Study Friulian from the Bible: Genesis 1, verses 1-10

This post begins your study of the Friulian language through verses from the Bible.

The Friulian text that you will examine was prepared by Glesie Furlane, in Bibie par un popul. You can read and listen to the Bible in Friulian by following the link.

You will begin your study with the Book of Genesis, il libri de Gjenesi, which tells the story of creation, la creazion. In this first post, you will examine the language used in Gjenesi 1:1-10; that is, verses 1-10 of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis.

The Bible in Friulian is called la Bibie. La Bibie par furlan means the Bible in Friulian.

A chapter of the Bible is called un cjapitul, and a verse is called un verset. This is how to count from one to ten in Friulian: un (1), doi (2), trê (3), cuatri (4), cinc (5), sîs (6), siet (7), vot (8), nûf (9), dîs (10). To say, for example, the Book of Genesis, chapter 3, verse 4, you would say il libri de Gjenesi, cjapitul trê, verset cuatri. You can consult a review of counting in Friulian here.

Before you begin your study below, you will need to access the text of the verses in Friulian; you can do so by following one of the links below, which will take you to the Bibie par un popul site:

Verset 1

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).

l’imprin
in + l’imprin
= tal imprin

You can consult an overview of contractions (preposition + definite article) used in the Friulian Bible here.

The Friulian verb creâ means to create. The masculine, third-person singular, passât sempliç (simple past) conjugation 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; its feminine equivalent is la.

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

Here are more examples of the passât sempliç conjugation, using different verbs:

zontâ, to add
lui al zontà
he added
Diu al zontà
God added

polsâ, to rest
lui al polsà
he rested
Diu al polsà
God rested

deventâ, to become
lui al deventà
he became
l’om al deventà
the man became

cjapâ, to take
lui al cjapà l’om
he took the man
Diu al cjapà l’om
God took the man

In the last example above, you saw the Friulian word for man: l’om. The word 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 al deventà
he became
jê e deventà
she became

lui al cjapà
he took
jê e cjapà
she took

Lui means he; means she. In the same way that the inclusion of al is mandatory with the masculine conjugations, the inclusion of e is mandatory with the feminine ones.

Can you say the following in Friulian, using the passât sempliç conjugations you examined above?

  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

Here are the answers:

  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

Here are the answers:

  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, presint indicatîf (present indicative) conjugation of the verb jessi (to be). Its masculine equivalent is al è.

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

jê e je; 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

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

You will remember that lui and can be omitted, but al and e cannot.

al è
he is
e je
she is

Diu al è
God is
la tiere e je
the earth is

al è dì
it is day
e je gnot
it is night

The 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
la tiere e jere vueide
the earth was empty

Here are 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 il madrac, which does not appear in this verse, means snake, serpent.

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

Un vuluç is a void.

The adjective font means deep. Font is the masculine form; fonde is its feminine form.

gnot fonde
deep night
(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 means to flutter; al svualampave is the masculine, third-person singular, imperfet indicatîf.

al svualampave
he; it was fluttering

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, upon, and di has contracted with lis to form des.

lis aghis
parsore di + lis aghis
= parsore des aghis

Verset 3

You will recall the following passât sempliç conjugations:

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, can you now 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

Here are the answers:

  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
(let there be light)

Can you now say the following in Friulian?

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

Here are the answers:

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

Verset 4

The Friulian verb viodi means to see; its masculine, third-person singular, passât sempliç conjugation is al viodè. Its feminine equivalent is e viodè.

Diu al viodè
God saw

l’om al viodè
the man saw

la femine e viodè
the woman saw

The expression lâ ben literally translates as to go well, where the verb means to go, and ben means well. The masculine, third-person singular, imperfet indicatîf conjugation of is al leve. Its feminine equivalent is e leve.

La lûs e leve ben translates literally as the light was going well. In idiomatic English, it is better expressed as the light was good.

The opposite of la lûs (light) is il scûr (darkness).

Can you 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

Here are the answers:

  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, passât sempliç conjugation 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 word for other in Friulian is altri; this is its masculine form. Its feminine form is altre. Take note of its use with chel (masculine) and chê (feminine), meaning that.

chel altri libri
the other book
that other book

chê altre bande
the other side
that other side

You can understand di chê altre bande as meaning to the other side. The text uses di chê altre, without repeating bande.

