Gunter Senft


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  • Brown, P., Levinson, S. C., & Senft, G. (2004). Initial references to persons and places. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 9 (pp. 37-44). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.492929.


    This task has two parts: (i) video-taped elicitation of the range of possibilities for referring to persons and places, and (ii) observations of (first) references to persons and places in video-taped natural interaction. The goal of this task is to establish the repertoires of referential terms (and other practices) used for referring to persons and to places in particular languages and cultures, and provide examples of situated use of these kinds of referential practices in natural conversation. This data will form the basis for cross-language comparison, and for formulating hypotheses about general principles underlying the deployment of such referential terms in natural language usage.
  • Senft, G. (2004). [Review of the book The Oceanic Languages by John Lynch, Malcolm Ross and Terry Crowley]. Linguistics, 42(2), 515-520. doi:10.1515/ling.2004.016.
  • Senft, G. (2004). [Review of the book Serial verbs in Oceanic: A descriptive typology by Terry Crowley]. Linguistics, 42(4), 855-859. doi:10.1515/ling.2004.028, 08/06/2004.
  • Senft, G. (2004). Aspects of spatial deixis in Kilivila. In G. Senft (Ed.), Deixis and demonstratives in Oceanic languages (pp. 59-80). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Senft, G. (Ed.). (2004). Deixis and Demonstratives in Oceanic Languages. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.


    When we communicate, we communicate in a certain context, and this context shapes our utterances. Natural languages are context-bound and deixis 'concerns the ways in which languages encode or grammaticalise features of the context of utterance or speech event, and thus also concerns ways in which the interpretation of utterances depends on the analysis of that context of utterance' (Stephen Levinson). The systems of deixis and demonstratives in the Oceanic languages represented in the contributions to this volume illustrate the fascinating complexity of spatial reference in these languages. Some of the studies presented here highlight social aspects of deictic reference illustrating de Leon's point that 'reference is a collaborative task' . It is hoped that this anthology will contribute to a better understanding of this area and provoke further studies in this extremely interesting, though still rather underdeveloped, research area.
  • Senft, G. (2004). Introduction. In G. Senft (Ed.), Deixis and demonstratives in Oceanic languages (pp. 1-13). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Senft, G. (2004). Participation and posture. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 9 (pp. 80-82). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.506964.


    Human ethologists have shown that humans are both attracted to others and at the same time fear them. They refer to this kind of fear with the technical term ‘social fear’ and claim that “it is alleviated with personal acquaintance but remains a principle characteristic of interpersonal behaviour. As a result, we maintain various degrees of greater distance between ourselves and others depending on the amount of confidence we have in the other” (Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1989: 335). The goal of this task is to conduct exploratory, heuristic research to establish a new subproject that – based on a corpus of video data – will investigate various forms of human spatial behaviour cross-culturally.
  • Senft, G. (2004). Sprache, Kognition und Konzepte des Raumes in verschiedenen Kulturen - Zum Problem der Interdependenz sprachlicher und mentaler Strukturen. In L. Jäger (Ed.), Medialität und Mentalität (pp. 163-176). Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink.
  • Senft, G. (2004). What do we really know about serial verb constructions in Austronesian and Papuan languages? In I. Bril, & F. Ozanne-Rivierre (Eds.), Complex predicates in Oceanic languages (pp. 49-64). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Senft, G. (2004). Wosi tauwau topaisewa - songs about migrant workers from the Trobriand Islands. In A. Graumann (Ed.), Towards a dynamic theory of language. Festschrift for Wolfgang Wildgen on occasion of his 60th birthday (pp. 229-241). Bochum: Universitätsverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer.
  • Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I., & Senft, G. (1991). Trobriander (Papua-Neu-guinea, Trobriand -Inseln, Kaile'una) Tänze zur Einleitung des Erntefeier-Rituals. Film E 3129. Trobriander (Papua-Neuguinea, Trobriand-Inseln, Kiriwina); Ausschnitte aus einem Erntefesttanz. Film E3130. Publikationen zu wissenschaftlichen Filmen. Sektion Ethnologie, 17, 1-17.
  • Levinson, S. C., & Senft, G. (1991). Forschungsgruppe für Kognitive Anthropologie - Eine neue Forschungsgruppe in der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Linguistische Berichte, 133, 244-246.
  • Levinson, S. C., & Senft, G. (1991). Research group for cognitive anthropology - A new research group of the Max Planck Society. Cognitive Linguistics, 2, 311-312.
  • Senft, G. (1991). [Review of the book Einführung in die deskriptive Linguistik by Michael Dürr and Peter Schlobinski]. Linguistics, 29, 722-725.
  • Senft, G. (1991). [Review of the book The sign languages of Aboriginal Australia by Adam Kendon]. Journal of Pragmatics, 15, 400-405. doi:10.1016/0378-2166(91)90040-5.
  • Senft, G. (1991). Bakavilisi Biga - we can 'turn' the language - or: What happens to English words in Kilivila language? In W. Bahner, J. Schildt, & D. Viehwegger (Eds.), Proceedings of the XIVth International Congress of Linguists (pp. 1743-1746). Berlin: Akademie Verlag.
  • Senft, G. (1991). Mahnreden auf den Trobriand Inseln: Eine Fallstudie. In D. Flader (Ed.), Verbale Interaktion: Studien zur Empirie und Methologie der Pragmatik (pp. 27-49). Stuttgart: Metzler.
  • Senft, G. (1991). Network models to describe the Kilivila classifier system. Oceanic Linguistics, 30, 131-155. Retrieved from
  • Senft, G. (1991). Prolegomena to the pragmatics of "situational-intentional" varieties in Kilivila language. In J. Verschueren (Ed.), Levels of linguistic adaptation: Selected papers from the International Pragmatics Conference, Antwerp, August 1987 (pp. 235-248). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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