Discussion in 'English Only' started by toscairn, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. toscairn Banned

    What is the english grammar term equivalent of "supine" or "supinum"? What about this sentence?

    I want it wrapped.

    Do you agree this "wrapped" is an english example of "supine"? Am I wrong?

    Wiki's description of "supine"
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I think you are right.
    Your example sentence is, really:
    I want it to be wrapped.
    My cloudy understanding is that to be wrapped is supine - I should add that my Oxford English Grammar doesn't mention supine:)
  3. toscairn Banned

    Do you agree "to be wrapped" could be called "supine"? Oh, I got it. As long as there aren't no English words capable of replacing "to be -pp." in one word, you may safely say that there is no "spine" in English. Am I wrong?
  4. María Madrid

    María Madrid Banned

    Madrid, Spain
    Spanish Spain

    Verb Forms
    infinitive - ungeendigendlic adj
    participle - dǽlnimend m, se nimenda dǽl
    supine – adj capiende [the gerund form of the verb]

    I only remember (vaguely) my high school teacher saying the term supine wasn't used in Spanish to call a certain verb form anymore but had been replaced by another term. Which one, I don't remember. I also seem to recall the term from my Latin lessons (all long forgotten now), but according to this to this supine is gerund, this is verb+ing, not verb+ed. :)
  5. toscairn Banned

    Maria, thanks for the info. But those terms seem to be for Latin grammar, not English itself. Anyway, you've clarified for me that Spanish has another verb for supine, which itself is some info. a skunk? What do you mean?
  6. María Madrid

    María Madrid Banned

    Madrid, Spain
    Spanish Spain
    This linked I posted is a site called New Old English Made Easy and the info I included was copied from a section called Grammar Terms in Old English, so it´s not Latin it refers to.

    What I meant is that supine comes from Latin, it's not an English term, so it might be inferred that it refers to just the same verb tense as it does in other languages. After all most grammar terms come from Latin and Greek and English does NOT have so many verb forms compared to other languages so that it would create a new meaning for an already existing term. On the other hand, if the word supine is not used in Spanish and has been replaced with a new term for that verb form, it might be reasonable to think that this term is also obsolete for other languages too. :)
  7. toscairn Banned

    hmm... my brain is clearer after reading this thread. Thanks, everyone!
  8. tamsin Senior Member

    English, UK
    just to confuse matters, in case you ever come across it, 'supine' is also an english word meaning lying on your back with knees bent ie. 'she lay supine on the grass'. I didn't realise it had anything to do with grammar!

  9. bob_em Member

    I'm back in the USA
    English, USA
    Perhaps the use of the word "supine" is something that appears in the English language texts in Great Britain, but I've never seen a reference to such a term in US English texts.
    I did find this reference to the term in the English language Wikipedia:
    In Latin, a supine ends in -um (former supine) or in -u (latter supine). It is used much in the same way that English infinitives are used. The sentence "I call forth the Gladiators to fight" in Latin becomes "Gladiatores voco pugnatum" (the use of the infinitive in a construction like "Gladiatores voco pugnare" is reserved for poetry). Certain idiomatic expressions also include the supine, such as mirabile dictu "wonderful to relate". The form can only be used in the accusative case and ablative case.

    Notice there is no mention of such a thing as a "supine" gramatical term in English. It would seem that in English you use the term "infinitive". I hope this is helpful.
  10. María Madrid

    María Madrid Banned

    Madrid, Spain
    Spanish Spain
    Yes, just as it does in other languages, because that meaning also comes from Latin (supinus)...

    When it comes to language, it refers to a pronominal verb form in many indoeuropean languages, but as I said, it's not a common term anymore. :)
  11. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    "I want it (to be) wrapped" is a future infinitive form. In Latin this tense takes the -undus, -andus, etc ending, and survives in English words like agenda, "that are to be done."

    Back when volition always implied futurity and took the subjunctive, we used the future and passive voice in that mood-- "I would that it be wrapped." Future subjunctive in Latin makes no logical sense, so volitional and hortatory ideas are expressed in a form that involves the future infinitive and a more imperative-sounding construction--- "Carthago delenda est."

    Our use without the infinitive, "I want it wrapped" is simplification to a militant degree, almost to the point of Tarzan-speak. The 19th-century propensity for naming tenses, and breaking them down into all sorts of subcategories, is not real useful in describing a grammar that has evolved this degree of simplification.

    Native speakers understand the futurity implied in this command, but where is the grammatic marker or "tense" marker for futurity? All I see is a past participle, gerund, whatever grammarians are trying to call such words nowadays.
  12. snappleapple New Member

    ok, well, supine does not mean wrapped. it means lying on ones back.
  13. snappleapple New Member

    oh wait someone said that. good.
  14. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    My native language, Slovenian, is one of the few languages that have preserved the supine (the Slovenian supine is slightly different from the infinitve; you can discuss it here). However, the supine is extinct in most living languages.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2008

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