Friulian language series: Gjenesi 11, torate di Babêl

The eleventh chapter of the book of Genesis tells of: la torate di Babêl (the tower of Babel); la dissendence benedide di Sem (the blessed lineage of Shem); la dissendence di Terac (the lineage of Terah).

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Read Gjenesi 11

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 11. An archived version of the text is found here.

Verset 1

Dut il mont (all the world) al fevelave la stesse lenghe (used to speak the same tongue) e al doprave lis stessis peraulis (and would use the same words).

Vocabulary: dut (all), il mont (world), fevelâ (to speak), stes (same), la lenghe (tongue), doprâ (to use), la peraule (word).

The verb fevelâ is employed here in its masculine, third-person singular form of the imperfet indicatîf, which is al fevelave. The imperfet indicatîf conveys the ongoing nature of an action in the past. Consider the following: al fevelave (he was speaking; he used to speak); al fevelà (he spoke); al à fevelât (he has spoken; he spoke).

The verb doprâ means to use. This verb, too, is found in its masculine, third-person singular form of the imperfet indicatîf, which is al doprave. Whereas I have rendered al fevelave as used to speak, al doprave has been rendered as would use; both these are ways of rendering the imperfet indicatîf. Note that the use of would here is not of the conditional but of the habitual past.

Stes is the Friulian for same. Consider these examples: il stes risultât (the same result); i stes risultâts (the same results); la stesse lenghe (the same tongue); lis stessis lenghis (the same tongues).

The verb fevelâ is conjugated below in the imperfet indicatîf. For this tense, the student may use this conjugation as a model for infinitives ending in â.

Verb: FEVELÂ
Imperfet indicatîf
Imperfect indicative

affirmative
interrogative
jo
o fevelavi
fevelavio?
tu
tu fevelavis
fevelavistu?
lui
al fevelave
fevelavial?

e fevelave
fevelavie?

o fevelavin
fevelavino?
vualtris
o fevelavis
fevelaviso?
lôr
a fevelavin
fevelavino?

Verset 2

Cuant che i oms si plaçarin a soreli jevât (when men placed themselves in the east), a rivarin tune concje (they arrived in a basin) de tiere di Senaar (of the land of Shinar) e si fermarin li (and halted themselves there).

Vocabulary: cuant che (when), i oms (men), plaçâsi (to place oneself), il soreli (sun), jevâ (to arise), a soreli jevât (in the east), rivâ (to arrive), la concje (basin), la tiere (land), fermâsi (to halt oneself), li (there).

Soreli jevât (literally, arisen sun) was also found in Gjenesi 2:8. In the text of the current verse, a soreli jevât is read in the east.

Tune (also intune) is a contraction of in + une. A rivarin tune concje: they arrived in a basin.

Verset 3

Si diserin un cul altri (they said to one another): dai (come), metìnsi a fâ modons (let us put ourselves to making bricks) e a cueiju tal fûc (and to cooking them in fire). A dopravin il modon impen dal clap (they would use brick in place of stone) e il catram impen de malte (and pitch in place of mortar).

Vocabulary: (to say), dîsi un cul altri (to say to one another), dai (come), metisi (to put oneself), (to make), il modon (brick), cuei (to cook), ju (them), il fûc (fire), doprâ (to use), impen di (in place of), il clap (stone), il catram (pitch), la malte (mortar).

The verb meti means to put; the reflexive metisi means to put oneself. For instance, to put oneself to work is rendered in Friulian as metisi a lavorâ. Metisi a fâ modons translates as to put oneself to making bricks, where the sense of to put oneself to is to take to, as in to take to making bricks. Metìn is the first-person plural imperative of the verb meti; its reflexive equivalent is metìnsi. Observe: metìn (let us put); metìnsi (let us put ourselves).

A dopravin is the third-person plural of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb doprâ.

Verset 4

A diserin (they said): parcè no fasìno une citât (why make we not a city) e une torate ch’e rivi cu la spice (and a tower which may arrive with its peak) fint in cîl? (so far as into the heaven?). Fasìnsi un non (let us make for ourselves a name) e no stin a dividisi ator pal mont (and let us not divide ourselves about the world).

