Friulian language series: Gjenesi 4:1-7, Cain e Abêl

This post continues your study of the Friulian language through the book of Genesis; you will now begin your study of the fourth chapter, which tells the story of Cain e Abêl (Cain and Abel). In this post, you will examine verses 1-7. All three posts pertaining to chapter 4 can be found here.

If you are arriving on this site for the first time, begin your study of the Friulian language here.

Read Gjenesi 4:1-7

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 4:1-7. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Verset 1

The first verb you encounter in this fourth chapter is cognossi (to know, to be acquainted with), which you have in fact already come across; however, in this verse, you will understand cognossi in the sense of having carnal knowledge of someone; that is, to have sexual intercouse with someone.

l’om al cognossè Eve
the man knew Eve

You will have recognised al cognossè as being the masculine, third-person singular of the passât sempliç of the verb cognossi.

If necessary, review Friulian possessive adjectives; you find one in this verse with la sô femine (his wife).

You will remember from a previous verse that the masculine chel and the feminine chê can also be used to refer to a person. In this verse, chê refers to la femine; you can understand chê as meaning she.

chê e cjapà sù
she conceived

The expression in the above is cjapâ sù, which you will have understood translates literally as to take up; however, the sense of it here is to conceive, to get pregnant. You will come across this expression again in the third verse, where it takes on a more literal sense.

The text follows with the verb parturî (to give birth to, to bear):

e parturì Cain
she gave birth to Cain
she bore Cain

You encounter the first-person singular of the passât prossim of the verb in this verse, where it takes on the sense of I got, I have gotten:

o ai vût un om
I had; have had a man
I got; have gotten a man

The expression midiant di means through, via, by means of.

midiant dal Signôr
through the Lord
by means of the Lord

Verset 2

Po means then. As for the verb dâ, it means to give; in this verse, you read that Eve also “gave life” to Abel (that is, she also gave birth to Abel). You find the verb used here in the passât sempliç:

i dè la vite ancje a Abêl
she also gave birth to Abel
she also bore Abel

From the above, recall that the Friulian word for life is the feminine la vite. Notice also the combined use of i (to him) and a Abêl (to Abel); you have seen this feature of Friulian numerous times now.

The Friulian for brother is il fradi. Although it does not appear in this verse, learn also the Friulian for sister: la sûr. You now know the Friulian for the following members of a family:

il pari, father
la mari, mother
il fradi, brother
la sûr, sister

The Friulian for sheep is la piore. Un pastôr di pioris, then, is a herder of sheep, shepherd. You will remember that the verb deventâ means to become.

Abêl al deventà pastôr di pioris
Abel became a herder of sheep

Abel was a shepherd, but Cain worked the ground. Al lavorave (he was working) is the masculine, third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb lavorâ (to work); al lavorave can also be understood as meaning he used to work. The imperfet indicatîf highlights the ongoing nature of an action. This distinction is not always observed in English, where the simple past is often used instead (he worked).

Cain al lavorave la tiere
Cain was working the ground
Cain used to work the ground

Verset 3

The verb passâ, as used in this verse, to means to pass, to go by. The Friulian noun il timp means time.

al passà il timp
time went by

In the above, the subject has been shifted to the end; you can understand it as meaning the same as il timp al passà.

The verb capitâ means to happen. As for the verb ufrî, this is the Friulian for to offer.

al capità che
it happened that

Cain i ufrì al Signôr
Cain offered to the Lord

In this verse, you come across the expression cjapâ sù again, which you will remember was used in the first verse above in the sense of to conceive. This time, it is not used in the sense of to conceive but to obtain, to harvest; you will remember that cjapâ sù literally means to take up.

di ce che al cjapave sù de tiere
from that which he harvested from the ground

Al cjapave is the masculine, third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb cjapâ.

Verset 4

The masculine il part can be understood as fledgling; i prins parts, found in this verse, can be understood as firstborns.

The masculine il trop means flock. For example, the Friulian for flock of sheep is un trop di pioris.

Abêl al ufrì i prins parts
Abel offered the firstborns

dal so trop
of his flock

You read that Abel also offered the fat of the sheep: il lôr gras (their fat).

