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The supinum ( Latin "[to the verb] leaning back [word]", to supinare " leaning back"), also supine or German position word , is an infinite verb form . It occurs in relatively few languages ​​and mostly expresses an intention or purpose. Usually the supinum is used with a movement verb. Languages ​​that do not have a supinum often use the infinitive instead . The supinum probably existed in Proto-Indo-European .

Latin language

In Latin there are two Supina. The supinum I is found exclusively in relation to verbs of movement and has the same form as the neuter singular of the participle of the perfect passive (PPP); the ending is -um . The supinum II is formed by omitting the -m in the form of the supinum I ( e.g. laudāre , supinum I: laudātum , supinum II: laudātū ). Supinum I is translated as “to” and II as “to”. The forms are rather rare.

Example sentences:

Supinum I:

  • Mārcus nūntium mīsit rogātum vīnum. - Marcus sent a messenger to ask for wine.
  • Amīcī vēnērunt grātulātum. - The friends came to wish good luck.

Supinum II:

  • Hoc est facile dictū. - That's easy to say.
  • Iūcundum cōgnitū est. - It's nice to learn.
  • horribile dictū - terrible to say

Lithuanian language

In Lithuania a supine exists (z. B. eik Malku atneštų , "Get Go Wood / Wood died"), but is often in place of Supinums that the conditional form (third person) is the same shape, the infinitive used. The verb of movement can be omitted, since the supine form alone implies the meaning to be expressed.

Romanian language

In Romanian , the supinum is formed with a preposition - mostly de - and the participle:

  • de lucrat from the verb a lucra (to work)
  • de scris from the verb a scrie (to write)

It is often used with the verb a avea (to have) and expresses the intention, obligation:

  • At de lucrat (I have to work, I have to work)
  • Am de scris (I have to write, I have to write)

It is also used to form many compounds, in which it usually expresses the purpose:

  • mașină de scris (typewriter, literally: machine for writing)
  • mașină de spălat (washing machine, literally: machine for washing)

Swedish language

In Swedish the indeklinable secondary form of the participle Perfect is designated supine, which together with the respective forms of the auxiliary verb ha (have) to form perfect or perfect progressive used:

  • Jag har druckit lite vatten. (I drank some water.)

In contrast, there is the declined and adjectival past participle:

  • det druckna vattnet (the drunk water)

Slavic languages

The Proto-Slavonic (cf.. Alttschechisch spati vs. late ) knew a supine, it was located in the Old Church Slavonic . Lower Sorbian and Slovenian have a corresponding form of the living Slavic languages (Lower Sorbian: źi spat , “Go to sleep!”) (Slovenian: pojdi spat “Go to sleep!”)

Supin / Supinum in German

The word supine / supinum is used for an infinite verb form in contrast to the past participle.

The philologist Gunnar Bech also uses the term “Supine” for the verbal participle II in German.

In the Swabian magazine of learned things from 1776 one reads:

The word which I call supinum is of course very different from the syntax according to the Latin supino; the formation, however, is all the more similar to the same, since the Participium praeteriti is made out of it directly, apart from motion and declination, without any further change. But it is not the participium itself, because there are many verbs that have the supinum and yet no participium praeteriti. Whore, coughed, lived, slept and so on are not participii, because they are neither capable of motion nor declination. But both belong to the Participiis. In addition, the French grammarians are on my side, who call you eu, été, aimé, vendu udg Supina, whose usage is just like my Supini in German.

Especially for the undeclinable so-called “participles II” of the real intransitive verbs , which are not “middle words” but “location words”, the expression “supinum” is more appropriate than the term “participle”.


  • Peter Stein: The infinite verb forms of Romanian (infinitive, supin, gerunzia, participiu) in the context of the Romance languages. In: Maria Iliescu, Sanda Sora (Ed.): Romanian. Typology, classification, language characteristics. A. Lehmann, Veitshöchheim near Würzburg 1996, ISBN 978-3-88162-160-1 , pp. 101-120.
  • Elizabeta Jenko: Grammar of the Slovene Language. Drava, Klagenfurt 2000, ISBN 3-85435-339-1 , p. 66.

Web links

Wiktionary: Supinum  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Seminar for Greek and Latin Philology at the University of Freiburg: Supinum
  2. Heinz Schuster-Šewc : Das Sorbische - a Slavic language in Germany , pp. 32–33 (PDF; 169 kB), accessed on July 7, 2016
  3. Elizabeta Jenko: Grammar of the Slovene Language. Drava, Klagenfurt 2000, ISBN 3-85435-339-1 , p. 66.
  4. ^ Gunnar Bech, Studies on the German verbum infinitum. Tübingen, Niemeyer, 1955.
  5. New comments on the twelfth piece of the Swabian magazine 1775 , in: Swabian magazine of learned things on the year 1776, Seventh Book, Stuttgart, with Erhardische Schriften, pp. 627–628. on-line