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.
  • Levinson, S. C., & Senft, G. (1996). Zur Semantik der Verben INTRARE und EXIRE in verschieden Sprachen. In Jahrbuch der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft 1996 (pp. 340-344). München: Generalverwaltung der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft München.
  • Pederson, E., & Senft, G. (1996). Route descriptions: interactive games with Eric's maze task. In S. C. Levinson (Ed.), Manual for the 1996 Field Season (pp. 15-17). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.3003287.


    What are the preferred ways to describe spatial relationships in different linguistic and cultural groups, and how does this interact with non-linguistic spatial awareness? This game was devised as an interactive supplement to several items that collect information on the encoding and understanding of spatial relationships, especially as relevant to “route descriptions”. This is a director-matcher task, where one consultant has access to stimulus materials that shows a “target” situation, and directs another consultant (who cannot see the target) to recreate this arrangement.
  • Senft, G. (1996). [Review of the book Comparative Austronesian dictionary: An introduction to Austronesian studies ed. by Darrell T. Tryon]. Linguistics, 34, 1255-1270.
  • Senft, G. (1996). [Review of the book Language contact and change in the Austronesian world ed. by Tom Dutton and Darrell T. Tryon]. Linguistics, 34, 424-430.
  • Senft, G. (1996). [Review of the book Topics in the description of Kiriwina by Ralph Lawton; ed. by Malcolm Ross and Janet Ezard]. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, 27, 189-196.

    Additional information

    Original with corrections
  • Senft, G. (1996). [Review of the journal Bulletin of the International String Figure Association, Vol. 1, 1994]. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2, 363-364.
  • Senft, G. (1996). Classificatory particles in Kilivila. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Senft, G. (1996). Past is present - Present is past: Time and the harvest rituals on the Trobriand Islands. Anthropos, 91, 381-389.
  • Senft, G. (1996). Phatic communion. In J. Verschueren, J.-O. Östman, & J. Blommaert (Eds.), Handbook of Pragmatics (loose leaf installment) (loose leaf installment, 1995). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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