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, and of the worship of the Lord: il cult dal Signôr.

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Verset 1

L’om al cognossè Eve, la sô femine (the man knew his wife Eve); chê e cjapà sù (that one conceived [took up]) e e parturì Cain (and bore Cain) e e disè (and said): o ai vût un om (I have gained a man) midiant dal Signôr (by way of the Lord).

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

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; for 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, wherefore the use of il so is required. 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 noun gender of the thing possessed. Review: Friulian possessive adjectives.

Chê e cjapà sù: that one conceived [took up]. The masculine chel and the feminine chê may 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.

E e disè: The first e means and, whereas the second is the atonic pronoun meaning she. Consider: e jê e disè (and she said), which may also be expressed as e e disè (and {she} said).

O ai vût un om: I have gained a man. O ai vût is the first-person singular of the passât prossim of the verb vê. O ai vût takes on the sense here of I have gained.

Verset 2

Po i dè la vite ancje a Abêl (then she also gave life to Abel), fradi di Cain (Cain’s brother). Abêl al deventà pastôr di pioris (Abel became a pastor of sheep) e Cain al lavorave la tiere (and Cain would work the earth).

Vocabulary: po (then), la vite (life), dâ la vite (to give life), ancje (also), il fradi (brother), deventâ (to become), il pastôr (pastor), lis pioris (sheep), lavorâ (to work), la tiere (earth).

Dâi la vite a un: to give life to a one, which is to say, to give birth to a one. I dè la vite a Abel: she gave life to Abel, or less literally: she gave birth to Abel.

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 life to Abel). Related vocabulary: il pari (father); la mari (mother); il fi (son); la fie (daughter); il fradi (brother); la sûr (sister).

Pioris is the plural of the feminine piore. Un pastôr di pioris (pastor of sheep) is a shepherd; here the English pastor takes its older sense of shepherd.

Al lavorave is the masculine, third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb lavorâ (to work). The imperfet indicatîf expresses the ongoing nature of an action in the past. Al lavorave la tiere: he would work the earth.

Versets 3-4

Al passà il timp (time passed by) e al capità che Cain (and it came to pass that Cain) i ufrì al Signôr (offered to the Lord) di ce che al cjapave sù de tiere (from that which he would harvest [take up] from the earth); ancje Abêl al ufrì i prins parts dal so trop (also Abel offered the firstlings of his flock) e il lôr gras (and their fat). E il Signôr al vè a grât (and the Lord did have in favour) Abêl e ce che al ufrive (Abel and that which he would offer).

Vocabulary: passâ (to pass {by}), il timp (time), capitâ (to come to pass), ufrî (to offer), il Signôr (the Lord), di ce che (from that which), cjapâ sù (to take up), la tiere (earth), prin (first), il part (fledgling), il prin part (firstling), il trop (flock), il gras (fat), vê a grât (to have in favour).

Al passà il timp: time passed by. The subject (il timp) has been shifted to the end; al passà il timp takes the same meaning as il timp al passà.

Di ce che al cjapave sù de tiere: from that which he would harvest [take up] from the earth. In verse 1, cjapâ sù (literally, to take up) took the sense of to conceive; now it is used in the sense of to harvest. Al cjapave is the masculine, third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb cjapâ.

Consider: il so gras (his fat; her fat; its fat); il lôr gras (their fat).

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), no… ni… ni (neither… nor… nor), la ufierte (offering), cjapâse (to take it unto oneself), il pet (breast), un grum (much), restâ (to remain), une vore (very), mortificât (crestfallen), il Signôr (the Lord), (to say), parcè mo (why then), cussì (so), (to make), la muse (face).

Verse 5: Ma nol cjalà di bon voli ni Cain ni la sô ufierte: but he looked of good eye upon neither Cain nor his offering. Cain se cjapà un grum a pet (Cain took it unto himself much to breast) e al restà une vore mortificât (and remained very crestfallen). — To ‘take it unto oneself much to breast’ is to take a thing very badly indeed. Consider: 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 then takest thou it unto thyself so) e fasistu chê muse? (and makest thou that face?). — Consider: cjapâte (= cjapâti + le); tu te cjapis (= tu ti + le cjapis; thou takest it unto thyself); parcè te cjapistu cussì? (why takest thou it unto thyself so?). Consider also: [tu] tu fasis (thou makest); parcè fasistu? (why makest thou?).

