Gunter Senft


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  • Senft, G. (2020). “.. to grasp the native's point of view..” — A plea for a holistic documentation of the Trobriand Islanders' language, culture and cognition. Russian Journal of Linguistics, 24(1), 7-30. doi:10.22363/2687-0088-2020-24-1-7-30.


    In his famous introduction to his monograph “Argonauts of the Western Pacific” Bronislaw Malinowski (1922: 24f.) points out that a “collection of ethnographic statements, characteristic narratives, typical utterances, items of folk-lore and magical formulae has to be given as a corpus inscriptionum, as documents of native mentality”. This is one of the prerequisites to “grasp the native's point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world”. Malinowski managed to document a “Corpus Inscriptionum Agriculturae Quriviniensis” in his second volume of “Coral Gardens and their Magic” (1935 Vol II: 79-342). But he himself did not manage to come up with a holistic corpus inscriptionum for the Trobriand Islanders. One of the main aims I have been pursuing in my research on the Trobriand Islanders' language, culture, and cognition has been to fill this ethnolinguistic niche. In this essay, I report what I had to do to carry out this complex and ambitious project, what forms and kinds of linguistic and cultural competence I had to acquire, and how I planned my data collection during 16 long- and short-term field trips to the Trobriand Islands between 1982 and 2012. The paper ends with a critical assessment of my Trobriand endeavor.
  • Senft, G. (2020). 32 Kampfschild - dance or war shield - vayola. In T. Brüderlin, & S. Stoll (Eds.), Ausgepackt! 125Jahre Geschichte[n] im Museum Natur und Mensch. Texte zur Ausstellung, Städtische Museen Freiburg, vom 20. Juni 2020 bis 10. Januar 2021 (pp. 76-77). Freiburg: Städtische Museen.
  • Senft, G. (2020). Kampfschild - vayola. In T. Brüderlin, S. Schien, & S. Stoll (Eds.), Ausgepackt! 125Jahre Geschichte[n] im Museum Natur und Mensch (pp. 58-59). Freiburg: Michael Imhof Verlag.

    Additional information

  • Senft, G. (1995). 'Noble savages' and 'the islands of love': Trobriand Islanders in 'popular publications'. In C. Baak, M. Bakker, & D. Van der Meij (Eds.), Tales from a concave world: Liber amicorum Bert Voorhoeve (pp. 480-510). Leiden: Projects division, department of languages and cultures of South East Asia and Oceania, Leiden University.
  • Senft, G., & Wilkins, D. (1995). A man, a tree, and forget about the pigs: Space games, spatial reference and cross-linguistic comparison. Plenary paper presented by at the 19th international LAUD symposium "Language and space" Duisburg. Mimeo: Nijmegen.
  • Senft, G. (1995). Crime and custom auf den Trobriand-Inseln: Der Fall Tokurasi. Anthropos, 90, 17-25.
  • Senft, G. (1995). Elicitation. In J. Blommaert, J.-O. Östman, & J. Verschueren (Eds.), Handbook of Pragmatics: Manual (pp. 577-581). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Senft, G. (1995). Fieldwork. In J. Blommaert, J.-O. Östman, & J. Verschueren (Eds.), Handbook of Pragmatics: Manual (pp. 595-601). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Senft, G. (1995). Notes from the field: Ain't misbehavin'? Trobriand pragmatics and the field researcher's opportunity to put his (or her) foot in it. Oceanic Linguistics, 34, 211-226.
  • Senft, G. (1995). Mit Tinkertoy in die Tiefe(n) des Raumes: Zum räumlichen Verweisen im Kilivila - Eine Fallstudie. In R. Fiehler, & D. Metzing (Eds.), Untersuchungen zur Kommunikationstruktur (Bielefelder Schriften zu Linguistik und Literaturwissenschaft, pp. 139-162). Bielefeld: Aisthesis Verlag.
  • Senft, G. (1995). Sprache, Kognition und Konzepte des Raums in verschiedenen Kulturen. Kognitionswissenschaft, 4, 166-170.
  • Levinson, S. C., & Senft, G. (1994). Wie lösen Sprecher von Sprachen mit absoluten und relativen Systemen des räumlichen Verweisens nicht-sprachliche räumliche Aufgaben? In Jahrbuch der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft 1994 (pp. 295-299). München: Generalverwaltung der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft München.
  • Senft, G. (1994). [Review of the book Language, culture and society: An introduction by Zdenek Salzmann]. Man, 29, 756-757.
  • Senft, G. (1994). Audio-visual equipment in research on space: Paper presented at the Multidisciplinair Symposium BEELD IN ONDERZOEK ONDERZOEK IN BEELD 26 & 27 Mei 1994 Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden. Nijmegen: Mimeo.
  • Senft, G. (1994). Darum gehet hin und lehret alle Völker: Mission, Kultur- und Sprachwandel am Beispiel der Trobriand-Insulaner von Papua-Neuguinea. In P. Stüben (Ed.), Seelenfischer: Mission, Stammesvölker und Ökologie (pp. 71-91). Gießen: Focus.
  • Senft, G. (1994). Ein Vorschlag, wie man standardisiert Daten zum Thema 'Sprache, Kognition und Konzepte des Raumes' in verschiedenen Kulturen erheben kann. Linguistische Berichte, 154, 413-429.
  • Senft, G. (1994). Grammaticalisation of body-part terms in Kilivila. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, 25, 98-99.
  • Senft, G. (1994). Spatial reference in Kilivila: The Tinkertoy Matching Games - A case study. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, 25, 55-93.
  • Senft, G. (1994). These 'Procrustean' feelings: Some of my problems in describing Kilivila. Semaian, 11, 86-105.

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