Gunter Senft

Publications

Displaying 1 - 21 of 21
  • Senft, G. (2011). Machst Du jetzt Witze oder was? - Die Sprechweisen der Trobriand-Insulaner. In Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Jahrbuch 2011/11 Tätigkeitsberichte und Publikationen (DVD) (pp. 1-8). München: Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved from http://www.mpg.de/1077403/Sprache_Trobriand-Insulaner.

    Abstract

    The Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea differentiate and label in their language Kilivila genres and varieties or registers which are constituted by these genres. The documentation and analysis of these varieties and genres reveals how important it is to understand these metalinguistic differentiations. The cultural and verbal competence which is necessary to adequately interact with the Trobriander Islanders is based on the understanding of the indigenous text typology and the Trobriand Islanders' culture specific ways of speaking.
  • Senft, G. (2011). Linearisation in narratives. In K. Kendrick, & A. Majid (Eds.), Field manual volume 14 (pp. 24-28). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.1005607.
  • Senft, G. (2011). Talking about color and taste on the Trobriand Islands: A diachronic study. The Senses & Society, 6(1), 48 -56. doi:10.2752/174589311X12893982233713.

    Abstract

    How stable is the lexicon for perceptual experiences? This article presents results on how the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea talk about color and taste and whether this has changed over the years. Comparing the results of research on color terms conducted in 1983 with data collected in 2008 revealed that many English color terms have been integrated into the Kilivila lexicon. Members of the younger generation with school education have been the agents of this language change. However, today not all English color terms are produced correctly according to English lexical semantics. The traditional Kilivila color terms bwabwau ‘black’, pupwakau ‘white’, and bweyani ‘red’ are not affected by this change, probably because of the cultural importance of the art of coloring canoes, big yams houses, and bodies. Comparing the 1983 data on taste vocabulary with the results of my 2008 research revealed no substantial change. The conservatism of the Trobriand Islanders' taste vocabulary may be related to the conservatism of their palate. Moreover, they are more interested in displaying and exchanging food than in savoring it. Although English color terms are integrated into the lexicon, Kilivila provides evidence that traditional terms used for talking about color and terms used to refer to tastes have remained stable over time.
  • Senft, G. (2011). The Tuma underworld of love: Erotic and other narrative songs of the Trobriand Islanders and their spirits of the dead. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Abstract

    The Trobriand Islanders' eschatological belief system explains what happens when someone dies. Bronislaw Malinowski described essentials of this eschatology in his articles "Baloma: the Spirits of the Dead in the Trobriand Islands" and "Myth in Primitive Psychology" There he also presented the Trobrianders' belief that a "baloma" can be reborn; he claimed that Trobrianders are unaware of the father's role as genitor. This volume presents a critical review of Malinowski's ethnography of Trobriand eschatology - finally settling the "virgin birth" controversy. It also documents the ritualized and highly poetic "wosi milamala" - the harvest festival songs. They are sung in an archaic variety of Kilivila called "biga baloma" - the baloma language. Malinowski briefly refers to these songs but does not mention that they codify many aspects of Trobriand eschatology. The songs are still sung at specific occasions; however, they are now moribund. With these songs Trobriand eschatology will vanish. The e-book is made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
  • Senft, G. (2011). To have and have not: Kilivila reciprocals. In N. Evans, A. Gaby, S. C. Levinson, & A. Majid (Eds.), Reciprocals and semantic typology (pp. 225-232). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Kilivila is one of the languages of the world that lacks dedicated reciprocal forms. After a short introduction the paper briefly shows how reciprocity is either not expressed at all, is only implicated in an utterance, or expressed periphrastically.
  • Le Guen, O., Senft, G., & Sicoli, M. A. (2008). Language of perception: Views from anthropology. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 11 (pp. 29-36). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.446079.

    Abstract

    To understand the underlying principles of categorisation and classification of sensory input semantic analyses must be based on both language and culture. The senses are not only physiological phenomena, but they are also linguistic, cultural, and social. The goal of this task is to explore and describe sociocultural patterns relating language of perception, ideologies of perception, and perceptual practice in our speech communities.
  • Senft, G. (2008). [Review of the book Expeditionen in die Südsee: Begleitbuch zur Ausstellung und Geschichte der Südsee Sammlung des Ethnologischen Museums ed. by Markus Schindlbeck]. Paideuma, 54, 317-320.
  • Senft, G. (2008). Event conceptualization and event report in serial verb constructions in Kilivila: Towards a new approach to research and old phenomenon. In G. Senft (Ed.), Serial verb constructions in Austronesian and Papuan languages (pp. 203-230). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics Publishers.
  • Senft, G. (2008). Introduction. In G. Senft (Ed.), Serial verb constructions in Austronesian and Papuan languages (pp. 1-15). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics Publishers.
  • Senft, G. (2008). Landscape terms and place names in the Trobriand Islands - The Kaile'una subset. Language Sciences, 30(2/3), 340-361. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2006.12.001.