Versets 7-8

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

Verse 7: Se tu âs buinis* intenzions (if thou hast good intentions), parcè no vâstu+ cul cjâf alt? (why goest thou not about with thy head {carried} high?). Ma se tu âs trist cûr (but if thou hast a wicked heart), tu âs il pecjât su la puarte (thou hast sin at the door), une bestie scrufuiade (a crouched beast) che ti brame (which covets thee) ma che tu tu âs di rivâ a domâle¬ (but which thou must be able to master). — *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 (thou goest); tu no tu vâs; no tu vâs (thou goest not); parcè vâstu? (why goest thou?); parcè no vâstu? (why goest thou not?); parcè no vâstu cul cjâf alt? (why goest thou not about with thy head {carried} high?). Consult: Parts of the human head in Friulian. ¬Observe: domâ (to master); rivâ a domâ (to be able to master); vê di rivâ a domâ (must be able to master); tu tu âs di rivâ a domâle (thou must be able to master it); che tu tu âs di rivâ a domâle (which thou must be able to master). The le of domâle stands in for the feminine bestie and is not carried over into the English, for English resolves this by way of the use of which.

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

Verset 9

Il Signôr i domandà a Cain (the Lord asked Cain): dulà esal to fradi Abêl? (where is thy brother Abel?). I rispuindè (he responded to him): ce vûstu che o sepi jo (what wilt thou that I know?). Sojo jo il vuardean di gno fradi?: am I my brother’s guardian?

Vocabulary: il Signôr (the Lord), domandâ (to ask), dulà (where), il fradi (brother), rispuindi (to respond), volê (to will), savê (to know), il vuardean (guardian).

Il Signôr i domandà a Cain: the Lord asked Cain. In Friulian, a question is asked unto a one: il Signôr / i domandà a Cain (the Lord / asked unto Cain).

Dulà esal to fradi Abêl?: where is thy brother Abel? Observe: al è (he is); esal? (is he?; interrogative form); dulà esal? (where is he?). Esal is also expressed as isal: dulà isal? (where is he?). From Gjenesi 45:3, another example: esal ancjemò vîf gno pari? (is my father yet living?).

Ce vûstu che o sepi jo: what wilt thou that I know? Observe: tu tu vûs or tu vûs (thou wilt); ce vûstu? (what wilt thou?). Observe now: jo o sai or o sai (I know); tu vûs che o sepi (thou wilt that I know); ce vûstu che o sepi jo? (what wilt thou 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. The tonic jo is employed for stress: ce vûstu che o sepi jo? (what wilt thou that I know?).

Sojo jo il vuardean di gno fradi?: am I my brother’s guardian? Observe: jo o soi or 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 (the Lord), (to do), sintî (to hear), il sanc (blood), il fradi (brother), berlâ (to cry forth), la tiere (earth), viers di (unto), di chi indenant (henceforth), maludît (cursed), parâ fûr (to drive forth), chest (this), bon (good), spalancâ (to spread open), la bocje (mouth), supâ (to soak up), lavorâ (to work), butâ (to cast), plui nuie (not a thing more), il torseon (wanderer), tocjâi a (to fall to the lot of), scjampâ (to flee), alore (then), (to say), tant (so), grant (great), il pecjât (sin), podê (to be able), perdonâ (to pardon).

Verse 10: Dissal il Signôr (the Lord said): ce âstu fat mo? (what ever hast thou done?). O sint (I hear) il sanc di to fradi (the blood of thy brother) che al berle (which cries forth) de tiere (from the earth) viers di me (unto me).O sint is the first-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb sintî.

Verse 11: *Di chi indenant* (henceforth) tu sarâs maludît (thou shalt be cursed) e parât fûr (and driven forth) di cheste+ tiere buine (from this good earth) ch’e à spalancade la sô bocje (which spread open its mouth) par supâ il sanc di to fradi (to soak up the blood of thy brother). — *Di chi indenant translates word-for-word as from here forwards, which is to say, 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 thou workest the earth), no ti butarà plui nuie (it shall put forth [cast] to thee not a thing more): tu sarâs un torseon (thou shalt be a wanderer) e ti tocjarà di scjampâ su la tiere (and it shall fall to thy lot to flee on the earth).

Verse 13: Alore Cain i disè al Signôr (then Cain said to the Lord): esal tant grant* il gno pecjât (is my sin so great) di no podêlu+ perdonâ? (as not 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 great brother); o ai un fradi plui grant (I have a greater brother); e à une sûr plui grande (she has a greater sister); trop grant isal? (how great is it?). +Note the position of lu (it) in di no podêlu perdonâ. In the presence of podê, lu may shift to the end of that verb; consider: perdonâlu (to pardon it); podêlu perdonâ (to be able to pardon it).

