Friulian language series: Gjenesi 1:1-10, tal imprin


Tal imprin

This post begins your study of the Friulian language through the Bible, beginning with the book of Genesis. The text that you will read was translated by Antoni Beline. Made available by Glesie Furlane in Bibie par un popul, it is the ideal text to work from in your study of Friulian. If you are concerned that you will acquire archaic-sounding language, know that this is untrue: the text has been rendered into standard, contemporary Friulian. You will learn an incredibly diverse range of usages, and you will learn them very well.

The Friulian for Bible is la Bibie or la Biblie. La Bibie par furlan means the Bible in Friulian. The name of the Friulian language in Friulian itself is il furlan. A chapter of the Bible is called un cjapitul, and a verse is called un verset.

You will begin your study with the story of creation, or la creazion, as told in the book of Genesis: il libri de Gjenesi. In this first post, you will examine the language used in verses 1-10 of the first chapter. All four posts pertaining to chapter 1 can be found here.

Read Gjenesi 1:1-10

To read the Friulian text of the Bible associated with the notes below or listen to its audio, visit Bibie par un popul and consult Gjenesi 1:1-10. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Verset 1

Tal imprin (in the beginning) Diu al creà (God created) cîl e tiere (heaven and earth).

Vocabulary: l’imprin (beginning), tal imprin (in the beginning), Diu (God), creâ (to create), Diu al creà (God created), il cîl (heaven, sky), e (and), la tiere (earth).

The Friulian name for God is Diu. Imprin is a masculine noun meaning beginning; l’imprin means the beginning. Tal imprin translates as in the beginning, where the Friulian in has contracted with l’ to form tal (in the). Overview: Friulian contractions of a preposition and definite article.

in + l’imprin
= tal imprin

The Friulian verb creâ means to create. The masculine, third-person singular of the passât sempliç (simple past) is lui al creà (he created). In this verse, you find Diu al creà, meaning God created. Diu replaces lui (he), and the inclusion of al is mandatory.

The masculine noun il cîl means heaven; it also means sky. The feminine noun la tiere means earth. Il is the masculine definite article; the feminine definite article is la. Il cîl means both heaven and sky: sometimes it refers to the heaven above the firmament (see the notes at verse 6), and other times it refers to the sky below the firmament where the birds fly. The use of il cîl for both heaven and sky is not limited to the Bible; this is also the usage of Friulian in general.

Observe the following:

lui al creà il cîl
lui al creà la tiere
lui al creà cîl e tiere

Diu al creà il cîl
Diu al creà la tiere
Diu al creà cîl e tiere

More examples of the passât sempliç, using different verbs: lui al zontà (he added; zontâ, to add); lui al polsà (he rested; polsâ, to rest); lui al deventà (he became; deventâ, to become); Diu al cjapà l’om (God took the man; cjapâ, to take). In the last example, you find the Friulian for man: l’om. The Friulian for woman is la femine. Examine now the following examples: lui al creà (he created); jê e creà (she created); lui al zontà (he added); jê e zontà (she added); lui al polsà (he rested); jê e polsà (she rested). Lui means he; means she. In the same way that the inclusion of al is mandatory in the masculine, the inclusion of e is mandatory in the feminine.

Say the following in Friulian, using the passât sempliç:

  1. the man became
  2. the man took
  3. God created the earth
  4. God created man
  5. the woman added
  6. the woman took
  7. the woman rested


  1. l’om al deventà
  2. l’om al cjapà
  3. Diu al creà la tiere
  4. Diu al creà l’om
  5. la femine e zontà
  6. la femine e cjapà
  7. la femine e polsà

You now know that lui al creà means he created, and jê e creà means she created. It is not mandatory to include lui (he) or (she); it is however mandatory to include al or e. This means he created can be expressed as lui al creà or al creà. She created can be expressed as jê e creà or e creà.

