Friulian language series: Gjenesi 4, Cain e Abêl

In the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis, Cain kills his brother Abel. This chapter also tells of the lineage of Cain: la dissendence di Cain.

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Verset 1

Vocabulary: un om (man), cognossi (to know), la femine (wife), cjapâ sù (to take up), parturî (to bear), (to say), (to have), midiant di (by way of, through), il Signôr (Lord).

L’om al cognossè Eve, la sô femine: the man knew his wife Eve (the man knew Eve, his wife). The verb cognossi (to know) is used here in the carnal sense of to be intimate with. Al cognossè is its masculine, third-person singular form of the passât sempliç. La sô femine: his wife; because femine is a feminine noun, his wife is expressed as la sô femine. Take another example: il so zardin (his garden); zardin is a masculine noun, thus requiring the use of il so. Il so zardin could also mean her garden or its garden: il so and la sô do not reflect the gender of the subject, but the gender of the thing possessed. Review: Friulian possessive adjectives.

Chê e cjapà sù: she conceived (that one took up). The masculine chel and the feminine chê can be used to refer to a person. In the text of this verse, chê refers to la femine. Cjapâ sù takes a number of different meanings in Friulian; with reference to childbearing, it means to conceive. Taken literally, cjapâ sù translates as to take up.

[Chê] e parturì Cain e e disè: she bore Cain and said. In e e disè, the first e means and: e / e disè (and / she said). Eve says: o ai vût un om (I have gained a man) midiant dal Signôr (by way of the Lord). O ai vût is the first-person singular of the passât prossim of the verb vê. O ai vût can be rendered variously in English as I have got (I got); I have begotten (I begot); I have obtained (I obtained); I have gained (I gained); the sense behind all these is one of coming into possession of a thing (or, as in the text of this verse, a child).

Verset 2

Vocabulary: po (then), la vite (life), dâ la vite (to give birth [life]), ancje (also, too), il fradi (brother), deventâ (to become), il pastôr di pioris (shepherd), la piore (sheep), lavorâ (to work, to till), la tiere (earth, ground).

Po i dè la vite ancje a Abêl, fradi di Cain: then she also gave birth (life) to Abel, Cain’s brother (brother of Cain). The Friulian for life is the feminine vite; it is found here as part of the expression dâ la vite, to be taken as meaning to give birth. E dè is the feminine, third-person singular of the passât sempliç of the verb dâ. In the presence of i (unto him), the atonic e is not expressed. Observe: e dè (she gave); i dè (she gave to him); i dè la vite a Abêl (she gave birth [life] to Abel). Related vocabulary: il pari (father); la mari (mother); il fi (son), la fie (daughter), il fradi (brother); la sûr (sister).

The Friulian for sheep is the feminine piore. Un pastôr di pioris, then, is a herder of sheep, a shepherd (or a “pastor of sheep,” where pastor takes its older meaning of shepherd). You read: Abêl al deventà pastôr di pioris (Abel became a shepherd). As for Cain, he tilled the ground: Cain al lavorave la tiere (Cain tilled [was working; used to work] the ground. Al lavorave is the masculine, third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb lavorâ (to work); al lavorave conveys he was working; he used to work. The imperfet indicatîf expresses the ongoing nature of an action in the past. Where Friulian uses the imperfet indicatîf, English very often opts instead for the simple past (he worked), but with the undertanding that the action was ongoing.

Versets 3-4

Vocabulary: passâ (to pass, to go by, to elapse), il timp (time), capitâ (to happen, to occur, to come to pass), ufrî (to offer), il Signôr (Lord), di ce che (from that which), cjapâ sù (to take up), la tiere (earth, ground), ancje (also, too), prin (first), il part (fledgling), il prin part (firstborn), il trop (flock), il gras (fat), vê a grât (to have in one’s favour).

Verse 3: Al passà il timp: time went by. The subject (il timp) has been shifted to the end; al passà il timp has the same meaning as il timp al passà. The text continues: e al capità che (and it came to pass that) Cain i ufrì al Signôr (Cain offered to the Lord) di ce che al cjapave sù de tiere (from that which he was harvesting [taking up] from the ground). In verse 1, cjapâ sù (literally, to take up) took the sense of to conceive; in the text of the current verse, it is used in the sense of to harvest, to gather. Al cjapave is the masculine, third-person singular form of the imperfet indicatîf.

