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Day[s] that I have loved ... but the times they are a-changin' - 30 years of anthropological-linguistic field research on the Trobriand Islands in Papua New Guinea [invited lecture]

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Senft,  Gunter
Language and Cognition Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Senft, G. (2015). Day[s] that I have loved.. but the times they are a-changin' - 30 years of anthropological-linguistic field research on the Trobriand Islands in Papua New Guinea [invited lecture]. Talk presented at "The Language, Society, Technology and Cognition Interdisciplinary PhD Programme" of the Adam Mickiewicz University. Poznan. 2015-09-16.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-029F-7
Abstract
This talk provides an inevitably subjective summing up of experiences I made during 30 years of field research on the Trobriand Islands. I first provide some information about how I came to do this kind of research. Then I briefly introduce the Trobriand Islands, their inhabitants and some central aspects of their language and their culture. To illustrate my situation as a greenhorn in the Pacific at the beginning of my staying in the field, I briefly mention some of the mistakes I made, some misunderstandings and some forms of my misbehavior with respect to Trobriand etiquette and conventions. A brief survey on the research I carried out there is followed by a discussion of aspects of language and culture change which I witnessed and documented between 1982 and 2012. The presentation ends with some unfortunately pessimistic prospects on the Trobrianders' future which is severely challenged by overpopulation and climate change affecting the Islands.