Using the passât sempliç, say the following in the two ways that you have just read about:

  1. he took
  2. he created man
  3. he created the heaven
  4. she became
  5. she rested


  1. lui al cjapà; al cjapà
  2. lui al creà l’om; al creà l’om
  3. lui al creà il cîl; al creà il cîl
  4. jê e deventà; e deventà
  5. jê e polsà; e polsà

Before you move on to the next verse, consider the following sentence: la Gjenesi e je il prin libri de Bibie (Genesis is the first book of the Bible). This sentence breaks down as follows: la Gjenesi (Genesis) e je (is) il prin libri (the first book) de Bibie (of the Bible). E je is the feminine, third-person singular of the presint indicatîf (present indicative) of the verb jessi (to be). Its masculine equivalent is al è.

lui al è or al è, he is
Diu al è, God is

jê e je or e je, she is
la tiere e je, the earth is

Al è and e je can also be used with the meaning it is: al è dì (it is day), e je gnot (it is night). Il dì is a masculine noun meaning day; la gnot is a feminine noun meaning night. Al è and e je can even be used in the sense of it exists: Diu al è (God exists).

The Friulian adjective prin means first, and the masculine il libri means book. Il prin libri, then, translates as the first book. The Friulian di means of; it has contracted with la to form de.

la Bibie
di + la Bibie
= de Bibie

La Gjenesi e je il prin libri de Bibie.
Genesis is the first book of the Bible.

Verset 2

Ma la tiere e jere un vuluç (but the earth was confusion; chaos) e vueide (and empty; and waste), gnot fonde e jere sul mâr (complete darkness was upon the sea), e il spirt di Diu al svualampave (and the spirit of God was fluttering) parsore des aghis (over the waters).

Vocabulary: ma (but), la tiere (earth), la tiere e jere (the earth was), il vuluç (confusion, chaos, disorder; also voluç), vueit (empty), la gnot (night), la gnot fonde (complete darkness), il mâr (sea), sul mâr (upon the sea), e (and), il spirt (spirit), di (of), Diu (God), svualampâ (to flutter).

You have seen how the verb jessi (to be) conjugates in the third-person singular, presint indicatîf: lui al è (he is); jê e je (she is). Lui and can be omitted, but al and e cannot: al è (he is); e je (she is). More examples: Diu al è (God is); la tiere e je (the earth is); al è dì (it is day); e je gnot (it is night).

This second verse begins: ma la tiere e jere. Ma means but. As for e jere, which is in the imperfet indicatîf (imperfect indicative), consider the following: la tiere e je (the earth is); la tiere e jere (the earth was); e je gnot (it is night); e jere gnot (it was night).

The Friulian adjective vueit means empty. Vueit is the masculine form; vueide is the feminine: la tiere e je vueide (the earth is empty; the earth is waste); la tiere e jere vueide (the earth was empty the earth was waste). More examples of the adjective vueit: un armâr vueit (an empty cupboard); une scjate vueide (an empty box). Un is the masculine indefinite article; its feminine equivalent is une.

The masculine noun madrac, which does not appear in the text of this verse, means snake, serpent. Consider these further examples of al è and al jere: il madrac al è (the snake is); il madrac al jere (the snake was); il madrac al è piçul (the snake is small); il madrac al jere piçul (the snake was small).

In addition to empty, the earth is also described in the second verse as having been un vuluç. Some of the notions conveyed by the masculine noun il vuluç (also expressed in Friulian as il voluç) are disorder, chaos, confusion. (It also suggests the idea of a spiral; consider, for example, that the verb invuluçâ [or involuçâ], which you will encounter later in your study, means to wrap up; the root of this verb is vuluç.)

The adjective font can be taken here as meaning absolute, complete. Font is the masculine form; fonde is its feminine form. The Friulian for night is la gnot. Gnot fonde can be taken as complete darkness. The masculine noun il mâr means sea. Sul mâr means upon the sea, where su has contracted with il to form sul.

il mâr
su + il mâr
= sul mâr

In Friulian, the Spirit of God is expressed as il spirt di Diu. The verb svualampâ (or svolampâ) means to flutter; al svualampave (he was fluttering; it was fluttering) is the masculine, third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf. The feminine noun l’aghe means water. Its plural form is lis aghis. Parsore des aghis means over the waters, where parsore di means over, above, and di has contracted with lis to form des.

lis aghis
parsore di + lis aghis
= parsore des aghis

Verset 3

Diu al disè (God said): “Ch’e sedi la lûs” (let there be light [let the light be]) e la lûs e comparì (and there was light [and the light appeared]).