Verse 4: Ancje Abêl al ufrì i prins parts dal so trop e il lôr gras: Abel, for his part (Abel too) offered the firstlings of his flock and their fat. Consider: il so gras (his fat; her fat; its fat); il lôr gras (their fat). Vê a grât can be taken as meaning to have in one’s favour, to be pleased with. You read: e il Signôr al vè a grât Abêl (and the Lord had Abel in his favour) e ce che al ufrive (and that which he offered [was offering]). Al ufrive is the masculine, third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb ufrî.

Versets 5-6

Vocabulary: ma (but), cjalâ (to look upon), bon (good), il voli (eye), cjalâ di bon voli (to look favourably upon), no… ni… ni (neither… nor… nor), la ufierte (offering), il pet (chest, bosom), cjapâse (to become upset), cjapâse a pet (to take it to heart, to take it badly), un grum (greatly, very much), restâ (to remain, to be left), une vore (greatly, very much), mortificât (crestfallen), il Signôr (Lord), (to say), parcè mo (why ever), cussì (thus, so), (to make, to do), la muse (face).

Verse 5: Ma nol cjalà di bon voli ni Cain ni la sô ufierte: but he did not look favourably upon either Cain or his offering; but he looked favourably upon neither Cain nor his offering. The masculine pet is the Friulian for chest, bosom; cjapâse a pet (literally, to take it to one’s chest [bosom]) can be understood as meaning to take it badly, to take it to heart. You read: Cain se cjapà un grum a pet (Cain took it greatly to heart [bosom]) e al restà une vore mortificât (and became [and remained] terribly crestfallen). Consider the following: cjapâse (= cjapâsi + le); se cjape (= si + le cjape); se cjapà (= si + le cjapà).

Verse 6: Il Signôr i disè a Cain (the Lord said to Cain): parcè mo te cjapistu cussì (why ever are you upset so) e fasistu chê muse? (and put on such a face [make that face]?). Consider the following: cjapâte (= cjapâti + le); tu te cjapis (= tu ti + le cjapis; you get upset; you are getting upset); parcè te cjapistu cussì? (why are you getting upset like this?). Taken literally, cjapâse translates as to take it unto oneself (cjapâ [to take] + si [unto oneself] + le [it]); that is, to get upset, to become angered. Consider also: tu tu fasis; tu fasis (you make); parcè fasistu? (why do you make?).

Versets 7-8

Vocabulary: se (if), (to have), bon (good), la intenzion (intention), parcè no (why not), (to go, to walk about), cun (with), il cjâf (head), alt (high), ma (but), trist (wicked, wretched), il cûr (heart), il pecjât (sin), la puarte (door), la bestie (beast), scrufuiât (crouched, huddled), bramâ (to desire), vê di (must, to have to), rivâ a (to manage to, to succeed in), domâ (to dominate, to master), alore (so, then), barufâ (to argue), il fradi (brother), cuant che (when), plen (full), la campagne (open, country), butâsi (to throw oneself), cuintri di (against), copâ (to kill).

Verse 7: God says to Cain: se tu âs buinis intenzions (if you have good intentions), parcè no vâstu cul cjâf alt? (why do you not walk about [go] with your head held high [with your head high]?). He continues: 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 (a crouching beast [a crouched beast]) che ti brame (that desires you) ma che tu tu âs di rivâ a domâle (but which you must come to master). In buinis intenzions, buinis is the feminine plural form of the adjective bon (good). Review: bon (masculine singular); buine (feminine singular); bogns (masculine plural); buinis (feminine plural). Consider the following: tu tu vâs; tu vâs (you go); tu no tu vâs; no tu vâs (you do not go); parcè vâstu? (why do you go?); parcè no vâstu? (why do you not go?); parcè no vâstu cul cjâf alt? (why do you not walk about [go] with your head held high [with your head high]?). Consult: Parts of the human head in Friulian. Consider also: domâ (to master); rivâ a domâ (to succeed in mastering); vê di rivâ a domâ (to have to succeed in mastering); tu tu âs di rivâ a domâle (you have to succeed in mastering it). The le of domâle stands in for the feminine bestie.

Verse 8: Alore Cain al barufà cun so fradi Abêl (then Cain argued with his brother Abel) e, cuant che a jerin in plene campagne (and when they were out in the open [in full country]), Cain si butà cuintri di so fradi Abêl (Cain threw himself against his brother Abel) e lu copà (and killed him).

Verset 9

Vocabulary: il Signôr (Lord), domandâ (to ask), dulà (where), il fradi (brother), rispuindi (to respond), volê (to want), savê (to know), il vuardean (guardian; also vuardian).

