What is Urianismo?

Vinicius de Moraes, Obra Poetica, Jose Aguilar, 1968

Vinicius de Moraes, Gedichte und Lieder, Piper,1989

Poema desentranhado da história dos particípios

(Do urianismo dos verbos ter e haver)

A partir do século XVI
Os verbos ter e haver esvaziaram-se de sentido
Para se tornarem exclusivamente auxiliares
E os particípios passados
Adquirindo em conseqüência um sentido ativo
Imobilizaram-se para sempre em sua forma indeclinável.

–Vinicius de Moraes


Poem deciphered from the history of participles

(On the urianism of the verbs ter and haver)

Starting from the 16th century
The verbs ter and haver were emptied of meaning
To become exclusively auxiliaries
And the past participles
Acquired consequently an active sense
Immobile for ever in their undeclinable forms.

(Translation by Dylan in the comments, correcting mine)

Vinicius de Moraes, who invented bossa nova, also wrote the above poem about the evolution of the Portuguese auxiliary verbs ter and haver and the consequent changes in the use of the past paticiple. My guess is that he was a bit drunk at the time.

Estudo Diacrônico Dos Verbos TER e HAVER (Maria Lúcia Pinheiro)

Vinicius de Moraes: Poesia Completa e Prosa


It is to be noted that I am an old-school translator who reads Portuguese with great ease, and sometimes accurately too. My own translation wasn’t too bad except for one word, but Dylan’s in the comments is better, so I’ve posted it.

No progress on urianismo so far. A Portuguese-only Google search gets eight hits, all of which are this poem except for one misprint. Uranism [= homosexuality] has been suggested, but in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese that’s uranismo. According to an Argentine atheist group, urianismo is a unicorn-worshiping competitor of pastafarismo, the worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but Vinicius’ poem considerably predates the founding of that cult.

Urian is an actual but rare  surname and Christian name. This Lulu-published book preaches Urianism, but it doesn’t seem relevant to Portuguese grammar. The following passage seems unhelpful: Urianism hopholds that good previces insurent in coidered promples can onlikonly be reanized thouriough acietable, tredirent, commistent and pastory ….

Published in: on April 24, 2010 at 1:00 am  Comments (12)  

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Shurely “urianismo” is Uranism – ie, homosexuality.

  2. Alas, in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese that’s “Uranismo”. “Urian” is a obscure mythical figure who appears in Blake. There is a contemporary Urianist cult in English.

    My Portuguese correspondent seems to be off duty. I don’t know what “desentranhado” means in this context either. Maybe it’s “spilling my guts”. Maybe it’s something else. Metaphorically it has to do with entrails, though.

    It is to be noted that I read Portuguese with ease, but not necessarily with accuracy. I’m an old-school translator in that sense.

  3. John,
    In this context desentranhado does not mean what you
    think it does. Desentranhar in this case means “to unravel”, “to figure out”, “to decipher”.

  4. Thanks, Dylan. I pretty much knew that. The dictionary was not much help. “Poem unraveling the history of participles”?

    Any clues on “urianismo”?

  5. John,
    Sorry for my previous quick note. I was on my way out.
    I would translate the title of the poem as:
    “Poem deciphered from the history of participles”. The
    conjugation of “desentranhar” is in the past tense in the poem.
    Now, regarding “urianismo”. I am at a loss. My guess, and I think it’s a pretty good guess given the context, is that “urianismo” is a technical term from linguistics. Particularly portuguese lingustics.
    I have never heard the term in spanish, my mother tongue. I tried to find it in the Diccionario de la Real Academia (http://www.rae.es/rae.html) and came
    up with my hands empty. The poem is included in a linguistics book, that probably you came across in your searches (see end of page 33):

    Reading the preceding paragraph to the poem in that book, I tend to think that “urianismo” means something like “to concur” or “to become one”.

  6. I’m pretty sure that “Urianismo” is a little joke of Vinicius’s. I’ve Googled Portuguese-only and only got 8 hits, all of which were of this poem, except one misprint for “urbanismo”. In the Pinheiro Sampaio grammar study, “urianismo” occurs only once, within her citation of this same poem.

  7. And here is my (attempt of) translation of the poem.

    Poem deciphered from the history of participles

    Starting from the 16th century
    The verbs ter and haver were emptied of meaning
    To become exclusively auxiliaries
    And the past participles
    Acquired consequently an active sense
    Immobile for ever in their
    undeclinable forms.

  8. By the way, now that you mentioned it, I think you are probably right in saying that “urianismo” is a joke from Vinicius.

  9. Incidentally, the sketch of Vinicius above looks startlingly like my dad. Cigarette, whiskey, hair, pudginess, and the look on his face.

  10. In your update of this article, you mentioned a book (which you linked at Amazon). Urianism is from the name Uriah, a variant on Uriel, and angel of fire in angel lore, and one of the seven archangels (depending on whose list you followed) closest to God. The book you linked comes from the Temple of Uriah, an organization whose belief system is based primarily on Judeo-Christian beliefs. It is a cult much like the Cult of Isis and Osiris in ancient Egypt. I was once a member of this group, but I began to disagree with certain aspects of Urian teachings, and left, along with 3 others. I have no ill feelings toward them, and have always considered them my spiritual brethren, for they taught me a great deal. I have even retained the original spiritual name I took when I was in the Order. We simply could not agree on certain fundamental aspects of Urian teachings, and so I left. THIS Urianism has nothing to do with urianismo. I hope that clarifies a few things for you.

    • I too was a part of that group…I do not suffer any ill will towards any members old, and new. I wish them all the best of luck in their journey. I walk a very different path now, but have retained the lessons I learned through Urianism, especially when it comes to group meditation, prayer, study, etc. It was because of this group that I developed my love for Kabbalah. While I disagree with certain theological and philosophical points within Urianism, I can understand and appreciate the faith and fervor of its members.

  11. I am an Urian Mystic from the Urian Temple Order, and Urian means acording to angel Uriel “he/she who walks on truth” and yes the “Ziana” book was and older book but got faced out to a newer book called “Agape,the book of truth”

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