Abrogation refers to the rejection by post-colonial writers of a normative concept of ‘correct’ or ‘standard’ English used by certain classes or groups, and of the corresponding concepts of inferior ‘dialects’ or ‘marginal variants’. The concept is usually employed in conjunction with the term appropriation, which describes the processes of English adaptation itself, and is an important component of the post-colonial assumption that all language use is a ‘variant’ of one kind or another (and is in that sense ‘marginal’ to some illusory standard). Thus abrogation is an important political stance, whether articulated or not, and even whether conscious or not, from which the actual appropriation of language can take place.

(Source: Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts)

More than just the language, abrogation also sometimes offers a partial or total negation of Eurocentric assumptions about culture, history, and truth. Thus, in some cases the postcolonial scholars and authors offer nuanced revisions of history or cultural assumptions in opposition to or as a form of sophisticated negation of the privileged and normalized Western norms.

A few literary text that abrogate standard English language in subtle and more pronounced ways:

Salman Rushdie. Midnight’s Children.

Amos Tutuola: The Plam-Wine Drinkard.


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