LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 15.5

Help for ESFO-L Archives

ESFO-L Archives

ESFO-L Archives


Next Message | Previous Message
Next in Topic | Previous in Topic
Next by Same Author | Previous by Same Author
Chronologically | Most Recent First
Proportional Font | Monospaced Font


Join or Leave ESFO-L
Reply | Post New Message
Search Archives

Subject: Book announcement: G. Senft: The Tuma Underworld of Love
From: Gunter Senft <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Gunter Senft <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 5 Dec 2011 10:19:16 +0100

text/plain (31 lines)

Dear All!

I would like to announce the publication of my latest book:

Senft, Gunter. 2011. The Tuma Underworld of Love. Erotic and other narrative songs of the Trobriand Islanders and their spirits of the dead. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Although Kilivila - the Austronesian language of the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea - is not an endangered language, there are two metalinguistically labeled varieties or registers of this language which are moribund by now: These varieties are the "biga megwa" - the language of magic and the "biga baloma" - the language of the spirits of the dead. The latter language variety is an archaic variety of Kilivila. It is constituted by specific songs - the so-called "wosi milamala" - the harvest festivals songs which are not only sung during these festivals but also after the death of a Trobriander during the first mourning ceremonies. The majority of these songs describe in a highly poetic way the carefree 'life' of the spirits of the dead in their 'underworld paradise' on Tuma which is one of the Trobriand Island. The songs codify the most important aspects of the Trobriand Islanders' eschatological belief system which explains what happens when someone dies. Although the songs are still sung by the Trobriand Islanders because of their ritual impact, most of the singers no longer understand the lyrics they have learned by heart. This volume not only documents 20 song cycles and thus contributes to preserve the knowledge of the traditional belief system of the Trobriand Islanders, it also presents an anthropological linguistic analysis of their eschatological content and provides a critical review of Bronislaw Malinowski's ethnography on the topic. Malinowski described essentials of the Trobriand Islanders' complex belief system in his articles "Baloma: the Spirits of the Dead in the Trobriand Islands" and "Myth in Primitive Psychology". He discussed the Trobrianders' belief that a "baloma" can be reborn and claimed that Trobrianders are unaware of the father's role as genitor. This volume reviews this claim and finally settles the so-called "virgin birth" controversy. The interested reader of this book has the opportunity to access the internet and listen to most of the original data presented in chapter three. Three of the songs are also video-documented. The films E 3129 and E 3130 by Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt (see Eibl-Eibesfeldt & Senft 1991) document wosi milamala and milamala dances. The data can be found under the following URL:

see also:

Prof. Dr. Gunter Senft
MPI for Psycholinguistics
PB 310
NL-6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands
+31-(0)24-3521 911 (operator)
+31-(0)24-3521 274 (direct)
+ 31-(0)24-3521 300
[log in to unmask]

Back to: Top of Message | Previous Page | Main ESFO-L Page



CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager