Gunter Senft

Publications

Displaying 1 - 18 of 18
  • 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.
  • Levinson, S. C., Senft, G., & Majid, A. (2007). Emotion categories in language and thought. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 10 (pp. 46-52). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.492892.
  • Majid, A., Senft, G., & Levinson, S. C. (2007). The language of olfaction. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 10 (pp. 36-41). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.492910.
  • Majid, A., Senft, G., & Levinson, S. C. (2007). The language of touch. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 10 (pp. 32-35). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.492907.
  • Senft, G. (2007). "Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten.." - Ethnolinguistische Winke zur Rolle von umfassenden Metadaten bei der (und für die) Arbeit mit Corpora. In W. Kallmeyer, & G. Zifonun (Eds.), Sprachkorpora - Datenmengen und Erkenntnisfortschritt (pp. 152-168). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    Abstract

    Arbeitet man als muttersprachlicher Sprecher des Deutschen mit Corpora gesprochener oder geschriebener deutscher Sprache, dann reflektiert man in aller Regel nur selten über die Vielzahl von kulturspezifischen Informationen, die in solchen Texten kodifiziert sind – vor allem, wenn es sich bei diesen Daten um Texte aus der Gegenwart handelt. In den meisten Fällen hat man nämlich keinerlei Probleme mit dem in den Daten präsupponierten und als allgemein bekannt erachteten Hintergrundswissen. Betrachtet man dagegen Daten in Corpora, die andere – vor allem nicht-indoeuropäische – Sprachen dokumentieren, dann wird einem schnell bewußt, wieviel an kulturspezifischem Wissen nötig ist, um diese Daten adäquat zu verstehen. In meinem Vortrag illustriere ich diese Beobachtung an einem Beispiel aus meinem Corpus des Kilivila, der austronesischen Sprache der Trobriand-Insulaner von Papua-Neuguinea. Anhand eines kurzen Auschnitts einer insgesamt etwa 26 Minuten dauernden Dokumentation, worüber und wie sechs Trobriander miteinander tratschen und klatschen, zeige ich, was ein Hörer oder Leser eines solchen kurzen Daten-Ausschnitts wissen muß, um nicht nur dem Gespräch überhaupt folgen zu können, sondern auch um zu verstehen, was dabei abläuft und wieso ein auf den ersten Blick absolut alltägliches Gespräch plötzlich für einen Trobriander ungeheuer an Brisanz und Bedeutung gewinnt. Vor dem Hintergrund dieses Beispiels weise ich dann zum Schluß meines Beitrags darauf hin, wie unbedingt nötig und erforderlich es ist, in allen Corpora bei der Erschließung und Kommentierung von Datenmaterialien durch sogenannte Metadaten solche kulturspezifischen Informationen explizit zu machen.
  • Senft, G. (2007). [Review of the book Bislama reference grammar by Terry Crowley]. Linguistics, 45(1), 235-239.
  • Senft, G. (2007). [Review of the book Serial verb constructions - A cross-linguistic typology by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Robert M. W. Dixon]. Linguistics, 45(4), 833-840. doi:10.1515/LING.2007.024.
  • Senft, G. (2007). Nominal classification. In D. Geeraerts, & H. Cuyckens (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of cognitive linguistics (pp. 676-696). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Abstract

    This handbook chapter summarizes some of the problems of nominal classification in language, presents and illustrates the various systems or techniques of nominal classification, and points out why nominal classification is one of the most interesting topics in Cognitive Linguistics.
  • Senft, G. (2007). Reference and 'référence dangereuse' to persons in Kilivila: An overview and a case study. In N. Enfield, & T. Stivers (Eds.), Person reference in interaction: Linguistic, cultural, and social perspectives (pp. 309-337). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    Based on the conversation analysts’ insights into the various forms of third person reference in English, this paper first presents the inventory of forms Kilivila, the Austronesian language of the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea, offers its speakers for making such references. To illustrate such references to third persons in talk-in-interaction in Kilivila, a case study on gossiping is presented in the second part of the paper. This case study shows that ambiguous anaphoric references to two first mentioned third persons turn out to not only exceed and even violate the frame of a clearly defined situational-intentional variety of Kilivila that is constituted by the genre “gossip”, but also that these references are extremely dangerous for speakers in the Trobriand Islanders’ society. I illustrate how this culturally dangerous situation escalates and how other participants of the group of gossiping men try to “repair” this violation of the frame of a culturally defined and metalinguistically labelled “way of speaking”. The paper ends with some general remarks on how the understanding of forms of person reference in a language is dependent on the culture specific context in which they are produced.
  • Senft, G., Majid, A., & Levinson, S. C. (2007). The language of taste. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 10 (pp. 42-45). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.492913.
  • Senft, G. (2007). The Nijmegen space games: Studying the interrelationship between language, culture and cognition. In J. Wassmann, & K. Stockhaus (Eds.), Person, space and memory in the contemporary Pacific: Experiencing new worlds (pp. 224-244). New York: Berghahn Books.

    Abstract

    One of the central aims of the "Cognitive Anthropology Research Group" (since 1998 the "Department of Language and Cognition of the MPI for Psycholinguistics") is to research the relationship between language, culture and cognition and the conceptualization of space in various languages and cultures. Ever since its foundation in 1991 the group has been developing methods to elicit cross-culturally and cross-linguistically comparable data for this research project. After a brief summary of the central considerations that served as guidelines for the developing of these elicitation devices, this paper first presents a broad selection of the "space games" developed and used for data elicitation in the groups' various fieldsites so far. The paper then discusses the advantages and shortcomings of these data elicitation devices. Finally, it is argued that methodologists developing such devices find themselves in a position somewhere between Scylla and Charybdis - at least, if they take the requirement seriously that the elicited data should be comparable not only cross-culturally but also cross-linguistically.

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