Il Signôr i domandà a Cain: the Lord asked Cain. In Friulian, a question is asked unto someone: il Signôr / i domandà a Cain (the Lord / asked unto Cain). The Lord asks: dulà esal to fradi Abêl? (where is your brother Abel?). Observe: al è (he is); isal? (is he?; interrogative form); dulà isal? (where is he?). Esal is a variant of the interrogative isal: dulà esal? (where is he?). Supplementary examples of isal (esal) taken from the Bible: cui esal stât? (Judiçs 15:6; who was it?); esal ancjemò vîf gno pari? (Gjenesi 45:3; is my father still alive?); cuâl isal il pecjât di Jacop? (Michee 1:5; what is Jacob’s sin?); isal cualchidun ch’al scolte? (Salms 59:8; is there anyone who is listening?).

I rispuindè: he responded to him. Cain says: ce vûstu che o sepi jo? (how should I know? [what do you want that I know?]). Observe: tu tu vûs; tu vûs (you want); ce vûstu? (what do you want?). Observe also: jo o sai; o sai (I know); ce vûstu che o sepi jo? (what do you want that I know?). O sepi is the first-person singular of the coniuntîf presint of the verb savê; the subjunctive is required after volê che.

Cain also says: sojo jo il vuardean di gno fradi? (am I my brother’s guardian?). Observe: jo o soi; o soi (I am); soio jo? (am I?). Sojo is a spelling variant of the interrogative soio; both soio and sojo take the same pronunciation. Review: Present indicative of the verb jessi. The present indicative conjugation of the verbs volê and savê is presented below.

Verb: VOLÊ
Presint indicatîf
Present indicative

o vuei
tu vuelis
tu vûs

al vûl

e vûl

o volìn
o volês
a vuelin

Verb: SAVÊ
Presint indicatîf
Present indicative

o sai
tu sâs
al sa

e sa

o savìn
o savês
a san

Versets 10-13

Vocabulary: dissal (he said), il Signôr (Lord), (to do, to make), sintî (to hear), il sanc (blood), il fradi (brother), berlâ (to cry out), la tiere (earth, ground), viers di (towards), di chi indenant (from now on, henceforth), maludît (cursed, damned), parâ fûr (to drive out), chest (this), bon (good), spalancâ (to open wide), la bocje (mouth), supâ (to soak up, to absorb), lavorâ (to work, to till), butâ (to produce), plui nuie (nothing more), il torseon (wanderer, vagabond), tocjâi a (to be required of one), scjampâ (to flee), alore (so, then), (to say), tant (so, very), grant (great, big, large), il pecjât (sin), podê (can, to be able), perdonâ (to pardon, to forgive).

Verse 10: Dissal il Signôr: the Lord said. Ce âstu fat mo?: what ever have you done? O sint is the first-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb sintî. The Lord also says: o sint (I hear) il sanc di to fradi (the blood of your brother) che al berle (that cries out) de tiere (from the ground) viers di me (unto me [towards me]).

Verse 11: Di chi indenant (henceforth) tu sarâs maludît (you shall be cursed) e parât fûr (and driven out) di cheste tiere buine (from this good ground) ch’e à spalancade la sô bocje (which opened wide its mouth) par supâ il sanc di to fradi (to soak up your brother’s blood). Taken literally, di chi indenant translates as from here forwards; from here ahead; that is, from now on, henceforth. Of chest, review the four forms: chest (masculine singular); cheste (feminine singular); chescj (masculine plural); chestis (feminine plural). Examples: chest om (this man); chescj oms (these men); cheste femine (this woman); chestis feminis (these women).

Verse 12: Se tu lavoris la tiere (if you till [work] the ground), no ti butarà plui nuie (it will yield you nothing more [unto you it will produce nothing more]): tu sarâs un torseon (you will be a wanderer) e ti tocjarà di scjampâ su la tiere (and you will have to flee on earth). Tocjâi a: to be required of one; to be reserved for one; to fall to one’s lot.

Verse 13: Alore Cain i disè al Signôr: then Cain said to the Lord. Cain asks: esal tant grant il gno pecjât (is my sin so great) di no podêlu perdonâ? (as to be unable to pardon it [not to be able to pardon it]?). Note the position of lu (it) in di no podêlu perdonâ; in the presence of podê, lu can shift from its usual position (perdonâlu, to pardon it) to the end of podê: podêlu perdonâ (to be able to pardon it). Of grant, review the four forms: grant (masculine singular); grande (feminine singular); grancj (masculine plural); grandis (feminine plural). Supplementary examples of grant: gno fradi grant (my big brother; my elder brother); o ai un fradi plui grant (I have an older brother); e à une sûr plui grande (she has an older sister); trop grant isal? (how big is it?).

