Gunter Senft

Publications

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16
  • 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.

    Abstract

    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.

    Abstract

    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.
  • 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. (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. (2006). [Review of the book Bilder aus der Deutschen Südsee by Hermann Joseph Hiery]. Paideuma: Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde, 52, 304-308.
  • Senft, G. (2006). A biography in the strict sense of the term [Review of the book Malinowski: Odyssee of an anthropologist 1884-1920, vol. 1 by Michael Young]. Journal of Pragmatics, 38(4), 610-637. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2005.06.012.
  • Senft, G. (2006). [Review of the book Narrative as social practice: Anglo-Western and Australian Aboriginal oral traditions by Danièle M. Klapproth]. Journal of Pragmatics, 38(8), 1326-1331. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2005.11.001.
  • Senft, G. (2006). [Review of the book Pacific Pidgins and Creoles: Origins, growth and development by Darrell T. Tryon and Jean-Michel Charpentier]. Linguistics, 44(1), 195-200. doi:10.1515/LING.2006.006.
  • Senft, G. (2006). Prolegomena to Kilivila grammar of space. In S. C. Levinson, & D. P. Wilkins (Eds.), Grammars of space: Explorations in cognitive diversity (pp. 206-229). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    This paper presents preliminary remarks on some of the central linguistic means speakers of Kilivila use in expressing their conceptions of space and for referring to objects, persons, and events in space . After a brief characterisation of the language and its speakers, I sketch how specific topological relations are encoded, how motion events are described, and what frames of spatial reference are preferred in what contexts for what means and ends.
  • Senft, G. (2006). Völkerkunde und Linguistik: Ein Plädoyer für interdisziplinäre Kooperation. Zeitschrift für Germanistische Linguistik, 34, 87-104.

    Abstract

    Starting with Hockett’s famous statement on the relationship between linguistics and anthropology - "Linguistics without anthropology is sterile; anthropology without linguistics is blind” - this paper first discusses the historic perspective of the topic. This discussion starts with Herder, Humboldt and Schleiermacher and ends with the present debate on the interrelationship of anthropology and linguistics. Then some excellent examples of interdisciplinary projects within anthropological linguistics (or linguistic anthropology) are presented. And finally it is illustrated why Hockett is still right.

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