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  • Writer's pictureLindsey de Roos

Language, langUage, LaNgüage

A letter to my research from the perspective of my cup. To you, research It's Quiet challenging to say why I'm important to you. Usually, you're the one telling me why I'm important to you. I feel like I'm selling myself. And is that ethical, when I have such an emotional presence in Lindsey life. Utilising me in order for an academic qualification, but nether the less here I go. I'm the reason why you exist. And yes that is a very bold statement. But I'm apart of the greater ecosystem that has engrained a fundamental need for Lindsey to pursue her "ancestral truth". You have not broken a relationship with Lindsey, in fact, it might be too strong. I seem to be a reflection of your future. As if I'm time travelled and also your past. Of getting to where you are now. Like most people, I unfold myself over time, house stories you never knew existed. I am able o tell stories and make them through my past. But not anymore can see them at first glance. I let you in if I choose. I don't offer much intel, but I am your roots. So though I do not offer anything physical to give you, I offer a soul for you to embody.


Today I spoke to my father in a way I never had before, he shared how the experiences at work were effecting me which made me understand how it was affecting the way he was language himself towards me. But for the first time, today was different because I could understand where he was coming from. And this enabled us to talk to each other in the way we never have before. And during that conversation, we spoke about the topic of academic language and my relationship with it. An academic language is a tool that is brought forward when you have to vocalise or write within an academic institution or space. How I am writing right now Is exactly that, and that tool is used to measure someone's understanding of their research. I've always found it uncomfortable about writing about South Africa because I'm not in it. But what this break has made me realise is that I'm not home every day I live the lifestyle of an academic (maybe not a great one, but one nonetheless) and that In itself is a privilege I can wish it undo that it's the home I was brought up in but also that the way I vocalise myself should not be more valuable than someone who refuses to use this tool or chooses to verbalise themselves in another way. Be an artist don't act like one Be the academic you want to be, don't act like an academic I've grown up with a very carrying mother and father who are always yearning to learn and critic the world around them. My father is a teacher of language and grew up in ones of the worlds most politically divisive and degrading periods and a part of the movement of people who brought to end it. My father and mother are what I see the black experience that is still having to validate their experiences in the eyes of people who choose not to see colour. My father said something that I think I will cherish forever. Them – can you not work through this with the other members in your group My father – are you asking if this can be reconciled, because if so then no. I cannot make them feel comfortable about the fact that their experiences are different from mine. You don't need to know the story of this at all. But the line I cannot make them feel comfortable with my otherness is important to keep in the forefront. Because it is not divisive, full of agenda, just simply put, and it is what it is. I believe that I've grown up in a household that is very sceptical of the world, constantly analysing and questioning it. So understanding academic language as a tool may come easier to me than others but what is I think important is changing the value of academic language or it in itself. By understanding academic language and coming from that context am I know in a position of shifting that value. Today I told a friend a point that the lecture was making but just less loaded. I spoke from an experience of mine in high school and singled by insecurities and experiences out in order for him to get across the point. And he understood it, I think at least. The purpose of academic language is to be a tool that enables a person to express their ability to understand a type of subject matter. But when that language privileges one group over another, how do we shift that language. Academic language serves simply academia, and many people where excluded from the original idea of what academia is.

this leaves me with questions like what happens if it's not used? By understanding that it is a tool? Today in class, we were asked to write from the perspective of the object we brought in to our research. Keeping in mind why we, as the object is important to the research. And I found it uncomfortable like I was in a job interview. Proving my importance. So was I not able to separate me from my object. Or was this personal object of mine now being used to serve my research. Within academia, I would have classified it as unethical. Putting this writing into my research seems unethical because of it very personal. And that is something that I need to break down. There are boundaries within academic writing that are disabling me to feel safe and comfortable using my personal experiences within academic research. And it's a matter of understanding what those boundaries are. In order to allow me to feel free to write and now that it is valid enough. It feels weird about talking about being black and classifies it as indigenous issues, it is weird talking about my gayness and calling it queer ecologies. These terms don't feel lived, these terms feel cold, they don't feel at all. So I'm going to write a second letter to my "research" not in the position of my cup I cant be my cup because I'm still learning from it. But I'm going to write a letter to my "research" on how it can dream/be the cup.


To you, I know you're still trying to figure yourself out, and that ok. You're going to keep trying to figure yourself out, and you're going to change day by day. You won't even realise it. But don't forget who you want to be. Where you came from, and why it's important to remember that. The cup I know is a dream to be, they embody memories of home, of childhood, of history and of the future. The cups beautiful in its colours and it was made with its own memories. And you know how multi-layered it is. But don't be overwhelmed by its depth and care. Because you have the capability of being that yourself. Question what you see. Remember… why your roots are important, what is important to you today, that your memories and experience s are important, that you won't lose them, why South Africa is important, why you are important. Because without self-respect, you are just another cup, but when you treat yourself how you want to treat others, you become alive, you become important, and you have a place in this world.

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