Gunter Senft


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  • Senft, G. (2000). [Review of the book Language, identity, and marginality in Indonesia: The changing nature of ritual speech on the island of Sumba by Joel C. Kuipers]. Linguistics, 38, 435-441. doi:10.1515/ling.38.2.435.
  • Senft, G. (2000). COME and GO in Kilivila. In B. Palmer, & P. Geraghty (Eds.), SICOL. Proceedings of the second international conference on Oceanic linguistics: Volume 2, Historical and descriptive studies (pp. 105-136). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Senft, G. (2000). Introduction. In G. Senft (Ed.), Systems of nominal classification (pp. 1-10). Cambridge University Press.
  • Senft, G., & Smits, R. (Eds.). (2000). Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics: Annual report 2000. Nijmegen: MPI for Psycholinguistics.
  • Senft, G. (Ed.). (2000). Systems of nominal classification. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Senft, G. (2000). What do we really know about nominal classification systems? In G. Senft (Ed.), Systems of nominal classification (pp. 11-49). Cambridge University Press.
  • Senft, G. (2000). What do we really know about nominal classification systems? In Conference handbook. The 18th national conference of the English Linguistic Society of Japan. 18-19 November, 2000, Konan University (pp. 225-230). Kobe: English Linguistic Society of Japan.
  • Senft, G. (1999). [Review of the book Describing morphosyntax: A guide for field linguists by Thomas E. Payne]. Linguistics, 37, 181-187. doi:10.1515/ling.1999.003, 01/01/1999.
  • Senft, G. (1999). A case study from the Trobriand Islands: The presentation of Self in touristic encounters [abstract]. IIAS Newsletter, (19). Retrieved from


    Visiting the Trobriand Islands is advertised as being the highlight of a trip for tourists to Papua New Guinea who want, and can afford, to experience this 'ultimate adventure' with 'expeditionary cruises aboard the luxurious Melanesian Discoverer. The advertisements also promise that the tourists can 'meet the friendly people' and 'observe their unique culture, dances, and art'. During my research in Kaibola and Nuwebila, two neighbouring villages on the northern tip of Kiriwina Island, I studied and analysed the encounters of tourists with Trobriand Islanders, who sing and dance for the Europeans. The analyses of the islanders' tourist performances are based on Erving Goffman's now classic study The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, which was first published in 1959. In this study Goffmann analyses the structures of social encounters from the perspective of the dramatic performance. The situational context within which the encounter between tourists and Trobriand Islanders takes place frames the tourists as the audience and the Trobriand Islanders as a team of performers. The inherent structure of the parts of the overall performance presented in the two villages can be summarized - within the framework of Goffman's approach - in analogy with the structure of drama. We find parts that constitute the 'exposition', the 'complication', and the 'resolution' of a drama; we even observe an equivalent to the importance of the 'Second Act Curtain' in modern drama theory. Deeper analyses of this encounter show that the motives of the performers and their 'art of impression management' are to control the impression their audience receives in this encounter situation. This analysis reveals that the Trobriand Islanders sell their customers the expected images of what Malinowski (1929) once termed the '...Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia' in a staged 'illusion'. With the conscious realization of the part they as performers play in this encounter, the Trobriand Islanders are in a position that is superior to that of their audience. Their merchandise or commodity is 'not real', as it is sold 'out of its true cultural context'. It is staged - and thus cannot be taken by any customer whatsoever because it (re)presents just an 'illusion'. The Trobriand Islanders know that neither they nor the core aspects of their culture will suffer any damage within a tourist encounter that is defined by the structure and the kind of their performance. Their pride and self-confidence enable them to bring their superior position into play in their dealings with tourists. With their indigenous humour, they even use this encounter for ridiculing their visitors. It turns out that the encounter is another manifestation of the Trobriand Islanders' self-consciousness, self-confidence, and pride with which they manage to protect core aspects of their cultural identity, while at the same time using and 'selling' parts of their culture as a kind of commodity to tourists.
  • Senft, G. (1999). [Review of the book Pacific languages - An introduction by John Lynch]. Linguistics, 37, 979-983. doi:10.1515/ling.37.5.961.
  • Senft, G. (1999). Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski. In J. Verschueren, J.-O. Östman, J. Blommaert, & C. Bulcaen (Eds.), Handbook of pragmatics: 1997 installment. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Senft, G. (1999). ENTER and EXIT in Kilivila. Studies in Language, 23, 1-23.
  • Senft, G. (1999). The presentation of self in touristic encounters: A case study from the Trobriand Islands. Anthropos, 94, 21-33.
  • Senft, G. (1999). Weird Papalagi and a Fake Samoan Chief: A footnote to the noble savage myth. Rongorongo Studies: A forum for Polynesian philology, 9(1&2), 23-32-62-75.
  • 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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