Vocabulary: (to say), parcè no (why not), (to make), la citât (city), la torate (tower), rivâ (to arrive), la spice (peak), fint in (so far as into), il cîl (heaven), fâsi (to make for oneself), il non (name), no stin a (let us not), dividisi (to divide oneself), ator par (about), il mont (world).

Fasìno is the interrogative form of o fasìn, which is the second-person plural of the presint indicatîf of the verb fâ. Consult the present indicative of the verb , found in the notes at verse 9 on the linked page. Consider the following: o fasìn (we make); fasìno? (make we?); no fasìn (we make not); parcè no fasìno? (why make we not?).

A tower is called une torate. The tower of Babel, then, is la torate di Babêl in Friulian. In the text of this verse, the top of the tower is referred to by the feminine spice; this noun was encountered once before in Gjenesi 8:5.

Found in une torate ch’e rivi cu la spice fint in cîl is the present subjunctive. E rivi is the feminine, third-person singular of the coniuntîf presint of the verb rivâ. The present subjunctive e rivi is employed here, rather than the present indicative e rive, for the tower has not yet been created; its construction is a proposition. Consider the following: la torate e rive cu la spice fint in cîl (the tower arrives with its peak so far as into the heaven; the tower already exists); parcè no fasìno une torate ch’e rivi cu la spice fint in cîl? (why make we not a tower which may arrive with its peak so far as into the heaven?; the tower does not yet exist).

Fasìnsi un non: let us make for ourselves a name. Fasìn is the second-person plural imperative of the verb fâ; its reflexive equivalent is fasìnsi. Consider: fasìn (let us make); fasìnsi (let us make for ourselves); fasìnsi un non (let us make for ourselves a name).

No stin a dividisi: let us not divide ourselves. Using the verb fevelâ, the negated Friulian imperative works so: no sta fevelâ (second-person singular; speak not); no stait a fevelâ (second-person plural; speak not); no stin a fevelâ (first-person plural; let us not speak). Using now dividisi, so does it work: no sta dividiti (second-person singular; divide not thyself); no stait a dividisi (second-person plural; divide not yourselves); no stin a dividisi (first-person plural; let us not divide ourselves).

Ator pal mont: about the world. Pal is the contraction of par + il.

Verset 5

Il Signôr al vignì jù (the Lord came down) a dâi une cjalade a la citât e a la torate (to give a look at the city and tower) che i oms a stavin butant sù (which the men were {just then} casting up).

Vocabulary: il Signôr (the Lord), vignî jù (to come down), (to give), la cjalade (look), la citât (city), la torate (tower), un om (man), i oms (men), butâ sù (to cast up).

Consider the following: al fevele (he speaks; he is speaking); al sta fevelant (he is speaking {just now}). In al sta fevelant, al sta is the masculine, third-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb stâ; it is followed by fevelant, which is the present participle of the verb fevelâ. This construction employed in present time conveys the sense of just now; when employed in past time (see examples of formation below), it conveys just then. Found in the text of this verse is che i oms a stavin butant sù, the sense whereof is which the men were {just then} casting up. In a stavin butant sù, a stavin is the third-person plural of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb stâ; it is followed by butant, which is the present participle of the verb butâ. More examples: al sta cjalant (he is {just now} looking); a stan tornant (they are {just now} returning); al stave doprant (he was {just then} using); a stavin fevelant (they were {just then} speaking). In translation, it may not be necessary to include just now or just then; I have included it parenthetically in my translation of this verse for inclusion of the Friulian nuance.

Verset 6

Dissal il Signôr (the Lord said): veju (there they are), che a son un popul sôl (who are a single people) e a fevelin ducj la stesse lenghe (and all speak the same tongue). Chest al è dome il cjaveç (this is but the tip) di ce che a àn voe di fâ (of that which they have the will to do). Se a van indenant cussì (if they go forwards so), a rivaran a fâ (they will be able to do) dut ce che a volaran (all that which they will).

Vocabulary: dissal (he said), il Signôr (the Lord), veju (there they are), a son (they are), il popul (people), sôl (single), fevelâ (to speak), ducj (all; masculine plural), stes (same), la lenghe (tongue), chest al è (this is), dome (but), il cjaveç (tip), la voe (will), se (if), (to go), indenant (forwards), cussì (so), rivâ a (to be able to), (to do), volê (to will).

