Gunter Senft

Publications

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5
  • Senft, G. (2011). Linearisation in narratives. In K. Kendrick, & A. Majid (Eds.), Field manual volume 14 (pp. 24-28). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.1005607.
  • Senft, G. (2011). Machst Du jetzt Witze oder was? - Die Sprechweisen der Trobriand-Insulaner. In Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Jahrbuch 2011/11 Tätigkeitsberichte und Publikationen (DVD) (pp. 1-8). München: Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved from http://www.mpg.de/1077403/Sprache_Trobriand-Insulaner.

    Abstract

    The Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea differentiate and label in their language Kilivila genres and varieties or registers which are constituted by these genres. The documentation and analysis of these varieties and genres reveals how important it is to understand these metalinguistic differentiations. The cultural and verbal competence which is necessary to adequately interact with the Trobriander Islanders is based on the understanding of the indigenous text typology and the Trobriand Islanders' culture specific ways of speaking.
  • Senft, G. (2011). The Tuma underworld of love: Erotic and other narrative songs of the Trobriand Islanders and their spirits of the dead. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Abstract

    The Trobriand Islanders' eschatological belief system explains what happens when someone dies. Bronislaw Malinowski described essentials of this eschatology in his articles "Baloma: the Spirits of the Dead in the Trobriand Islands" and "Myth in Primitive Psychology" There he also presented the Trobrianders' belief that a "baloma" can be reborn; he claimed that Trobrianders are unaware of the father's role as genitor. This volume presents a critical review of Malinowski's ethnography of Trobriand eschatology - finally settling the "virgin birth" controversy. It also documents the ritualized and highly poetic "wosi milamala" - the harvest festival songs. They are sung in an archaic variety of Kilivila called "biga baloma" - the baloma language. Malinowski briefly refers to these songs but does not mention that they codify many aspects of Trobriand eschatology. The songs are still sung at specific occasions; however, they are now moribund. With these songs Trobriand eschatology will vanish. The e-book is made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
  • Senft, G. (2011). To have and have not: Kilivila reciprocals. In N. Evans, A. Gaby, S. C. Levinson, & A. Majid (Eds.), Reciprocals and semantic typology (pp. 225-232). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Kilivila is one of the languages of the world that lacks dedicated reciprocal forms. After a short introduction the paper briefly shows how reciprocity is either not expressed at all, is only implicated in an utterance, or expressed periphrastically.
  • Senft, G. (2011). Talking about color and taste on the Trobriand Islands: A diachronic study. The Senses & Society, 6(1), 48 -56. doi:10.2752/174589311X12893982233713.

    Abstract

    How stable is the lexicon for perceptual experiences? This article presents results on how the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea talk about color and taste and whether this has changed over the years. Comparing the results of research on color terms conducted in 1983 with data collected in 2008 revealed that many English color terms have been integrated into the Kilivila lexicon. Members of the younger generation with school education have been the agents of this language change. However, today not all English color terms are produced correctly according to English lexical semantics. The traditional Kilivila color terms bwabwau ‘black’, pupwakau ‘white’, and bweyani ‘red’ are not affected by this change, probably because of the cultural importance of the art of coloring canoes, big yams houses, and bodies. Comparing the 1983 data on taste vocabulary with the results of my 2008 research revealed no substantial change. The conservatism of the Trobriand Islanders' taste vocabulary may be related to the conservatism of their palate. Moreover, they are more interested in displaying and exchanging food than in savoring it. Although English color terms are integrated into the lexicon, Kilivila provides evidence that traditional terms used for talking about color and terms used to refer to tastes have remained stable over time.

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