Versets 14-16

Vocabulary: ve (now it is that), cumò (now), parâ fûr (to drive out), la tiere (ground, land), scugnî (must, to have to), platâsi (to hide oneself), lontan di (far from, away from), il voli (eye), biât (sorry, poor), il torseon (wanderer, vagabond), vê di (must, to have to), scjampâ (to flee), simpri (always), ma (but), prin (first), cjatâ (to meet), copâ (to kill), rispuindi (to respond), il Signôr (Lord), che anzit (on the contrary), se (if), un ({any}one), maçâ (to kill), (to make, to do), paiâ (to pay), siet (seven), il viaç (time), meti (to put, to place), il segnâl (sign, signal, mark), in mût che (so that, in order that), lâ a stâ (to go to dwell), in face di (facing).

Verse 14: Ve: cumò tu mi paris fûr di cheste tiere (now it is that you now drive me from this ground) e o scugnarai platâmi (and I shall have to hide myself) lontan dai tiei vôi (away from your eyes) e o sarai un biât torseon (and I shall be a sorry wanderer) che al varà di scjampâ simpri (who shall always have to flee); ma il prin che mi cjatarà mi coparà (but the first who meets me [will meet me] will kill me).

Verse 15: I rispuindè il Signôr (the Lord responded to him). The Lord objects by saying: chest po no (not so). He continues: che anzit (on the contrary), se un al mace Cain (if anyone kills Cain [if one kills Cain]), je fasarai paiâ siet viaçs (I will make him pay for it sevenfold [seven times]). Je is a contraction of i + le (unto him + it); taken literally: je / fasarai / paiâ / siet viaçs (unto him + it / I will make / to pay / seven times). The text continues: e il Signôr (and the Lord) i metè a Cain un segnâl (put a mark on Cain [put unto Cain a sign]), in mût che (in order that) chel che lu varès cjatât (whosoever met him [he who would have met him]) no lu varès copât (would not kill him [would not have killed him]). Consider the following, using the condizionâl passât: al varès cjatât; lu varès cjatât (he would have met; he would have met him); al varès copât; lu varès copât (he would have killed; he would have killed him); no varès copât; no lu varès copât (he would not have killed; he would not have killed him).

Verse 16: Cain al scjampà (Cain fled) dai vôi dal Signôr (from the eyes of the Lord) e al lè a stâ (and went to dwell) te tiere di Not (in the land of Nod), in face dal Eden (facing Eden). Al lè is the masculine, third-person singular of the passât sempliç of the verb lâ. Stâ takes the sense of to stay, to dwell in lâ a stâ (to go to dwell).

Versets 17-22

Vocabulary: cognossi (to know), la femine (wife), cjapâ sù (to take up), parturî (to bear), fâ sù (to build), il paîs (village), meti (to put), il non (name), il fi (son), al à vût (he begot), maridâsi (to get married), doi (two), la volte (time), prin (first), vê non (to be named), secont (second), il pari (father), chei che (those who), vivi (to live, to dwell), sot (under, below), la tende (tent), tignî (to keep, to maintain), la mandrie (herd, flock), il fradi (brother), sunâ (to sound, to play {an instrument}), la citare (kithara), il strument (instrument), il flât (breath), invezit (on the other hand, as for), insegnâ (to teach, to instruct), lavorâ (to work), il mistîr (skill, trade), il ram (copper), il fier (iron), la sûr (sister).

Verse 17: Cain al cognossè la sô femine (Cain knew his wife), ch’e cjapà sù (who conceived [took up]) e e parturì Enoc (and bore Enoch). Al fasè sù un paîs: he built a village. I metè al paîs il non di so fi Enoc: he named the village after his son Enoch (he put unto the village the name of his son Enoch). Consider the following (absence of definite article with family members in the singular): so fi (his son; her son); so pari (his father; her father); sô fie (his daughter; her daughter); sô mari (his mother; her mother); gno fradi (my brother); mê sûr (my sister). Now consider the following (inclusion of definite article with family members in the plural): i miei fîs (my sons); i miei fradis (my brothers); lis mês fiis (my daughters); lis sôs sûrs (his sisters; her sisters); lis tôs sûrs (your sisters); i lôr paris (their fathers). Note that om (husband) and femine take the definite article in both singular and plural: la sô femine (his wife); la mê femine (my wife); il so om (her husband); il gno om (my husband); lis sôs feminis (his wives); lis mês feminis (my wives); i lôr oms (their husbands). Review: Friulian possessive adjectives.