The expression vê a grât can be understood as meaning to be pleased with (or more literally as to have in one’s [good] graces, to have in one’s favour). In this verse, you encounter for the first time the verb used in the masculine, third-person singular of the passât sempliç: al vè.

il Signôr al vè a grât
the Lord had in his good graces
the Lord had in his favour
the Lord was pleased with

il Signôr al vè a grât Abêl
the Lord had Abel in his good graces
the Lord had Abel in his favour
the Lord was pleased with Abel

Not only was God pleased with Abel but also with that which he had offered:

ce che al ufrive
that which he offered
(was offering, used to offer)

Al ufrive is the masculine, third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb ufrî.

Verset 5

The expression cjalâ di bon voli can be understood as meaning to look favourably upon. The verb cjalâ means to look. The Friulian for eye, which you have encountered before, is il voli. Bon voli means good eye; di bon voli, then, which translates literally as of (a) good eye, can be understood as meaning favourably.

nol cjalà di bon voli
he did not look favourably upon

The Friulian for offering is the feminine la ufierte. Ni… ni means neither… nor.

ni Cain ni la sô ufierte
neither Cain nor his offering

(The English would in fact use either… or here instead: he did not look favourably upon either Cain or his offering.)

In this verse, the Friulian cjapâse means to take it badly, where se is a contraction of si and le (cjapâsi + le).

cjapâse (to take it badly)
= cjapâsi + le

se cjape (he takes it badly)
= si + le cjape

se cjapà (he took it badly)
= si + le cjapà

se cjapà un grum a pet
he took it very badly
he took great offence

Il pet means chest. The sense is that he took his offence a pet (“to chest”); that is, he was very affected by it. Un grum translates as very.

Another usage in this verse meaning very is une vore. The verb restâ can be understood in this verse as meaning to end up, to become.

restâ une vore mortificât
to become very crestfallen

Verset 6

Parcè mo means why then.

In this verse, you encounter cjapâse again, this time in the form cjapâte.

cjapâte
= cjapâti + le

te cjapis
= ti + le cjapis

tu te cjapis
te cjapis
you take it badly
you get upset

parcè te cjapistu cussì?
why do you take it badly in this way?
why do you get upset like this?

You will recall the feminine la muse meaning face; here, you can understand it in the sense of expression.

tu tu fasis
tu fasis
you make

parcè fasistu?
why are you making?
why do you make?

chê muse
that expression
that reaction
(literally, that face)

Verset 7

Now would be a good time to review the four forms of the Friulian for good: bon (masculine singular), buine (feminine singular), bogns (masculine plural), buinis (feminine plural).

se tu âs buinis intenzions
if you have good intentions

The second-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb is tu tu vâs.

tu tu vâs
tu vâs
you go

tu no tu vâs
no tu vâs
you do not go

parcè vâstu?
parcè no vâstu?
why do you go?
why do you not go?

You will remember the masculine il cjâf, meaning head. The adjective alt means high.

parcè no vâstu cul cjâf alt?
why do you not go with your head (held) high?

Consult an overview of names for parts of the human head in Friulian.

The adjective trist means wretched, wicked. The Friulian word for heart is il cûr.

se tu âs trist cûr
if you have a wicked heart
(that is, if your intentions are bad)

The Friulian for sin is il pecjât. A number of posts back, you encountered the Friulian for door: la puarte.

tu âs il pecjât su la puarte
you have sin at the door (literally, on the door)

You can understand une bestie scrufuiade as meaning crouching beast; the adjective here is scrufuiât.

The verb bramâ means to desire. Its third-person singular presint indicatîf form is al brame, e brame.

In the final part of this verse, you come across two expressions that you have already encountered numerous times before: vê di and rivâ a.

tu tu âs di
tu âs di
you have to, you must

rivâ a
to manage to
to succeed in

The verb domâ means to control, to master.

tu tu âs di rivâ a domâle
you must manage to master it
you must come to rule it

The le of domâle stands in for la bestie.

The second sentence of verse 7 can be understood as follows: ma se tu âs trist cûr (but if you have a wicked heart), tu âs il pecjât su la puarte ([then] you have sin at the door), une bestie scrufuiade che ti brame (a crouching beast that desires you) ma che tu tu âs di rivâ a domâle (but which you must come to rule over).


Continue your study of chapter 4 of the book of Genesis. There are three parts in total.