro de Esploro kaj Dokumentado pri la Monda Lingvo-Problemo.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Lefkowitz, N. J.
    (1989) Verlan: Talking backwards in French. The French review63:2, 312–322.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Lins, U.
    (2016) Dangerous language: Esperanto under Hitler and Stalin. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/978‑1‑137‑54917‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-54917-4 [Google Scholar]
  18. Pilcher, J.
    (1994) Mannheim’s sociology of generations: An undervalued legacy. British journal of sociology45:3, 481–495. doi:  10.2307/591659
    https://doi.org/10.2307/591659 [Google Scholar]
  19. Piron, C.
    (1989) A few notes on the evolution of Esperanto. In: K. Schubert (Ed). Interlinguistics: Aspects of the science of planned languages (pp.129–142). Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110886115.129
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110886115.129 [Google Scholar]
  20. Putnam, R. D.
    (2000) Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon and Schuster.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Qvortrup, J.
    (2009) Childhood as a structural form. In: J. Qvortrup, W. A. Corsaro & M-S. Honig (Eds). The palgrave handbook of childhood studies (p.21–33). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9780230274686
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230274686 [Google Scholar]
  22. Rašić, Nikola
    (1994) La Rondo Familia: Sociologiaj Esploroj en Esperantio. Pisa: Edistudio.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Sarmento, M. J.
    (2005) Gerações e alteridade: Interrogações a partir da sociologia da infância. Educação e sociedade26:91, 361–378. doi:  10.1590/S0101‑73302005000200003
    https://doi.org/10.1590/S0101-73302005000200003 [Google Scholar]
  24. Stria, Ida
    (2015) Esperanto speakers: An unclassifiable community?In: W. Malec, M. Rusinek, A. Sadowska (Eds). Challenging ideas and innovative approaches in theoretical linguistics (pp.175–189). Lublin: John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Wandel, Amri
    (2015) How many people speak Esperanto? or: Esperanto on the web. Interdisciplinary description of complex systems13:2, 318–322. doi:  10.7906/indecs.13.2.9
    https://doi.org/10.7906/indecs.13.2.9 [Google Scholar]
  26. Wood, R.
    (1979) ‘A voluntary non-ethnic, non-territorial speech community’. In: W. Mackey & J. Ornstein (Eds). Sociolinguistic studies in language contact (pp.433–450). The Hague: De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110810752.433
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110810752.433 [Google Scholar]
  27. Woodman, D. & Leccardi, C.
    (2015) Generations, transitions, and culture as practice: A temporal approach to youth studies. In: D. Woodman & A. Bennett (Eds). Youth cultures, transitions, and generations: Bridging the gap in youth research (pp.56–68). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137377234_5
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137377234_5 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error