Gunter Senft

Publications

Displaying 1 - 17 of 17
  • 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. (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 http://www.iias.nl/iiasn/19/.

    Abstract

    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.

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