Vocabulary: Diu (God), (to say), Diu al disè (God said), ch’e sedi (let be; feminine), la lûs (light), e (and), comparî (to appear).

Recall the following passât sempliç forms: Diu al creà (God created); Diu al polsà (God rested); Diu al cjapà (God took). The verbs here are creâ, polsâ, cjapâ; these verbs all end in â. In this third verse, you find the verbs (to say) and comparî (to appear) in the passât sempliç, which take different endings to the ones you saw above: Diu al disè (God said); la lûs e comparì (the light appeared).

Using the passât sempliç, say the following in Friulian:

  1. the man said
  2. God created the light
  3. the water appeared
  4. God created the waters
  5. the heaven appeared


  1. l’om al disè
  2. Diu al creà la lûs
  3. l’aghe e comparì
  4. Diu al creà lis aghis
  5. il cîl al comparì

Ch’e sedi is the feminine, third-person singular, coniuntîf presint (present subjunctive) of the verb jessi (to be); it translates as let be. Ch’e sedi la lûs: let be the light; that is, let there be light.

Say the following in Friulian:

  1. let be the water
  2. let be the earth
  3. let be the night


  1. ch’e sedi l’aghe
  2. ch’e sedi la tiere
  3. ch’e sedi la gnot

Verset 4

Diu al viodè (God saw) che la lûs e leve ben (that the light was good; that the light was right) e al metè la lûs (and he put the light) di une bande (to one side; on one side) e il scûr di chê altre (and the darkness to the other; and the darkness on the other).

Vocabulary: Diu (God), viodi (to see), Diu al viodè (God saw), che (that), la lûs (light), lâ ben (to be good, to be right), meti (to put, to place), Diu al metè (God put), la bande (side), meti di une bande (to put to one side), il scûr (darkness), chê (that; feminine), chê altre (that other; feminine), meti di chê altre bande (to put to that other side; that is, to put to the other side).

The Friulian verb viodi means to see; its masculine, third-person singular of the passât sempliç is al viodè. Its feminine equivalent is e viodè. Examples: Diu al viodè (God saw); l’om al viodè (the man saw); la femine e viodè (the woman saw).

Lâ ben can be taken as meaning to be good, to be right; literally, (to go) ben (well). The masculine, third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf of is al leve. Its feminine equivalent is e leve. La lûs e leve ben is to be understood as meaning the light was good; the light was right. The opposite of la lûs (light) is il scûr (darkness).

Say the following in Friulian:

  1. God created the light
  2. God created the darkness
  3. the darkness appeared
  4. the man saw the darkness


  1. Diu al creà la lûs
  2. Diu al creà il scûr
  3. il scûr al comparì
  4. l’om al viodè il scûr

The verb meti means to put. Its masculine, third-person singular of the passât sempliç is al metè; its feminine equivalent is e metè. Diu al metè: God put. Diu al metè la lûs: God put the light. The feminine noun la bande means side. Diu al metè la lûs di une bande: God put the light to one side. Diu al metè il scûr di chê altre bande: God put the darkness to the other side. The Friulian for other is altri; this is its masculine form — its feminine form is altre. Examples: chel altri libri (the other book; that other book); chê altre bande (the other side; that other side). Di chê altre bande means to the other side, on the other side; the text of this verse uses di chê altre (to the other, on the other), without repeating bande.

Verset 5

Diu al metè (God put) il non di dì (the name of ‘day’) a la lûs (unto the light) e di gnot (and of ‘night’) al scûr (unto the darkness). E passà une sere (an evening went by) e une buinore (and a morning): prime zornade (first day).

Vocabulary: Diu (God), meti (to put), Diu al metè (God put), il non (name), di (of), il dì (day), la lûs (light), la gnot (night), il scûr (darkness), passâ (to go by, to elapse), la sere (evening), la buinore (morning), prin (first; masculine), prime (first; feminine), la zornade (day).

