Gunter Senft


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  • Senft, G. (2019). Rituelle Kommunikation. In F. Liedtke, & A. Tuchen (Eds.), Handbuch Pragmatik (pp. 423-430). Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-04624-6_41.


    Die Sprachwissenschaft hat den Begriff und das Konzept ›Rituelle Kommunikation‹ von der vergleichenden Verhaltensforschung übernommen. Humanethologen unterscheiden eine Reihe von sogenannten ›Ausdrucksbewegungen‹, die in der Mimik, der Gestik, der Personaldistanz (Proxemik) und der Körperhaltung (Kinesik) zum Ausdruck kommen. Viele dieser Ausdrucksbewegungen haben sich zu spezifischen Signalen entwickelt. Ethologen definieren Ritualisierung als Veränderung von Verhaltensweisen im Dienst der Signalbildung. Die zu Signalen ritualisierten Verhaltensweisen sind Rituale. Im Prinzip kann jede Verhaltensweise zu einem Signal werden, entweder im Laufe der Evolution oder durch Konventionen, die in einer bestimmten Gemeinschaft gültig sind, die solche Signale kulturell entwickelt hat und die von ihren Mitgliedern tradiert und gelernt werden.
  • Senft, G. (2016). "Masawa - bogeokwa si tuta!": Cultural and cognitive implications of the Trobriand Islanders' gradual loss of their knowledge of how to make a masawa canoe. In P. Meusburger, T. Freytag, & L. Suarsana (Eds.), Ethnic and Cultural Dimensions of Knowledge (pp. 229-256). Heidelberg: Springer Verlag.


    This paper describes how the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea used to construct their big seagoing masawa canoes and how they used to make their sails, what forms of different knowledge and expertise they needed to do this during various stages of the construction processes, how this knowledge was socially distributed, and the social implications of all the joint communal activities that were necessary until a new canoe could be launched. Then it tries to answer the question why the complex distributed knowledge of how to make a masawa has been gradually getting lost in most of the village communities on the Trobriand Islands; and finally it outlines and discusses the implications of this loss for the Trobriand Islanders' culture, for their social construction of reality, and for their indigenous cognitive capacities.
  • Senft, G. (2016). Pragmatics. In K. B. Jensen, R. T. Craig, J. Pooley, & E. Rothenbuhler (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy (pp. 1586-1598). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley. doi:10.1002/9781118766804.wbiect165.


    This entry takes an interdisciplinary approach to linguistic pragmatics. It discusses how the meaning of utterances can only be understood in relation to overall cultural, social, and interpersonal contexts, as well as to culture-specific conventions and the speech events in which they are embedded. The entry discusses core issues of pragmatics such as speech act theory, conversational implicature, deixis, gesture, interaction strategies, ritual communication, phatic communion, linguistic relativity, ethnography of speaking, ethnomethodology, and conversation analysis. It takes a transdisciplinary view of the field, showing that linguistic pragmatics has its predecessors in other disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, ethology, ethnology, and sociology.
  • Broeder, D., Brugman, H., & Senft, G. (2005). Documentation of languages and archiving of language data at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen. Linguistische Berichte, no. 201, 89-103.
  • Senft, G. (2005). [Review of the book Malinowski: Odyssey of an anthropologist 1884-1920 by Michael Young]. Oceania, 75(3), 302-302.
  • Senft, G. (2005). [Review of the book The art of Kula by Shirley F. Campbell]. Anthropos, 100, 247-249.
  • Senft, G. (2005). Bronislaw Malinowski and linguistic pragmatics. In P. Cap (Ed.), Pragmatics today (pp. 139-155). Frankfurt am Main: Lang.

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