Verse 18: Enoc al à vût Irad: Enoch begot Irad. Other names in this verse: Mecuiael (Mehujael); Matusael (Methusael); Lamec (Lamech).

Verse 19: Lamec si maridà dôs voltis: Lamech married twice (two times). La prime femine e veve non Ade: the first wife was named Adah (was having {the} name Adah). La seconde [e veve non] Sile: the second was named Zillah. The Friulian for two is doi (masculine) or dôs (feminine): doi libris (two books); doi oms (two men); dôs feminis (two women); dôs voltis (two times). Of prin (first) and secont (second), observe the four forms: prin (masculine singular); prins (masculine plural); prime (feminine singular); primis (feminine plural); secont (masculine singular); seconts (masculine plural); seconde (feminine singular); secondis (feminine plural).

Verse 20: Ade e à vût Jabal: Adah bore Jabal. The masculine al à vût is taken as he begot, whereas the feminine e a vût is taken as she bore. The text continues: al è stât lui il pari (he was the father [it was he the father]) di chei che a vivin sot de tende (of those who dwell in tents [under the tent]) e che a tegnin mandrie (and who keep herds).

Verse 21: So fradi al veve non Jubal (his brother was named Jubal [was having {the} name Jubal]): al è stât lui il pari (he was the father [it was he the father]) di ducj chei che a sunin la citare (of all those who play the kithara) e i struments a flât (and wind instruments). A sunin is the third-person plural of the presint indicatîf of the verb sunâ. Sunâ (to sound) is taken as meaning to play when used with the name of an instrument: sunâ un strument (to play an instrument); sunâ la ghitare (to play the guitar). The masculine flât is the Friulian for breath; un strument a flât means wind instrument.

Verse 22: Sile invezit (as for Zillah) e à vût Tubalcain (she bore Tubal-Cain), che al à insegnât par prin (who first taught) a lavorâ cun mistîr ({how} to work with skill) il ram e il fier (copper and iron); for clarity: as for Zillah, she bore Tubal-Cain, who was the first to teach men how to work copper and iron with skill. La sûr di Tubalcain e veve non Naame: Tubal-Cain’s sister was named Naamah.

Versets 23-26

Vocabulary: (to say), la femine (wife), scoltâ (to listen, to heed), tignî a ments (to bear in mind, to remember), la peraule (word), copâ (to kill), un om (man), la feride (wound), il frut (boy, lad), la macjadure (bruise), svindicât (avenged), siet (seven), la volte (time), ma (but), setantesiet (seventy-seven), cognossi (to know), un’altre volte (again, once more), parturî (to bear), meti non (to name), parcè che (because, for), Diu (God), dâ la gracie di (to make the concession of), la vite (life), impen di (in place of), ancje (also, too), al à vût (he begot), prin (first), clamâ (to call), il non (name), il Signôr (Lord).

Verse 23: Lamec ur disè a lis sôs feminis: Lamech said to his wives; ur means unto them and is expressed even in the presence of a lis sôs feminis. Lamech says: Ade e Sile (Adah and Zillah), scoltait ce che us dîs (heed that which I say to you), feminis di Lamec (wives of Lamech), tignît a ments lis mês peraulis (remember [keep in mind] my words): jo o ai copât un om par une feride (I have killed a man because of a wound [for a wound]), un frut par une macjadure (a lad because of a bruise [for a bruise]). Tignît is the second-person plural imperative of the verb tignî (to keep). The Friulian for mind is the feminine ment. Review: Friulian direct and indirect object pronouns (such as ur and us found in the text of this verse).

Verse 24: Cain al sarà svindicât siet voltis (Cain shall be avenged seven times), ma Lamec setantesiet voltis (but Lamech seventy-seven times).

Verse 25: Adam al cognossè un’altre volte la sô femine (Adam once more knew his wife), che i parturì un frut (who bore a son [boy]) e i metè non Set (and named him Seth [put unto him {the} name Seth]). Eve explains the meaning of the name: parcè che […] Diu mi à dade la gracie (because God has made me the concession) di un’altre vite (of another birth [life]) impen di Abêl (in place of Abel) che mal à copât Cain (whom Cain killed on me). Mal is a contraction of mi + lu (unto me + him), where lu stands in for Abêl: che (whom) mal (unto me + him) à copât Cain (Cain killed); that is, whom Cain killed on me.

Verse 26: Ancje Set al à vût un frut (Seth in turn begot a son [Seth also begot a boy]) e i metè non Enos (and named him Enosh [put unto him {the} name Enosh]). Al è stât lui il prin a clamà il non dal Signôr: he was the first (it was he the first) to call upon the name of the Lord.