    Abstract

    After a brief introduction to the topic the paper first gives an overview of Kilivila landscape terms and then presents the inventory of names for villages, wells, island points, reef-channels and gardens on Kaile’una Island, one of the Trobriand Islands in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. The data on the meaning of the place names presented were gathered in 2004 with six male consultants (between the age of 36 and 64 years) living in the village Tauwema on Kaile’una Island. Thus, the list of place names is quite possibly not the complete sample, but it is reasonably representative of the types of Kilivila place names. After discussing the meaning of these terms the paper presents a first attempt to typologically classify and categorize the place names. The paper ends with a critical discussion of the landscape terms and the proposed typology for place names.
  • Senft, G. (Ed.). (2008). Serial verb constructions in Austronesian and Papuan languages. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics Publishers.

    Abstract

    This volume of new work explores the nature of verb serialisation in a range of languages from the Pacific region – both Austronesian and non-Austronesian. Serial verbs can be described linguistically as a sequence of verbs which behave as a single complex predicate. A particular focus of this book is the detailed examination given by most authors to the relationship of such uniclausal linguistic structures with the real world notion of eventhood. The book also makes a valuable addition to the description and analysis of serial verb constructions from the Pacific, a region which has generally been under-represented in cross-linguistic discussions of verb serialisation.
  • Senft, G. (Ed.). (2008). Systems of nominal classification [2nd ed.] (2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    This book addresses the fundamental linguistic question of how the perceived world is expressed through systems of nominal classification that are grammatically encoded in various languages. A team of leading international scholars reviews the whole spectrum of nominal classification, from gender systems through to numeral classifiers, providing cutting-edge theoretical interpretations and empirical case studies based on a wide range of languages. The volume presents ideas about the problems of classification, advances theory by proposing typological categories and clarifies the interface between anthropological and grammatical work. Focusing on systems that have a conceptual-semantic basis, the contributors reflect and represent approaches in nominal classification research. This invaluable reference work will appeal to linguists, anthropologists and psychologists alike, as well as specialists in languages as diverse as Australian, Amazonian, Mayan and Japanese.
  • Senft, G. (2008). The case: The Trobriand Islanders vs H.P. Grice: Kilivila and the Gricean maxims of quality and manner. Anthropos, 103, 139-147.

    Abstract

    The Gricean maxim of Quality “Try to make your contribution one that is true” and his maxim of Manner “Be perspicuous” are not observed in Kilivila, the Austronesian language of the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea. Speakers of Kilivila metalinguistically differentiate registers of their language. One of these varieties is called biga sopa. This label can be glossed as “joking or lying speech, indirect speech, speech which is not vouched for.” The biga sopa constitutes the default register of Trobriand discourse. This article describes the concept of sopa, presents its features, and discusses and illustrates its functions and use within Trobriand society. The article ends with a discussion of the relevance of Gricean maxims for the research of everyday verbal interaction in Kilivila and a general criticism of these maxims, especially from an anthropological linguistic perspective. [Trobriand Islanders, Gricean maxims, varieties of Kilivila, Kilivila sopa, un-plain speaking]
  • Senft, G. (2008). The teaching of Tokunupei. In J. Kommers, & E. Venbrux (Eds.), Cultural styles of knowledge transmission: Essays in honour of Ad Borsboom (pp. 139-144). Amsterdam: Aksant.

    Abstract

    The paper describes how the documentation of a popular song of the adolescents of Tauwema in 1982 lead to the collection of the myth of Imdeduya and Yolina, one of the most important myths of the Trobriand Islands. When I returned to my fieldsite in 1989 Tokunupei, one of my best consultants in Tauwema, remembered my interest in the myth and provided me with further information on this topic. Tokunupei's teachings open up an important access to Trobriand eschatology.
  • Senft, G. (2008). Zur Bedeutung der Sprache für die Feldforschung. In B. Beer (Ed.), Methoden und Techniken der Feldforschung (pp. 103-118). Berlin: Reimer.
  • Senft, G. (1993). [Review of the book Kitava a linguistic and aesthetic analysis of visual art in Melanesia by Giancarlo M. G. Scoditti]. Journal of Pragmatics, 19, 281-290. doi:10.1016/0378-2166(93)90033-L.
  • Senft, G. (1993). [Review of the book Language death: Factual and theoretical explorations with special reference to East Africa ed. by Matthias Brenzinger]. Linguistics, 31, 1197-1202.
  • Senft, G. (1993). A grammaticalization hypothesis on the origin of Kilivila classificatory particles. Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung, 46, 100-112.
  • Senft, G. (1993). [Review of the book The song of the flying fox by Jürg Wassmann]. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 149, 185-186.
  • Senft, B., & Senft, G. (1993). Mwasawa - Spiel und Spass bei den Trobriandern. In W. Schiefenhövel, J. Uher, & R. Krell (Eds.), Im Spiegel der Anderen - Aus dem Lebenswerk des Verhaltenforschers Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt (pp. 100-109). München: Realis.
  • Senft, G. (1993). Mwasawa - Spiel und Spaß bei den Trobriandern. In W. Schievenhövel, J. Uher, & R. Krell (Eds.), Eibl-Eibesfeldt - Sein Schlüssel zur Verhaltensforschung (pp. 100-109). München: Langen Müller.

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