May Ahmar is a Senior Lecturer in Arabic in the Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) department at Columbia University in New York.
May is a linguist and an Arabic-language pedagogy specialist. She holds a PhD in Sociolinguistics, with a special interest in issues of diglossia, and its social implications on language use in multilingual countries. Her current research explores the effects of Electronically-Mediated Communication (EMC) and social media on language choice and orthography in Lebanon. May’s latest co-edited volume, Digital Orality: Vernacular Writing in Online Spaces, delves into the novel interplay of orality and literacy in contemporary digital communication and social media, in different socio-cultural and linguistic contexts. May has also published numerous peer-reviewed articles related to diglossia, aphasia, and multilingualism. Her latest project focuses on how orthography and script choices are changing on social media, expressing local identities and challenging the hegemonic status that standard languages impose.
May is also an Arabic-language pedagogy specialist, conducting national and international trainings for teachers and professors of Arabic as a Foreign Language. She is currently working on a project for teaching the Lebanese and Levantine dialects for non-native speakers.