Friulian language series: Gjenesi 17, cjase di Abram

Continue now your study of the Friulian language through the book of Genesis by reading the seventeenth chapter, where the subject is il pat di circuncision (covenant of circumcision).

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

Read Gjenesi 17

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 17. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-2

The Lord appeared unto Abram when he was ninety-nine years old; that is, cuant che al veve novantenûf agns. The verb for to appear is comparî.

i comparì il Signôr
the Lord appeared unto him

The Lord says to Abram: jo o soi El-Shadai (I am El-Shaddai; this is one of the Hebrew names of God and is usually rendered in English as God Almighty).

He then tells Abram:

cjamine sot dai miei vôi
walk before me
(literally, walk under my eyes)

viôt di jessi just
be certain to be just
be certain to be righteous

The second-person singular imperative viôt di (from viodi di) can be understood as meaning be sure to, be certain to, make sure to.

You encounter the expression fâ un pat, which you now know well: to make a covenant, to establish a covenant.

o fasarai un pat fra me e te
I shall make a covenant between me and you

God says that he will make Abram become great: ti fasarai deventâ grant (I shall make you become great). You will recall that une vore means really, very: ma une vore grant (but very great; but great indeed).

Verset 3

Butâsi par tiere can be rendered a number of different ways, including to throw oneself to the ground, to take to the ground, to go down to the ground; in this context, it describes an act of deference. Cul cjâf means with one’s head. The sense of butâsi cul cjâf par tiere, then, is to bow down with one’s head to the ground.

Verset 4

God says:

ve il pat che o fâs cun te
here is the covenant that I make with you

Tu deventarâs is the second-person singular of the futûr sempliç of the verb deventâ. Tu deventarâs pari means you shall become father.

That of which Abram shall become father is un grumon di popui. Recall that i popui (peoples) is the plural of il popul (people). The masculine noun popul can also be taken as meaning nation. As for the masculine grum, this means heap, pile. Un grumon di means a very large number of, a great quantity of, a multitude of.

un grum di
a lot of, many

un grumon di
a very great deal of,
a great quantity of, etc.

tu deventarâs pari di un grumon di popui
you shall become father of a multitude of peoples (nations)

More examples (not from the text):

pierdi un grum di bêçs
to lose a lot of money

lei un grum di libris
to read a lot of books

Verset 5

God changes Abram’s name to Abraham.

no ti clamaran plui Abram
they shall not call you Abram anymore
they shall no longer call you Abram
(that is, you shall no longer be called Abram)

No ti clamaran translates literally as they shall not call. The “they” in question here is an impersonal one; you can understand no ti clamaran in the sense of one shall not call you or you shall not be called. No ti clamaran is, however, part of the fuller no ti clamaran plui here. You will remember that no… plui means no more, no longer; anymore, any longer.

il to non al sarà Abraham
your name shall be Abraham

Review the present indicative conjugation of the verb .

jo ti fâs pari
I make you father

di un grumon di popui
of a multitude of peoples (nations)

Verset 6

In this verse, you encounter trop. To better understand the meaning of trop (how many, how much), read first through these supplementary examples:

tropis pagjinis âstu studiât?
how many pages have you studied?
(la pagjine, page)

no sai trop zucar che o ai di zontâ
I do not know how much sugar that I must add
(il zucar, sugar)

cjol trope torte che tu vûs
take as much cake as you want
take however much cake that you want
(la torte, cake)

trops àno rispuindût?
how many have responded?

trop vegnial?
how much does it cost?
(literally, [to] how much does it come?)

trop mi fasistu spietâ?
how long will you make me wait?

This verse begins with the following words from God:

ti fasarai cressi no tu sâs nancje tu trop
I shall make you increase not even you know how much

The sense of the above is I shall increase you exceedingly. You will remember that tu sâs (you know) is the second-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb savê.

o fasarai di te popui
I shall make peoples of you
I shall make nations of you

dal to çoc a saltaran fûr rês
from your stock shall come kings
(that is, there shall be kings in your offspring)

You first saw il çoc in Gjenesi 10:32; it means stock, clan.

Verset 7

The text of this verse is fairly straightforward. A few pointers, nonetheless:

di gjenerazion in gjenerazion
from generation to generation
from one generation to the next

un pat par in eterno
an everlasting covenant
an eternal, perpetual covenant

in mût che jo o sarai il to Diu
so that I shall be your God

Verset 8

Us darai means I shall give to you.

us darai la tiere che tu sês cumò
I shall give you the land where you are now

come forest
as a foreigner

You have seen before that the adjective forest means foreign; for example: une lenghe foreste (foreign language); un lavadôr forest (foreign worker). In come forest, it is used as a noun (il forest) meaning foreigner, outsider, stranger.

Par simpri means forever.

Verset 9

The Friulian text continues to use the old name Abram, rather than the new Abraham. (This follows the usage of neither the original Hebrew, nor the Septuagint, nor the Vulgata.) I can only presume this to be the case because Abraham may have been integrated into the Friulian language as Abram for reasons of pronunciation. If there is some other justification for it, I have been unable to ascertain it. Regardless, from this point on, when the name Abram appears in the Friulian text, it will be translated in my notes as Abraham:

Diu i disè a Abram
God said to Abraham

The verb rispietâ means to respect; it can be taken here in context as to observe, to keep.

tu tu varâs di rispietâ il gno pat
you must keep (respect) my covenant

Tu tu varâs di translates literally as you shall have to.