The feminine lenghe, in addition to referring to the organ in the mouth of man, refers to a specific tongue spoken by a group of people, for instance: la lenghe furlane (Friulian tongue); la lenghe polache (Polish tongue); la lenghe taliane (Italian tongue). The name of a spoken tongue may also be identified without lenghe; in this case, the name is masculine noun: il furlan (Friulian), il polac (Polish), il talian (Italian).

A rivaran and a volaran are the third-person plural futûr sempliç forms of the verbs rivâ and volê.

Verset 7

Anìn (come). Dismontìn jù (let us go down) e confusionìnju tal lôr lengaç (and confound them in their language), par che no rivin a capîsi un cul altri (that they should not be able to understand one another).

Vocabulary: anìn (come), dismontâ jù (to go down), confusionâ (to confound), il lengaç (language), par che ({in order} that), rivâ a (to be able to), capî (to understand), capîsi un cul altri (to understand one another).

Dismontìn jù (let us go down) is a first-person plural imperative. Confusionìnju (let us confound them) is also a first-person plural imperative; it is composed of confusionìn (let us confound) and ju (them).

Versets 8-9

Vocabulary: di li (thence), il Signôr (the Lord), sparniçâ (to scatter), dut (all), il mont (world), no… plui (no more), (to go), indevant (forwards), la citât (city), cussì (so), meti (to put), il non (name), parcè che (for), al è stât (it was), alì (there), confusionâ (to confound), il lengaç (language), un om (man), sparniçâsi (to scatter oneself).

Verse 8: E di li il Signôr ju sparniçà par dut il mont (and thence the Lord scattered them through all the world) e no lerin plui indevant cu la lôr citât (and they went forwards no more with their city).A lerin is the third-person plural of the passât sempliç of the verb lâ.

Verse 9: Cussì i meterin non Babêl (so unto it they put the name Babel), parcè che al è stât alì (for it was there) che il Signôr al à confusionât il lengaç di ducj i oms (where the Lord confounded the language of all men) e di li si son sparniçâts par dut il mont (and thence did they scatter themselves through all the world).

Versets 10-11

Vocabulary: cheste e je (this is; feminine singular), la gjernazie (line), cent (one hundred), un an (year), cent agns (one hundred years), al à vût (he begot), doi agns (two years), dopo di (after), il diluvi (flood), nassi (to be born), vivi (to live), cinccent (five hundred), altri (other), il fi (son), la fie (daughter).

Verse 10: Cheste e je la gjernazie di Sem: this is the line of Shem. A cent agns (at one hundred years {of age}), Sem al à vût Arpacsad (Shem begot Arpachshad), doi agns dopo dal diluvi (two years after the flood). — The plural of the masculine an (year) is agns (years).

Verse 11: Dopo nassût Arpacsad (after Arpachshad had been born), Sem al à vivût cinccent agns (Shem lived five hundred years) e al à vût altris fîs e fiis (and begot other sons and daughters). — The Friulian verb nassi means to be born; its past participle is nassût. For instance, a man born in Cormons may say: o soi nassût a Cormons (I was born in Cormons); so would a woman say it: o soi nassude a Cormons.

Versets 12-26

Vocabulary: un an (year), i agns (years), al à vût (he begot), nassi (to be born), vivi (to live), altri (other), il fi (son), la fie (daughter).

Verse 12: A trentecinc agns (at thirty-five years {of age}), Arpacsad al à vût Selac (Arpachshad begot Shelah).

Verse 13: Dopo nassût Selac (after Shelah had been born), Arpacsad al à vivût cuatricent e trê agns (Arpachshad lived four hundred and three years) e al à vût altris fîs e fiis (and begot other sons and daughters).

Verse 14: A trent’agns (at thirty years {of age}), Selac al à vût Eber (Shelah begot Eber).

Verse 15: Dopo nassût Eber (after Eber had been born), Selac al à vivût cuatricent e trê agns (Shelah lived four hundred and three years) e al à vût altris fîs e fiis (and begot other sons and daughters).

Verse 16: A trentecuatri agns (at thirty-four years {of age}), Eber al à vût Peleg (Eber begot Peleg).

