The Cultural Appropriation of Urdu in Usman T. Malik’s Collection Midnight Doorways: Fables From Pakistan


  • Dr. Huma Batool Air University
  • Hajra Khalid
  • Dr. Maria Farooq Maan Air University


The current paper investigates language appropriation strategies in Usman T. Malik’s award-winning collection Midnight Doorways: Fables from Pakistan. Furthermore, this paper also investigates how culture is portrayed through language. Through the technique of Appropriation, the language of the Centre is assimilated and altered in a creative manner to create space for indigenous cultures and expressions. It is a self-empowering strategy used by many post-colonial writers, of different ethnicities affected by the colonial encounter, to empower and promote their indigenous culture and interests. Corpus software AntConc 3.5.9 along with Qualitative Textual Analysis were employed to evaluate the data. For the analysis Wordlist and Concordance tools were used to first identify and catalogue all instances of language appropriation. Additionally, the data was also evaluated through closed reading to reduce the chance of oversight. Finally, all the identified instances were individually analyzed to investigate the method of language appropriation. Most prevalent appropriation strategies include the use of un-translated words, syntactic fusion, lexical innovation, translation equivalent, contextual redefinition, and code-switching. After cataloging the data, the Urduized words were analyzed to map the appropriation at the lexical level and sentential level. The research and its findings can be used for pedagogical purposes as they make significant contributions toward establishing the Pakistani variant of English.

Keywords: Appropriation, Indigenization, Post-Colonial, Pakistani Fiction, Urduized words, Cultural Representation

Author Biographies

Hajra Khalid

Ms. Hajra Khalid is an MS Linguistics and Literature research scholar in Dept. of English at Air
University, Islamabad. She is also an English Instructor in the Dept. of Science and Humanities at
FAST-NUCES, Islamabad. Her areas of interests include, Discourse Analysis, Postcolonial
Literature, Sociolinguistics, Pakistani writings in English and Genre Analysis.

Dr. Maria Farooq Maan, Air University

Dr Maria is currently teaching ad Assistant Professor at Air University Islamabad. Her areas of interest include postcolonialism, women's writing's, world literature and translation, Bakhtin and Identity politics.