Verset 10

You now come across a new usage: the adjective circuncidût (circumcised). Related to this adjective: la circuncision (circumcision), circuncidi (to circumcise). Male circumcision is the removal of il prepuzi (foreskin). In verse 11 ahead, you will find the foreskin referred to by a different term.

ve cuâl che al è il gno pat
here is what my covenant is

che o vês di rispietâ
that you must keep (respect)

Vadì means that is to say.

vadì la tô gjernazie daûr di te
that is to say, your offspring after you

ducj i mascjos a varan di jessi circuncidûts
all the males shall have to be circumcised

You have encountered il mascjo a number of times; it refers to a male. A female is la mascje.

Verset 11

The verb taiâ means to cut.

In this and the other verses ahead, the foreskin is referred to as l’ultime piel de nature. La nature refers euphemistically to the virile member (the “nature”), and the foreskin is the ultime piel (final skin) of the member.

si fasarês taiâ l’ultime piel de nature
you shall have your foreskin cut
(literally, you shall get cut the final skin of the member [nature])

In the above, fâsi taiâ can be understood as meaning to get cut, to have cut (unto oneself). Si fasarês is the second-person plural of the futûr sempliç of the reflexive fâsi.

God says that the procedure shall be the sign (segnâl) of the covenant: al sarà il segnâl dal pat.

In Esodo 13:2, you will find an example of where la nature refers instead to the female reproductive organs.

Verset 12

Sui vot dîs can be understood as meaning on the eighth day (literally, on the eight days). As for tant che, you can understand it as meaning whether, as in:

tant che al sedi nassût in cjase
whether he be born in the house

o ben comprât cui bêçs
or else bought with money

di cualchi forest
from some foreigner
from some outsider

che nol è de tô raze
who is not of your bloodline
who is not of your sort


al è — nol è
he is — he is not
or it is — it is not

Verset 13

This verse begins with language rather similar to what was seen in the last verse; you can understand tant… che as meaning equally… as:

si à di circuncidi
one has to circumcise

tant chel nassût in cjase
equally the one born in the house
equally he (who was) born in the house

che chel comprât cui bêçs
as the one bought with money
as he (who was) bought with money

Or in more idiomatic English: not only the one born in the house but also the one bought with money must be circumcised.

Above, chel (he, that one) refers to a baby male. Si à di is an impersonal usage meaning one has to.

The verb segnâ means to mark. God says that his covenant shall be marked in the flesh: segnât te vuestre cjar (marked in your flesh), and that it shall be as an everlasting covenant: come un pat par in secula (as a covenant for all ages; as an everlasting covenant).

Verset 14

In this verse, God talks about the uncircumcised.

chel che nol sarà circuncidût
he who is not circumcised
(literally, he who will not be circumcised)

Study the following affirmative and negated forms:

al sarà circuncidût
he will be circumcised

nol sarà circuncidût
he will not be circumcised

The text continues with ven a stâi, meaning that is to say.

il mascjo che no i varan taiade l’ultime piel de nature
the male whose foreskin will not have been cut

Taken apart more literally:

i varan taiade l’ultime piel de nature
they will have cut the foreskin (final skin of the member [nature]) unto him

no i varan taiade l’ultime piel de nature
they will not have cut the foreskin unto him

il mascjo che no i varan taiade l’ultime piel de nature
the male that they will not have cut the foreskin unto him
that is, the male whose foreskin will not have been cut

The Lord says that he who has not been circumcised shall be cut off from his offspring. The Friulian for to cut off is found here as taiâ fûr.

chel al sarà taiât fûr de sô gjernazie
he shall be cut off from his offspring

nol à rispietât il gno pat
he has not kept (respected) my covenant

al à rispietât
he has kept (respected)
nol à rispietât
he has not kept (respected)

Verset 15

This verse does not present any usages whose meanings are new to you.

no tu le clamarâs plui Sarai
you shall no longer call her Sarai

il so non al sarà Sare
her name shall be Sarah

It would be good to observe the following, to help you internalise word order:

tu tu clamarâs
tu no tu clamarâs

tu tu le clamarâs
tu no tu le clamarâs

Or simply:

tu clamarâs
no tu clamarâs

tu le clamarâs
no tu le clamarâs

Verset 16

You encounter here the first-person singular of the futûr sempliç of the verb benedî, which is o benedissarai (I shall bless). Another verb that you have seen form its future tense in a similar way is parturî; for example: tu parturissarâs (you will bear).

God says that he will bless Sarah: jo le benedissarai (I shall bless her), and that he will give Abraham a son through her: ti darai un frut (I shall give you a son) midiant di jê (through her, via her).

The text continues:

e deventarà popui
she shall become peoples
she shall become nations

rês di popui a saltaran fûr di jê
kings of peoples shall come forth from her

Verset 17

Abraham goes down in deference and starts to laugh. This is rendered in Friulian with the expressions butâsi par tiere (to take to the ground) and tacâ a ridi (to start to laugh). The verb ridi means to laugh.

Abram* si butà par tiere
Abraham took to the ground (in deference)

e al tacà a ridi
and he started to laugh

*See verse 9 regarding the continued use of Abram in the Friulian.

You then read that Abraham pondered a thought to himself: al diseve dentri di sè, which means he said (was saying) inside of himself. He says (translated literally in parentheses): tu puedis dome crodi (you can only believe) se un om di cent agns al fâs fruts (if a man of one hundred years makes children) e se Sare, ch’e cjamine par novante (and if Sarah, who is walking on ninety) e rive a parturî (manages to give birth); that is, can you just imagine a one-hundred-year-old man having children, and Sarah, who is in her ninetieth year, being able to give birth.

The verb cjaminâ means to walk. The expression cjaminâ par novante (to walk on ninety) can be taken as meaning to be in one’s ninetieth year.

In this verse, you encounter the third-person singular imperfet indicatîf form al diseve. Below, for your reference, you will find the verb conjugated in this tense.

Imperfet indicatîf
Imperfect indicative

o disevi
tu disevis
al diseve

e diseve

o disevin
o disevis
a disevin

Verset 18

Almancul means at least. For example, almancul dôs voltis means at least twice. You read:

che almancul Ismael al puedi vivi
may Ishmael at least be able to live

midiant di te
through you

Al puedi is the masculine, third-person singular of the coniuntîf presint of the verb podê.

al pues
he is able

che al puedi
may he be able

Verset 19

Pononò is used to put forth an objection; you can understand it as meaning nay, no. The rest of this verse contains language that you have already studied.

tu i metarâs non Isac
you shall name him Isaac

Verset 20

Learn or review the following: scoltâ (to listen), la dissendence (lineage, descendants), cetant (considerably, greatly), il princip (prince).

You can understand ancje par Ismael as meaning also with regard to Ishamel.

ancje par Ismael ti ai scoltât
also with regard to Ishmael I have heeded (listened to) you

jo lu benedìs
I bless him

i darai dissendence
I shall give him a lineage

God says that he will multiply Ishmael greatly: lu fasarai cressi di numar cetant cetant (I shall make him increase exceedingly in number). The expression cressi di numar means to grow in number, to increase in number; fâ cressi di numar, then, means to make grow in number, to cause to increase in number. The Friulian for number is il numar. Cetant (which you can understand as considerably) is repeated for emphasis, conveying exceedingly.

God says that Ishmael will beget twelve princes: al varà dodis princips (he shall have twelve princes). The expression fâ di lui means to make of him; o fasarai di lui un grant popul (I shall make of him a great people).

Verset 21

God says that the covenant will be made not with Ishmael but with Isaac, the son to be born to Sarah.

ma il gno pat jo lu fasarai cun Isac
but my covenant, I shall make it with Isaac
(that is, but I shall make my covenant with Isaac)

chel che ti parturissarà Sare
he whom Sarah shall bear unto you

Di chi a un an means one year from now (literally, from here to one year). As for in cheste stagjon, this means in this season. The Friulian for season is la stagjon. Di chi a un an e in cheste stagjon can be taken as at this season one year from now (literally, one year from now and in this season).

Verset 22

The reflexive verb slontanâsi means to distance oneself, to step away, to walk away, etc. The root of this verb is the adjective lontan, meaning distant, far off.

finît di fevelâ
(having) finished speaking
(finî, to finish)

Diu si slontanà di Abram
God distanced himself from Abraham
God went away from Abraham

Verset 23

Abram al cjapà so fi Ismael
Abraham took his son Ishmael

ducj chei che a jerin nassûts te sô cjase
all those who had been born in his house

ducj chei che al veve comprât cui bêçs
all those whom he had bought with money

Recall that jessi a stâ means to live, to reside, to dwell.

ducj i mascjos che a jerin a stâ cun Abram
all the males who lived (were living) with Abraham

Observe how Friulian employs i (unto him) and ur (unto them) to convey what English does with his and their:

i taià la ultime piel de nature
he cut his foreskin (another male’s, not his own)
(literally, he cut the foreskin unto him)

ur taià la ultime piel de nature
he cut their foreskin
(literally, he cut the foreskin unto them)

Ta chê stesse dì means on that same day. You will remember that the verb ordenâ means to order, to command.

come che Diu i veve ordenât
as God had commanded (unto) him

Versets 24-27

The Friulian for 99 is novantenûf; for 13, it is tredis.

A taiarin is the third-person plural of the passât sempliç of the verb taiâ.

cuant che i taiarin l’ultime piel de nature
when they cut the foreskin unto him
(that is, when they cut his foreskin; when his foreskin was cut)

You will remember that al fo and a forin are, respectively, the third-person singular and third-person plural passât sempliç forms of the verb jessi.

al fo circuncidût
he was circumcised

a forin circuncidûts
they were circumcised

The Friulian for family is la famee.

ducj i mascjos de famee
all the males of the family
all the males of the household