Verse 17: Dopo nassût Peleg (after Peleg had been born), Eber al à vivût cuatricent e trent’agns (Eber lived four hundred and thirty years) e al à vût altris fîs e fiis (and begot other sons and daughters).

Verse 18: A trent’agns (at thirty years {of age}), Peleg al à vût Reu (Peleg begot Reu).

Verse 19: Dopo nassût Reu (after Reu had been born), Peleg al à vivût dusinte e nûf agns (Peleg lived two hundred and nine years) e al à vût altris fîs e fiis (and begot other sons and daughters).

Verse 20: A trentedoi agns (at thirty-two years {of age}), Reu al à vût Serug (Reu begot Serug).

Verse 21: Dopo nassût Serug (after Serug had been born), Reu al à vivût dusinte e siet agns (Reu lived two hundred and seven years) e al à vût altris fîs e fiis (and begot other sons and daughters).

Verse 22: A trent’agns (at thirty years {of age}), Serug al à vût Nacor (Serug begot Nahor).

Verse 23: Dopo nassût Nacor (after Nahor had been born), Serug al à vivût dusinte agns (Serug lived two hundred years) e al à vût altris fîs e fiis (and begot other sons and daughters).

Verse 24: A vincjenûf agns (at twenty-nine years {of age}), Nacor al à vût Terac (Nahor begot Terah).

Verse 25: Dopo nassût Terac (after Terah had been born), Nacor al à vivût cent e disenûf agns (Nahor lived one hundred and nineteen years) e al à vût altris fîs e fiis (and begot other sons and daughters).

Verse 26: A setant’agns (at seventy years {of age}), Terac al à vût Abram, Nacor e Aran (Terah begot Abram, Nahor and Haran).

Versets 27-32

Vocabulary: cheste e je (this is; feminine singular), la gjernazie (line), al à vût (he begot), murî (to die), al jere (he was), ancjemò (yet), vîf (living), il pari (father), il paîs (country), nassi (to be born), un caldeu (Chaldean), sposâsi (to take to wife), la femine (wife), il non (name), la fie (daughter), sterp (barren), podê (can), i fruts (children), cjoli (to take), il fi (son), il nevôt (grandson), la brût (daughter-in-law), jessî (to go forth), (to go), la tiere (land), rivâ (to arrive), però (but), fermâsi (to halt oneself), li (there), vivi (to live), in dut (in all), dusinte e cinc (two hundred and five), un an (year), po (then).

Verse 27: Cheste e je la gjernazie di Terac (this is the line of Terah): Terac al à vût Abram, Nacor e Aran (Terah begot Abram, Nahor and Haran). Aran al à vût Lot: Haran begot Lot.

Verse 28: Aran al murì (Haran died) che al jere ancjemò vîf so pari Terac (when his father Terah was yet living), tal paîs che al jere nassût (in the country where he had been born), a Ur dai caldeus (at Ur of the Chaldeans).

Verse 29: Abram e Nacor si sposarin (Abram and Nahor took to wife): la femine di Abram e veve non Sarai (the wife of Abram had for name Sarai), la femine di Nacor e veve non Milche (the wife of Nahor had for name Milcah), fie di Aran (daughter of Haran), che al jere il pari di Milche e di Ische (who was the father of Milcah and Iscah).

Verse 30: Ma Sarai e jere sterpe (but Sarai was barren) e no podeve vê fruts (and could not bear children). — Observe: e podeve (she could); no podeve (she could not).

Verse 31: Terac al cjolè so fi Abram (Terah took his son Abram), so nevôt Lot, fi di Aran (his grandson Lot son of Haran), e sô brût Sarai, femine di Abram (and his daughter-in-law Sarai wife of Abram). Ju fasè jessî di Ur dai caldeus (he made them go forth from Ur of the Chaldeans) par lâ te tiere di Canaan (to go into the land of Canaan). Rivâts però a Caran (but having arrived at Haran) si fermarin li (they halted themselves there). — The Friulian for grandson is il nevôt; for granddaughter, it is la gnece. Nevôt and gnece may also mean nephew and niece, respectively. For son-in-law, the Friulian is il ginar (standardised zinar); for daughter-in-law, it is la brût.

Verse 32: Terac al à vivût (Terah lived), in dut (in all), dusinte e cinc agns (two hundred and five years), po al murì a Caran (then he died at Haran).