Verset 5

Il non is a masculine noun meaning name.

il non di dì
the name (of) ‘day’

il non di gnot
the name (of) ‘night’

doi nons
two names

Diu al metè il non di dî a la lûs translates literally as God put the name of ‘day’ to the light, but you will understand it as meaning God called the light ‘day’. Similarly, God called 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’ to the darkness. You will 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 means 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.

la gnot e passà
the night went by

La zornade means day. This is the second word for day that you have encountered; the other is il dì. Zornade emphasises the duration of a day.

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 above, you will notice 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.

la ore
lis oris

l’aghe
lis aghis

You will recall the sentence examined above that read: 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).

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

You will recall that de is a contraction of di + la.

la gnot
di + la gnot
= de gnot

Note how il libri formed its plural the example above:

il libri
i libris

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

The verb plantâ means to place; the reflexive plantâsi means to place oneself.

Diu al plantà
God placed

The firmament is referred to as la volte, which literally means dome.

Diu al plantà la volte dal cîl
God placed the firmament of the heaven

In the example above, di has contracted with il to form dal.

il cîl
di + il cîl
= dal cîl

la volte dal cîl si plantà
the firmament of the heaven placed itself

Can you say in Friulian the creation of the heaven and the earth? Here is the answer: la creazion dal cîl e de tiere.

You will recall the feminine, third-person singular, coniuntîf presint conjugation ch’e sedi, meaning let be. In this verse, you encounter another present subjunctive: che si planti, meaning let place itself.

Il mieç means middle.

tal mieç des aghis
in the middle of the waters

You will 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, coniuntîf presint: ch’e dividi (let divide).

ch’e dividi lis aghis
let (it; her) divide the waters

The feminine singular cheste means this; its plural form chestis means these. The examples below use the feminine nouns l’aghe, la robe, la 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 examples below use again the feminine nouns l’aghe, la robe, la 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

You will recall chê altre bande from the fourth verse. You can now guess its plural form: chês altris bandis. Similarly, in the current verse, you encounter chês altris aghis, expressed simply as 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 examples below 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

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

Diu al fasè
God made

You encounter the verb dividi again, this time in the feminine, third-person singular, presint indicatîf: e divît.

la volte e divît lis aghis
the firmament divides the waters

il flum al divît la citât
the river divides the city

In this verse, you now encounter the feminine, third-person plural, presint indicatîf conjugation of the verb jessi (to be): a son. The masculine conjugation is the same.

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

You have already encountered the usages found in this verse, with the exception of the Friulian word for second: secont (masculine), seconde (feminine).

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)

You will recall the Friulian word for first: prin (masculine), prime (feminine).

la prime zornade
the first day

Carli I (Carli prin)
Charles I (Charles the First)

Verset 9

The verb ingrumâ means to gather, to join; the reflexive ingrumâsi, then, means to gather oneself, to gather together. Che s’ingrumin is the third-person plural, coniuntîf presint.

che s’ingrumin
let (them) gather together

Il teren means ground, land.

The Friulian expression vignî fûr translates as to come forth, where the verb vignî means to come, and fûr means out. Che al vegni is the masculine, third-person singular, coniuntîf presint.

che al vegni fûr
let (it; him) come forth

che al vegni fûr il teren
let the ground come forth

The Friulian dut means all; this is its masculine singular form. Its feminine equivalent is dute. The plural forms are ducj (masculine) and dutis (feminine).

dut il mês
all month
ducj i vivents
all the creatures

dute la vore
all the work
dutis lis aghis
all the waters

Can you now 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

Here are the answers:

  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.

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

This verse mostly contains language that has already been examined in other verses. You will recall that the masculine noun il non means name. A new usage here is the feminine plural adjective ingrumadis (gathered), which is related to the verb ingrumâ encountered in the last verse.

aghis ingrumadis
gathered waters

With ingrumadis as your example, can you guess the masculine singular and plural forms of this adjective? What about the feminine singular?

Here are the four forms:

ingrumât (masculine singular)
ingrumâts (masculine plural)
ingrumade (feminine singular)
ingrumadis (feminine plural)

You will note how a has behaved here 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). Compare:

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 literally means 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

Here are 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; can you nonetheless say the following in Friulian using this tense? You will need to know the following verbs: zuiâ (to play), cjantâ (to sing), pensâ (to think).

  1. he played
  2. he sang
  3. she thought

Here are the answers:

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

You may now wish to consult these posts: