Friulian language series: Gjenesi 16, Sarai e Agar

In the sixteenth chapter of the book of Genesis, the maidservant Hagar runs away from her mistress Sarai.

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Read Gjenesi 16

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Verset 1

Vocabulary: la femine (wife), dâ fruts (to bear children), ma però (however, but), la sierve (maidservant, handmaid), egjizian (Egyptian), il non (name), vê non (to be named).

Abram’s wife had not borne him any children. You read: la femine di Abram (the wife of Abram), Sarai (Sarai), no i veve dât fruts (had not borne [given] children to him). You have here the third-person singular of the trapassât prossim (past perfect) of the verb dâ. Observe the passât prossim and trapassât prossim in these examples: al à fat; al veve fat (he has done; he had done); o ai dât; o vevi dât (I have given; I had given). Both verbs and take as their auxiliary; the passât prossim is composed of the presint indicatîf of + the past participle of the verb in question, whereas the trapassât prossim is composed of the imperfet indicatîf of + the past participle of the verb in question. The verb is conjugated in the trapassât prossim below.

Trapassât prossim
Past perfect

o vevi dât
vevio dât?
tu vevis dât
vevistu dât?
al veve dât
vevial dât?

e veve dât
vevie dât?

o vevin dât
vevino dât?
o vevis dât
veviso dât?
a vevin dât
vevino dât?

The text of this verse continues: ma però (however) e veve une sierve egjiziane (she had [was having] an Egyptian maidservant), ch’e veve non Agar (whose name was Hagar [who was having {the} name Hagar]). Il sierf and la sierve both mean servant; il sierf is a male servant, and la sierve is a female one — that is, a maidservant or handmaid. The imperfect e veve conveys the sense of she was having, she used to have.

For your reference, presented below are the passât prossim and trapassât prossim conjugations of the verb vê. These correspond, respectively, to the English recent past (I have had, you have had, etc.) and past perfect (I had had, you had had, etc.).

Passât prossim
Recent past

o ai vût
aio vût?
tu âs vût
âstu vût?
al à vût
aial vût?

e à vût
aie vût?

o vin vût
vino vût?
o vês vût
vêso vût?
a àn vût
àno vût?

Trapassât prossim
Past perfect

o vevi vût
vevio vût?
tu vevis vût
vevistu vût?
al veve vût
vevial vût?

e veve vût
vevie vût?

o vevin vût
vevino vût?
o vevis vût
veviso vût?
a vevin vût
vevino vût?

Verset 2

Vocabulary: (to say), scoltâ (to listen, to heed), preâ (to pray), ti prei (I pray you, please), il Signôr (Lord), dâ la gracie di (to make the concession of), vê fruts (to bear [have] children), parcè no (why not), lâ cun (to lie [go] with), la sierve (maidservant, handmaid), salacor (perhaps), midiant di (by way of, through), podê (can, to be able), ancje jo (also, too), (to do, to make), la femine (woman, wife).

Sarai was barren (sterpe); you will remember this from Gjenesi 11:30, where you read: Sarai e jere sterpe e no podeve vê fruts. She now tells Abram to produce a child with her maidservant Hagar. She begins: scoltimi, ti prei (listen to me, I pray you; please heed me). The verb scoltâ means to listen, to heed. Its second-person singular imperative is scolte; when ti is added, the final e of scolte becomes i. Observe: scolte (listen); scoltimi (listen to me). O prei is the first-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb preâ, meaning to pray, to beg. Ti prei: I pray you; I beg you. The Friulian ti prei does not contain the same level of formality as the English; it can often simply be understood as meaning please. Supplementary example: ti prei di tasê (please be quiet; tasê, to be quiet).

Sarai continues: il Signôr no mi à dade la gracie di vê fruts (the Lord has not made me the concession of bearing children). She tells Abram to go unto her handmaid: parcè no vâstu cu la mê sierve? (why do you not lie with my maidservant?); lâ cun (literally, to go with) is to be taken here in the sense of to lie with (that is, to have sexual relations with). Observe the following: tu tu vâs (you go); tu no tu vâs (you do not go); parcè vâstu? (why do you go?); parcè no vâstu? (why do you not go?).

Sarai provides the reason for her request: salacor midiant di jê (perhaps by way of her), o podarai ancje jo vê fruts (I too shall be able to have children). This text of this verse ends with another example of the trapassât prossim: Abram al fasè ce che i veve dit la femine (Abram did what his wife had said to him). Dit is the past participle of the verb dî. Observe: e à dit; e veve dit (she has said; she had said); ce che e veve dit; ce che i veve dit (what she had said; what she had said to him).

Verset 3

Vocabulary: cussì (thus, so), dîs (ten), un an (year), i agns (years), dopo (after), lâ a stâ (to go dwell), la tiere (land, earth), la femine (woman, wife), cjoli (to take), la egjiziane (Egyptian woman), la sierve (maidservant, handmaid), dâ par femine (to give for wife), un om (man, husband).

Cussì, dîs agns dopo che Abram al jere lât a stâ te tiere di Canaan: so ten years after Abram had gone to dwell in the land of Canaan. With al jere lât, you have another example of the trapassât prossim; this time, however, it is formed with the auxiliary jessi. Observe: al è lât (he has gone); al jere lât (he had gone). The passât prossim here is composed of the presint indicatîf of jessi + the past participle lât, whereas the trapassât prossim is composed of the imperfet indicatîf of jessi + the past participle lât. A verb that takes jessi as its auxiliary causes its past participle to agree in gender and number with its subject: al è lât; e je lade (he has gone; she has gone); al jere lât; e jere lade (he had gone; she had gone); o soi lât; o soi lade (I have gone [male speaker]; I have gone [female speaker]); o jerin lâts; o jerin ladis (we had gone [male or mixed-gender speakers]; we had gone [female speakers]). You will find the verb conjugated in both the passât prossim and trapassât prossim below.

Passât prossim
Recent past

o soi lât
o soi lade

soio lât?
soio lade?

tu sês lât
tu sês lade

sêstu lât?
sêstu lade?

al è lât
isal lât?

e je lade
ise lade?

o sin lâts
o sin ladis

sino lâts?
sino ladis?

o sês lâts
o sês ladis

sêso lâts?
sêso ladis?

a son lâts
a son ladis

sono lâts?
sono ladis?

Trapassât prossim
Past perfect

o jeri lât
o jeri lade

jerio lât?
jerio lade?

tu jeris lât
tu jeris lade

jeristu lât?
jeristu lade?

al jere lât
jerial lât?

e jere lade
jerie lade?

o jerin lâts
o jerin ladis

jerino lâts?
jerino ladis?

o jeris lâts
o jeris ladis

jeriso lâts?
jeriso ladis?

a jerin lâts
a jerin ladis

jerino lâts?
jerino ladis?

The text of this verse continues: Sarai, la sô femine (his wife Sarai), e cjolè Agar l’egjiziane (took Hagar the Egyptian), ch’e jere la sô sierve (who was her maidservant), e je dè par femine al so om, Abram (and she gave her for wife to her husband Abram). Dâ par femine is to be understood here in the sense of to give for concubine (secondary wife). Je is a contraction of i + le (unto him + her), where i corresponds to al so om, and le stands in for la sierve. Observe: i dè al so om (she gave to her husband); je dè al so om (she gave her to her husband). Related: Direct and indirect object pronouns in Friulian.

Verset 4

Vocabulary: lâ cun (to lie with), cjapâ sù (to take up), viodisi (to see oneself), in stâts (pregnant, with child), butâ (to cast, to throw), la bande (side), butâ di bande (to cast aside), la parone (mistress).

Lui al lè cun Agar, ch’e cjapà sù: he lay with Hagar who conceived (took up). The masculine noun stât means state; it is found in the text of this verse as part of in stâts, which is to be taken as referring to the state of pregancy. Hagar’s realisation of her pregnant condition is expressed through the use of viodisi in stâts. You read: cuant che si viodè in stâts (when she saw that she was [when she saw herself] with child), e butà di bande la sô parone (she shunned [cast aside] her mistress). La parone (mistress) is the feminine form of il paron, meaning master, lord.

Verset 5

Vocabulary: alore (so, then), (to say), la colpe (fault, guilt), jessi colpe (to be at fault), pierdi (to lose), il rispiet (respect), pierdi i rispiets cun (to lose respect for), meti (to put, to place), la sierve (maidservant, handmaid), il braç (arm), di cuant che (since, ever since), cjapâ sù (to take up), nancje (not even), cjalâ (to look {upon}, to regard), il testemoni (witness), jessi testemoni (to be witness).

Sarai says to Abram: tu sês colpe tu (it is you who is at fault) se jê e à pierdûts i rispiets cun me (if she has lost respect for me). Note the placement of the tonic (stressed) tu at the end, for emphasis. Compare: tu sês colpe (you are at fault); tu sês colpe tu (it is you who is at fault). The Friulian verb pierdi means to lose; its past participle is pierdût. Note that the past participle in the text of this verse has been accorded as the masculine plural pierdûts to agree with the masculine plural rispiets following it.

Sarai reminds Abram: jo ti ai metude la mê sierve tai tiei braçs (I myself put my maidservant into your arms). Metude (feminine singular of the past participle metût) agrees in number and gender with the direct object la mê sierve following it. She continues: di cuant che e à cjapât sù (ever since she conceived [took up]), nancje no mi cjale (she does not even look upon me).

Il Signôr al è testemoni: the Lord is witness. Che al fasi lui: let him do; that is, let him judge. Al fasi is the third-person singular of the coniuntîf presint of the verb fâ. Observe: al fâs (he does); che al fasi (let him do; may he do).

Although it does not appear in the text of this verse, the coniuntîf presint of the verb jessi has come up numerous times in your readings. You will find it conjugated below in this tense, for your reference. For the subjunctive conjugation, there is an optative form (second column of the chart). The optative is used to express hope or desire. You need not concern yourself with the optative at this point; know, however, that you have already seen examples of it: maladet seial Canaan (Gjenesi 9:25; cursed be Canaan; may Canaan be cursed); benedet seial il Signôr (Gjenesi 9:26; blessed be the Lord; may the Lord be blessed). After the chart, you will find examples using the present subjunctive of jessi and which you have already encountered in your readings.

Coniuntîf presint
Present subjunctive

o sedi
tu sedis
al sedi

e sedi

o sedin
o sedis
a sedin

An alternative form exists in the affirmative: o sei, tu seis, al sei, e sei, o sein, o seis, a sein; as well as in the optative: sedio, sedistu, sedial, sedie, sedino, sediso, sedino (in other words, the d can be present or not). In the chart above, the forms chosen (d in the affirmative; no d in the optative) are based on the usage of this Friulian Bible.

Examples using the present subjunctive of jessi: nol è ben che l’om al sedi dibessôl (Gjenesi 2:19); che al sedi pai siei fradis l’ultin dai fameis (Gjenesi 9:25); lis aghis che a sedin dut un sbulium di robe vive (Gjenesi 1:20); ch’e sedi la lûs (Gjenesi 1:3).

Verset 6

Vocabulary: (to say), poben (well now, well then), la sierve (maidservant, handmaid), (to do, to make), parê (to seem), tant (so much), scjampâ (to flee, to run away), la cjase (house), scjampâ di cjase (to run away from home).

Abram says: poben (well now), la sierve e je tô (the maidservant is yours), fâs ce che ti pâr a ti (do as you see fit [do what seems {right} to you]). Fâs is the second-person singular imperative of the verb fâ. As for the verb parê, it means to seem but takes the sense here of to seem right, to seem good. Al pâr is its masculine, third-person singular form of the presint indicatîf. Supplementary example: al jere libar di fâ ce che i pareve (he was free to do as he liked; literally, he was free to do that which was seeming [good] to him). Examples of the verb parê, in its basic sense of to seem: no mi pâr vere (it does not seem true to me; that is, it is unbelievable; I cannot believe it); al pareve legri (he seemed cheerful); no mi pâr di vê let chel libri (it does not seem to me that I have read that book; that is, I do not think that I have read that book).

Supplementary examples of po ben (poben): po ben, ce volêso? (well then, what do you want?); po ben, âstu finît? (so, have you finished?); po ben, o tornìn a tabaiândi plui tart (fine, we will talk about it again later on). Regarding the last example: o tornìn (we return); tabaiâ (to chat, to talk); tabaiândi (to chat about it, to talk thereof); plui tart (later on). Furthermore, in the last example, indi (of it, thereof) is attached to the infinitive tabaiâ as ndi. Indi (a formal written form) is equivalent to int, which you have already seen; for instance: mangjânt (to eat of it, to eat thereof).

In the text of this verse, you find int contracted to ’nt (which occurs because it is preceded by i): Sarai i ’nt disè tantis (Sarai spoke so harshly to her [said so much of it to her]) che chê altre e scjampà di cjase (that she [the other one] ran away from home). Chê altre refers to Hagar; it translates as the (that) other one, in its feminine form. Because the sentence began with Sarai, using (she) to then refer to Hagar would have been ineffective: it would not have been clear to which woman referred. Chê altre, on the other hand, makes it clear that it is question not of Sarai but the other woman; that is, of Hagar.

Verset 7

Vocabulary: un agnul (angel), il Signôr (Lord), cjatâ (to find), il desert (desert), dongje di (by, alongside), la risultive (spring), sul viaç di (on the road to, on the way to).

L’agnul dal Signôr le cjatà tal desert dongje di une risultive: the angel of the Lord found her in the desert by a spring. Supplementary examples of the verb cjatâ: cjatâ la cjase di un amì (to find a friend’s house); o cjati che la tô idee e sedi strabuine (I think [find] that your idea is excellent; strabon, excellent; note the use of the coniuntîf presint); ma ce cjatistu in lui? (but what do you see [find] in him?).

La risultive ch’e je sul viaç di Sur: the spring that is on the way to Shur. Sul viaç di is to be taken as meaning on the way to, on the road to. The masculine noun viaç is cognate with the English voyage and often means precisely that.

Verset 8

Vocabulary: (to say), la sierve (maidservant, handmaid), dontri (from where, whence), vignî (to come), dulà (where, whereto), (to go), rispuindi (to respond), scjampâ (to flee, to run away), la parone (mistress).

The angel of the Lord asks Hagar: Agar, sierve di Sarai (Hagar, servant of Sarai), dontri venstu (from where are you coming) e dulà vâstu? (and where are you going?). She responds: o scjampi de mê parone, di Sarai (I am running away from my mistress, from Sarai).

Dulà means where(to); dontri means from where, whence. Dontri can also be expressed as di dulà (literally, from where). The second-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb vignî is tu tu vegnis, or simply tu vegnis. Its interrogative form is vegnistu. In the text of this verse, rather than the interrogative vegnistu, you find the variant venstu. Dontri vegnistu?; dontri venstu?: where are you coming from? from where are you arriving?

Supplementary examples asking where: dulà sêstu? (where are you?); di dulà sêstu? (where are you from?); di dulà vegnistu? dontri vegnistu? (where are you coming from?; from where are you arriving?); dulà vivistu?; indulà vivistu?; dulà che tu vivis? (where do you live?). Note the difference in meaning between the questions di dulà sêstu and di dulà vegnistu: the first asks for a person’s hometown, country (where are you from?), whereas the second asks for the person’s point of departure before his journey had been embarked upon (from where are you arriving?, where are you coming from?).

You may wish to learn the names of more countries in Friulian. In the notes at Gjenesi 13:7, the names of European countries were listed; below are the names of countries in America. I have opted for Friulianised names, but, as you will come to expect of Friulian, variants are possible (NicaragueNicaragua, ParavuaiParaguay, UruvuaiUruguay, VuatemaleGuatemala, VenezueleVenezuela, etc.).

la Americhe (America)

Antigue e Barbude (Antigua and Barbuda), la Argjentine (Argentina), lis Bahamas (Bahamas), Barbados (Barbados), il Belize (Belize), la Bolivie (Bolivia), il Brasîl (Brazil), il Canadà (Canada), il Cile (Chile), la Colombie (Colombia), Cube (Cuba), la Cueste Riche (Costa Rica),  la Dominiche (Dominica), l’Ecuadôr (Ecuador), la Gjamaiche (Jamaica), Grenade (Grenada), Haiti (Haiti), l’Honduras (Honduras), il Messic (Mexico), il Nicarague (Nicaragua), Panamà (Panama), il Paravuai (Paraguay), il Perù (Peru), la Republiche Dominicane (Dominican Republic), il Salvadôr (El Salvador), Sant Cristoful e Nevis (Saint Kitts and Nevis), Sant Vincent e Grenadinis (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Sante Lucie (Saint Lucia), Stâts Unîts di Americhe (United States of America), il Suriname (Suriname), Trinitât e Tobago (Trinidad and Tobago), l’Uruvuai (Uruguay), il Venezuele (Venezuela), il Vuatemale (Guatemala), la Vuiane (Guyana).

Also: la Americhe dal Nord, la Americhe Setentrionâl (North America), la Americhe Centrâl (Central America), la Americhe dal Sud, la Americhe Meridionâl (South America), i Caraips (Caribbean).

Versets 9-16

Vocabulary: un agnul (angel), il Signôr (Lord), (to say), tornâ di (to return to), la parone (mistress), no sta (do not), mancjâ (to lack), il rispiet (respect), mancjâ di rispiet (to lack respect, to disrespect), zontâ (to add), (to make, to do), cressi (to increase, to grow), la gjernazie (offspring), rivâ adore di (to be able to, to manage to), nancje (not even), contâ (to count), dissal (he said), ancje (also, too), spietâ (to be with child), parturî (to bear), il frut (boy, child), meti non (to name), parcè che (because), judâ (to assist, to help), la streme (affliction), il mus (ass, donkey), salvadi (wild), il braç (arm), cuintri di (against), plantâ (to pitch), la tende (tent), in face di (before, facing), il fradi (brother), fevelâ (to speak), (to give), il non (name), podê (to be able, can), viodi (to see), ancjemò dopo (even after), par chel (therefore, for this reason), clamâ (to call), il poç (well), fra (between), il fi (son), otantesîs agns (eighty-six years), deventâ (to become), il pari (father).

Verse 9: The angel gives Hagar the following command: torne de tô parone (return to your mistress) e no sta mancjâi di rispiet (and do not disrespect her). No sta is used to create a negated command; examples: torne; no stâ tornâ (return; do not return); fevele; no sta fevelâ (speak; do not speak). Mancjâ di rispiet means to lack respect. In the text of this verse, you find mancjâi di rispiet, which translates literally as to lack respect unto her: mancjâ (to lack), mancjâi (to lack unto her).

Verse 10: L’agnul dal Signôr al zontà: the angel of the Lord added. In the following, contâle means to count it, where le stands in for the feminine gjernazie: o fasarai cressi la tô gjernazie (I will increase [make increase] your offspring) che no si rivarà adore nancje di contâle (so that they are impossible to count [that one shall not even be able to count it]).

Verse 11: The verb spietâ (to await) is used here in the sense of to be with child, to be expecting: tu tu spietis (you are with child [you are awaiting]). The masculine frut is the Friulian for boy: tu parturissarâs un frut (you shall bear a son [boy]). Tu i metarâs non Ismael: you shall name him Ishmael (you shall put unto him {the} name Ishmael). Parcè che il Signôr ti à judade inte tô streme: because the Lord has assisted you in your affliction. The past participle of the verb judâ has been made to agree with the direct object ti preceding it. Because ti refers to Hagar, the past participle is accorded in the feminine singular as judade.

Verse 12: Al sarà come un mus salvadi: he shall be like a wild ass. Il so braç cuintri di ducj: his arm against all. Il braç di ducj cuintri di lui: the arm of all against him. Plantâ une tende means to pitch a tent: al plantarà la sô tende (he shall pitch his tent) in face di ducj i siei fradis (facing all his brethren).

Verse 13: Al Signôr (to the Lord), che i veve fevelât (who had spoken to her), Agar i dè chest non (Hagar gave this name [gave this name to him]). Hagar says: tu tu sês El-Roi (you are El-Roi; this is one of the Hebrew names of God meaning God of seeing, God of vision). She continues: àio podût viodi (have I been able to see) ancjemò dopo di Chel che mi viôt? (even after he who sees me?). Observe: o ai podût; aio podût? (I have been able; have I been able?); viodi; al viôt (to see; he sees).

Verse 14: Par chel (for this reason) a àn clamât chel poç (the well was called [they called that well]) il poç di Lacai-Roi (the well of Lahai-Roi); al è fra Kades e Bered (it is between Kadesh and Bered). A àn clamât chel poç translates literally as they called that well; the use of the third-person plural here can also be understood as equating to the passive of English: that well was called.

Verse 15: Agar i parturì a Abram un frut (Hagar bore a son [boy] to Abram) e Abram i metè (and Abram gave him [put unto him]), al fi che i veve dât Agar (to the son that Hagar had borne him [had given to him]), il non di Ismael (the name Ishmael [the name of Ishmael]).

Verse 16: Abram al veve otantesîs agns (Abram was eighty-six years old [was having eighty-six years]) cuant che Agar lu fasè deventâ (when Hagar made him become) pari di Ismael (the father of Ishmael). Observe: deventâ (to become); fâ deventâ (to make become); fâ deventâ pari di Ismael (to make become the father of Ishmael); lu fasè deventâ pari di Ismael (she made him become the father of Ishmael).