Il non is a masculine noun meaning name. Il non di dì: the name of ‘day’. Il non di gnot: the name of ‘night’. Diu al metè il non di dî a la lûs translates literally as God put the name of ‘day’ unto the light; this is to be taken as meaning God named the light ‘day’. Similarly, God named the darkness ‘night’ is expressed as Diu al metè il non di gnot al scûr, which translates literally as God put the name of ‘night’ unto the darkness. Note how a has behaved here when coming into contact with il and la:

il scûr
a + il scûr
= al scûr

la lûs
a + la lûs
= a la lûs

La sere is the Friulian for evening; la buinore means morning. In this verse, you find these two feminine nouns used with their indefinite article: une sere, une buinore.

The verb passâ means to pass, to go by, to elapse. For example, la gnot e passà means the night went by. In the text, you read: e passà une sere e une buinore (an evening went by and a morning), prime zornade (first day). La zornade means day. This is the second word for day that you have encountered; the other is il dì. Zornade can be used to emphasise the duration of a day. Examples: une zornade di viaç (one day’s travel; il viaç, travel); une zornade di vot oris (an eight-hour day; une ore, one hour; vot oris, eight hours). In the last example, note that the feminine singular ore forms its plural as oris. You have also already seen that the feminine singular aghe forms its plural as aghis.

Recall the following sentence examined above: la Gjenesi e je il prin libri de Bibie, where prin is the masculine singular form of the adjective meaning first; its feminine equivalent, which you find in this fourth verse, is prime. The plural forms are prins (masculine) and primis (feminine). Examples: la prime zornade (the first day); la prime ore de gnot (the first hour of the night); lis primis oris de gnot (the first hours of the night); il prin libri (the first book); i prins libris (the first books); i prins cinc libris de Bibie (the first five books of the Bible). Recall that de is a contraction of di + la.

la gnot
di + la gnot
= de gnot

Note how il libri formed its plural the examples above: il libri, i libris. Study the following examples: il libri al è interessant (the book is interesting); i libris a son interessants (the books are interesting); il libri al è scrit par furlan (the book is written in Friulian); i doi libris a son scrits par furlan (the two books are written in Friulian).

Verset 6

Diu al disè (God said): “Che si planti (let set itself) la volte dal cîl (the firmament [vault] of the heaven) tal mieç des aghis (in the middle of the waters) e ch’e dividi (and let it separate) chestis aghis (these waters) di chês altris” (from the others [those others]). E cussì al sucedè (and thus it occurred; and it happened so).

Vocabulary: Diu (God), (to say), plantâ (to set), plantâsi (to set oneself), la volte (vault), il cîl (heaven, sky), la volte dal cîl (the firmament [vault] of the heaven), il mieç (middle), tal mieç di (in the middle of, in the midst of), la aghe (water), dividi (to divide, to separate), altri (other), cussì (so, thus, in this way), sucedi (to happen, to occur).

The verb plantâ means to set. Examples (not found in the text of this verse): Diu al plantà: God set. Diu al plantà la volte dal cîl: God set the firmament (vault) of the heaven. If the verb plantâ means to set, then the reflexive plantâsi means to set oneself. Example (not found in the text of this verse): la volte dal cîl si plantà (the firmament [vault] of the heaven set itself). In la volte dal cîl, di (of) contracts with il (the) to form dal (of the).

il cîl
di + il cîl
= dal cîl

The firmament is referred to in the text as la volte, which translates literally as dome, vault. The firmament is a vault that extends over the expanse of the sky and rests on pillars at the end of the earth. Above the firmament is the celestial ocean. The firmament has openings in it, and it is through these openings that the waters from the celestial ocean come down and rain upon the earth. God dwells above the celestial ocean.

You will recall the feminine, third-person singular coniuntîf presint form ch’e sedi, meaning let be. In this verse, you encounter another present subjunctive: che si planti, meaning let set itself. Che si planti la volte dal cîl: let the firmament of the heaven set itself; let the firmament of the heaven be set. Il mieç means middle. Tal mieç des aghis: in the middle of the waters. Recall that tal is a contraction of in + il, and des is a contraction of di + lis.

il mieç
in + il mieç
= tal mieç

lis aghis
di + lis aghis
= des aghis

The verb dividi means to divide, to separate. In this verse, you find it used in the feminine, third-person singular of the coniuntîf presint: ch’e dividi (let divide). Ch’e dividi lis aghis: let (it) divide the waters.

The feminine singular cheste means this; its plural form chestis means these. The following examples use the feminine nouns aghe, robe, cjase: cheste aghe (this water); chestis aghis (these waters); cheste robe (this thing); chestis robis (these things); cheste cjase (this house); chestis cjasis (these houses). The feminine singular chê means that; its plural form chês means those. The following examples again use the feminine nouns aghe, robe, cjase: chê aghe (that water); chês aghis (those waters); chê robe (that thing); chês robis (those things); chê cjase (that house); chês cjasis (those houses).

Recall chê altre bande from the fourth verse. You can now create its plural form: chês altris bandis. In the text of the current verse, you encounter chês altris aghis, or rather chês altris, without the repetition of aghis.

The masculine equivalent of cheste is chest (this); its plural form is chescj (these). The masculine equivalent of chê is chel (that); its plural form is chei (those). The following examples use the masculine il zovin: chest zovin (this youth); chescj zovins (these youths); chel zovin (that youth); chei zovins (those youths).

Ch’e dividi chestis aghis di chês altris as used in this verse means let (it) divide these waters from those others. What is understood by di chês altris is di chês altris aghis (from those other waters).

The verb sucedi means to occur, to happen. You find it used in this verse in the third-person singular, passât sempliç. Cussì means so, thus. E cussì al sucedè: and it occurred so.

Verset 7

Diu al fasè la volte dal cîl (God made the firmament [vault] of the heaven) ch’e divît lis aghis (which separates the waters) che a son sot de volte dal cîl (that are below the firmament of the heaven) di chês che a son sore de volte dal cîl (from those that are above the firmament of the heaven).

Vocabulary: Diu (God), (to make, to do), la volte dal cîl (firmament [vault] of the heaven), dividi (to divide, to separate), la aghe (water), a son (they are), sot di (below), sore di (above).

The Friulian verb means to make; it is found here in its masculine, third-person singular, passât sempliç form: al fasè. Diu al fasè: God made.

You encounter the verb dividi again, this time in the feminine, third-person singular of the presint indicatîf: e divît. Examples: la volte e divît lis aghis (the firmament divides the waters); il flum al divît la citât (the river divides the city).

In the text of this verse, you now encounter the feminine, third-person plural of the presint indicatîf of the verb jessi (to be): a son. The masculine form is the same. Observe the following examples: l’aghe e je (the water is); lis aghis a son (the waters are); il zovin al è (the youth is); i zovins a son (the youths are).

Sot di means below; sore di means above. In this verse, you see once again how di has contracted with la to form de.

la volte
sot di + la volte
= sot de volte

la volte
sore di + la volte
= sore de volte

Verset 8

e Diu al metè (and God put) a la volte (unto the firmament [vault]) il non di cîl (the name of ‘heaven’). E passà une sere e une buinore (an evening went by and a morning): seconde zornade (second day).

Vocabulary: meti (to put), la volte (vault), il non (name), il cîl (heaven, sky), passâ (to go by, to elapse), la sere (evening), la buinore (morning), secont (second), la zornade (day).

You have already encountered the usages found in this verse, with the exception of the Friulian for second: secont (masculine); seconde (feminine). Examples: la seconde zornade (the second day); il secont frut (the second child); Zuan Pauli II [Zuan Pauli secont] (John Paul II [John Paul the Second]).

Recall the Friulian for first: prin (masculine); prime (feminine). Examples: la prime zornade (the first day); Carli I [Carli prin] (Charles I [Charles the First]).

Verset 9

Diu al disè (God said): “Lis aghis che a son sot dal cîl (the waters that are below the heaven) che s’ingrumin dutis intun puest (let them all gather into one place) e che al vegni fûr il teren” (and let the ground come forth; and let the dry land come forth) e cussì al sucedè (and thus it occurred; and it happened so).

Vocabulary: (to say), la aghe (water), sot di (below), il cîl (heaven, sky), ingrumâsi (to gather), dut (all), il puest (place), intun puest (in[to] one place), vignî fûr (to come forth), il teren (ground, [dry] land), cussì (thus, so), sucedi (to happen, to occur).

The verb ingrumâ means to gather, to join; the reflexive ingrumâsi means to gather oneself, to gather together. Che s’ingrumin is the third-person plural of the coniuntîf presint. Che s’ingrumin: let (them) gather together.

