May Ahmar’s co-edited volume Digital Orality: Vernacular Writing in Online Spaces was published by Springer/Palgrave Mcmillan in November 2022. The volume showcases innovative research on dialectal, vernacular, and other forms of “oral,” speech-like writing in digital spaces. The shift from a predominantly print culture to a digital culture is shaping people’s identities and relationships to one another in important ways. Using examples from distinct international contexts and language varieties (kiAmu, Lebanese, Ettounsi, Shanghai Wu, Welsh English, and varieties of American English), the authors examine how people use unexpected codes, scripts, and spellings to say something about who they are or aspire to be.
An increasing part of informal human communication is taking place through the modality of digital writing. Much of this writing reflects a hybrid style combining both oral and written features along with multiple codes and scripts. It is also becoming more common for people to write digital messages in local vernacular codes and indigenous languages that lack a standard writing system. This volume documents these trends across a number of contexts and languages, showcasing the ways in which people use digital writing in highly creative ways to take stances and express nuanced aspects of their identities. The introduction grounds the theoretical framework within which digital orality operates, while the individual chapters examine specific language varieties around the world.
This book will be of particular interest to students and scholars interested in the impact of social media on language use, style, and orthography, as well as those with a broader interest in literacy, communication, language contact, and language change.