Versets 14-16

Vocabulary: cumò (now), parâ fûr (to drive forth), la tiere (earth, land), scugnî (to have to), platâsi (to hide oneself), lontan di (far from), il voli (eye), biât (sorry), il torseon (wanderer), vê di (to have to), scjampâ (to flee), simpri (ever), ma (but), prin (first), cjatâ (to find), copâ (to kill), rispuindi (to respond), il Signôr (the Lord), che anzit (what is more), se (if), un (a one), maçâ (to slay), (to make), paiâ (to pay), siet (seven), un viaç (one time), meti (to put), il segnâl (sign), in mût che ({in order} that), lâ a stâ (to go to dwell), in face di (in face of).

Verse 14: Ve: cumò tu mi paris fûr di cheste tiere (so it is that thou now drivest me forth from this earth) e o scugnarai platâmi (and I shall have to hide myself) lontan dai tiei vôi (far from thine eyes) e o sarai un biât torseon (and shall be a sorry wanderer) che al varà di scjampâ simpri (who shall ever have to flee); ma il prin che mi cjatarà mi coparà (but the first who finds [will find] me will kill me).

Verse 15: I rispuindè il Signôr (the Lord responded to him): chest po no (not ever so). Che anzit (what is more), se un al mace Cain (if a one slays Cain), je* fasarai paiâ siet viaçs (I will make him pay for it seven times). E il Signôr i metè a Cain un segnâl (and the Lord put unto Cain a sign), in mût che chel che lu varès cjatât no lu varès copât (+that that one who might find him should not kill him+). — *Je is a contraction of i + le (unto him + it); taken apart: je / fasarai / paiâ / siet viaçs (unto him + it / I will make / pay / seven times), which is to say, I will make him pay for it seven times. +The Friulian employs the condizionâl passât where the English reads might find and should not kill.

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 (in face of Eden).Al lè is the masculine, third-person singular of the passât sempliç of the verb lâ. Stâ takes the sense of 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 rear), il paîs (village), meti (to put), il non (name), il fi (son), al à vût (he begot), maridâsi (to get married), doi (two), une volte (one time), prin (first), secont (second), il pari (father), chei che (those who), vivi (to live), sot di (under), la tende (tent), tignî (to keep), la mandrie (herd), il fradi (brother), sunâ (to sound), il strument (instrument), sunâ un strument (to play an instrument), la citare (kithara), il flât (breath), invezit (as for), insegnâ (to instruct), lavorâ (to work), il mistîr (skill), 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 reared a village) e i metè al paîs (and put unto the village) il non di so fi Enoc (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 brethren); lis mês fiis (my daughters); lis sôs sûrs (his sisters; her sisters); lis tôs sûrs (thy 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), e Irad al à vût Mecuiael (and Irad begot Mehujael), e Mecuiael al à vût Matusael (and Mehujael begot Methushael), e Matusael al à vût Lamec (and Methushael begot Lamech).

Verse 19: Lamec si maridà dôs* voltis (Lamech got married twice): la prime+ femine e veve non Ade (the first wife had for name Adah) e la seconde+ Sile (and the second 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; twice). +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): al è stât lui il pari (it was he the father) di chei che a vivin sot de tende (of those who live under the tent) e che a tegnin mandrie (and who keep herd). — *The masculine al à vût (see verse 18) is read as he begot, whereas the feminine e a vût is read as she bore.

Verse 21: So fradi al veve non Jubal (his brother had for name Jubal): al è stât lui il pari (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 read as 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 instructed) a lavorâ cun mistîr il ram e il fier ({how} to work copper and iron with skill); la sûr di Tubalcain e veve non Naame (Tubal-Cain’s sister had for name Naamah).

Versets 23-26

Vocabulary: (to say), la femine (wife), scoltâ (to hearken), tignî a ments (to keep in mind), la peraule (word), copâ (to kill), un om (man), la feride (wound), il frut (lad), la macjadure (bruise), svindicât (avenged), siet (seven), une volte (one time), ma (but), setantesiet (seventy-seven), cognossi (to know), un’altre volte (another time), parturî (to bear), meti (to put), il non (name), parcè che (for), Diu (God), (to give), la gracie (grace), la vite (life), impen di (in place of), ancje (also), al à vût (he begot), prin (first), clamâ (to call), il Signôr (the Lord).

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

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 knew another time his wife), che i parturì un frut (who bore to him a male child) e i metè non Set (and {who} put unto him the name Seth) parcè che (for), e disè (she said), Diu mi à dade la gracie (God has given me the grace) di un’altre vite (of another 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 (that) mal (unto me + him) à copât Cain (Cain killed), which is to say, whom Cain killed on me. The direct object of mal is not transferred over into the English, as English resolves this by way of the use of whom.

Verse 26: Ancje Set al à vût un frut (Seth also begot a male child) e i metè non Enos (and put unto him the name Enosh). Al è stât lui (it was he) il prin a clamà il non dal Signôr (the first to call the name of the Lord).