Il teren means ground, (dry) land. Vignî fûr translates as to come forth, where the verb vignî means to come, and fûr means out, forth. Che al vegni is the masculine, third-person singular, coniuntîf presint. Che al vegni fûr: let (it) come forth. Che al vegni fûr il teren: let the ground come forth.

Dut means all; this is its masculine singular form. Its feminine equivalent is dute. The plural forms are ducj (masculine) and dutis (feminine). Examples: dut il mês (all month); ducj i vivents (all the creatures); dute la vore (all the work); dutis lis aghis (all the waters).

Say the following in Friulian:

  1. all these things
  2. all these houses
  3. all these rivers
  4. all these youths
  5. all those things
  6. all those houses
  7. all those youths
  8. all those rivers


  1. dutis chestis robis
  2. dutis chestis cjasis
  3. ducj chescj flums
  4. ducj chescj zovins
  5. dutis chês robis
  6. dutis chês cjasis
  7. ducj chei zovins
  8. ducj chei flums

Intun is a contraction of in + un. Its feminine equivalent is intune, which is a contraction of in + une. Examples: intun puest (in one place); meti intun puest (to put in one place); intun libri (in a book); intune cjase (in a house).

Verset 10

Diu al metè (God put) il non di tiere (the name of ‘earth’) al teren (unto the ground; unto the dry land) e il non di mâr (and the name of ‘sea’) a lis aghis ingrumadis (unto the gathered waters), e Diu al viodè (and God saw) che al leve ben (that it was good; that it was right).

Vocabulary: meti (to put), il non (name), la tiere (earth), il teren (ground, [dry] land), il mâr (sea), ingrumât (gathered), lis aghis ingrumadis (gathered waters), viodi (to see), lâ ben (to be good, to be right).

The feminine plural ingrumadis (gathered) is formed from the verb ingrumâ (to gather) encountered in the last verse. The following all mean gathered: ingrumât (masculine singular); ingrumâts (masculine plural); ingrumade (feminine singular); ingrumadis (feminine plural). Aghis ingrumadis: gathered waters.

Note how a has behaved when coming into contact with lis; it has not contracted:

lis aghis
a + lis aghis
= a lis aghis

On a final note

You have encountered in this post numerous examples of the passât sempliç; for example al creà, from the verb creâ; or al zontà, from the verb zontâ. Friulian also expresses past time using what is known as the passât prossim (recent past). Observe:

creâ, to create
al creà
he created
al à creât
he has created

zontâ, to add
al zontà
he added
al à zontât
he has added

The passât prossim (e.g., al à creât, al à zontât) is used in regular Friulian to express past time; however, thus far in this post, you have only encountered the passât sempliç (e.g., al creà, al zontà).

Al à creât can be understood quite literally as he has created, where al à means he has (from the verb vê, to have), and creât means created (creât is the past participle of creâ). That said, al à creât is also used in regular Friulian to express he created, in addition to he has created.

Diu al creà il cîl
God created the heaven
Diu al à creât il cîl
God created the heaven
God has created the heaven

Diu al creà il teren
God created the ground
Diu al à creât il teren
God created the ground
God has created the ground

Diu al creà l’om
God created man
Diu al à creât l’om
God created man
God has created man

More examples of this:

mandâ, to send
al à mandât
he sent, he has sent

fevelâ, to speak
al à fevelât
he spoke, he has spoken

cjapâ, to take
al à cjapât
he took, he has taken

al à cjapât il prin premi
he took first prize
he has taken first prize

studiâ, to study
al à studiât
he studied, he has studied

al à studiât a Udin
he studied in Udine
he has studied in Udine

viodi, to see
al à viodût
he saw, he has seen

meti, to put
al à metût
he put, he has put

You will continue to encounter the passât prossim in future posts. Say the following in Friulian using this tense:

  1. he played — use zuiâ (to play)
  2. he sang — use cjantâ (to sing)
  3. she thought — use pensâ (to think)


  1. al à zuiât
  2. al à cjantât
  3. e à pensât

You may wish to study the contents of these posts:

Continue your study of chapter 1 of the book of Genesis. There are four parts in total.