Friulian language series: Gjenesi 17, cjase di Abram

In this post, you continue to learn Friulian through the book of Genesis; you will now study 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 (Gjenesi 1).

The Friulian Bible that you will read is made available by Glesie Furlane, in Bibie par un popul. You can read and listen to the Bible in Friulian by following the link.

Before you begin your study, you will need to access the text of the verses in Friulian; you can do so by following one of the links below, which will take you to the Bibie par un popul site:

Should the page linked above ever become unavailable, you will find an archived version of the text here.

Versets 1-2

Here you read that the Lord appeared unto Abram when he was ninety-nine years old; that is, cuant che al veve novantenûf agns. You will remember that the verb for to appear is comparî.

i comparì il Signôr
the Lord appeared unto him
the Lord appeared to 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 below my eyes)

viôt di jessi just
be sure to be just
be sure to be blameless

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

You encounter the expression fâ un pat again, which you now know well: to make 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

The expression butâsi par tiere can be understood as meaning to take to the ground (in deference); literally, to go down on the ground, to throw oneself on the ground. The text tells you that Abram threw himself to the ground cul cjâf (with his head; literally, with the head). You can understand that he put his face to the ground in deference.

Verset 4

God says:

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

Tu deventarâs is the second-person singular, futûr sempliç conjugation of the verb deventâ. Tu deventarâs pari means you will become (a) father.

That of which Abram will become a father is un grumon di popui. You will remember that i popui (peoples) is the plural of il popul (people).

The Friulian il grum means heap, pile. Un grumon di means a very large number of, a great quantity of.

un grum di
un grumon di

Examples from the Grant Dizionari Bilengâl Talian-Furlan (GDBtf):

pierdi un grum di bêçs
to lose a lot of money

lei un grum di libris
to read a lot of books

Pronunciation: In bêçs, the ç is not pronounced; bêçs sounds like bês. You will hear beçs pronounced in verse 12, if you listen to the video.

Verset 5

In this verse, you read that God changes Abram’s name to Abraham.

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

In the above, no ti clamaran translates literally as they will not call. The “they” in question here is an impersonal one, not a group of people in particular. You can understand no ti clamaran in the sense of one will not call or you will 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 (anymore), no longer (any longer).

il to non al sarà Abraham
your name will be Abraham

You may wish to review at this point the present indicative conjugation of the verb .

jo ti fâs pari
I make you (a) father

Verset 6

Before looking at this verse, it would be useful to better understand the meaning of trop (how many, how much). Here, again from the GDBtf, are examples of it:

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 have to 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?

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
literally, I shall make you increase not even you know how much

This is essentially a way of saying you cannot believe how much I shall make you great, you do not know how much I shall multiply you. You will remember that tu sâs (you know) is the second-person singular, presint indicatîf conjugation of the verb savê.

o fasarai di te popui
I shall make peoples of you

dal to çoc a saltaran fûr rês
from your stock will come kings
(that is, there will 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 stranger

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.

You will remember that par simpri means forever.

Verset 9

In this verse, you see that the Friulian text continues to use the old name Abram, rather than the new Abraham. I can only presume this to be the case because both Abram (אברם) and Abraham (אברהם) have been integrated into the Friulian language as Abram. If there is some other justification for it, I have been unable to ascertain it. It would seem to me that it would have been preferable to use Abraham in the Friulian text (it appeared in verse 5, so its use had already been established in the Friulian), as a transliteration of the Hebrew, so that the change in name would not have been lost. Regardless, from this point on, when the name Abram appears in the Friulian text, it will be translated in these English notes as Abraham:

Diu i disè a Abram
God said to Abraham

You will have guessed that the verb rispietâ means to respect.

tu tu varâs di rispietâ il gno pat
you will have to respect my covenant
(that is, you will have to observe my covenant)

Verset 10

You now come across a new usage: the adjective circuncidût (circumcised). Related to this adjective are la circuncision (circumcision) and circuncidi (to circumcise). Circumcision is the removal of il prepuzi (foreskin). Rather than il prepuzi, you will find the foreskin referred to by a more euphemistic term in the next verse.

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

che o vês di rispietâ
that you have to respect

You will remember that vadì means that is, that is to say.

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

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

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

Pronunciation: In the plural circuncidûts, the t is not pronounced. (It is of course pronounced in the singular circuncidût.) The final syllable of the plural circuncidûts is pronounced dûs.

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, and the foreskin is the ultime piel (last skin, final skin) of the member.

si fasarês taiâ l’ultime piel de nature
you will get cut the final skin of the member (that is, you will have your foreskin cut)

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

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

In Esodo 13:2, you will find an example of where la nature is used to refer euphemistically 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 here 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

As mentioned in the notes above for verse 4, bêçs is pronounced bês, which you will hear in the video. Recall that nassût is the past participle of the verb nassi (to be born).

di cualchi forest
from some stranger

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
it is; it is not

Verset 13

This verse begins with language rather similar to what was seen in the last verse; here, 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.

Chel (he, that one) in the above 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 will be marked in the flesh: segnât te vuestre cjar (marked in your flesh), and that it will be as an everlasting covenant: come un pat par in secula (as a covenant for evermore).

Verset 14

In this verse, God talks about the uncircumcised.

al sarà circuncidût
nol sarà circuncidût
he will be circumcised
he will not be circumcised

chel che nol sarà circuncidût
he who will not be circumcised
(that is, he who is not; will not have been circumcised)

The text continues with ven a stâi, which you will remember means that is, that is to say.

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

Broken down more literally:

i varan taiade l’ultime piel de nature
they will have cut his foreskin

il mascjo che no i varan taiade l’ultime piel de nature
literally, the male that they will not have cut his foreskin

He says that he who has not been circumcised will 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 will be cut off from his offspring

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

al à rispietât
nol à rispietât
he has respected
he has not respected

Verset 15

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

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

il so non al sarà Sare
her name will 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, futûr sempliç conjugation 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
literally, she will become peoples

The above is usually rendered in English as she will be (a mother of) nations.

rês di popui a saltaran fûr di jê
kings of peoples will come 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 in deference) 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 my note above in verse 9 about the continued use of the name Abram in the Friulian text.

You then read that Abraham spoke to himself: al diseve dentri di sè, which means he said (was saying) inside of himself. He says:

tu puedis dome crodi
can you just imagine
(literally, you can only believe)

se un om di cent agns al fâs fruts
a one-hundred-year-old man having children
(literally, if a man of one hundred years makes children)

e se Sare, ch’e cjamine par novante
and Sarah, who is in her ninetieth year
(literally, and if Sarah, who is walking on ninety)

e rive a parturî!
being able to give birth!
(literally, manages to give birth!)

The verb cjaminâ means to walk. In this verse, you find cjaminâ par novante, which you can understand as meaning to be in one’s ninetieth year.

In this verse, you encountered 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 (at least twice).

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

midiant di te
through you
in your presence

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

al pues
che al puedi
he is able
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 will name him Isaac

Verset 20

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

You can understand ancje par Ismael as meaning and as for Ishmael.

ancje par Ismael ti ai scoltât
and as for Ishmael I have listened to you

jo lu benedìs
I bless him

i darai dissendence
I shall give him a lineage

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

God says that Ishmael will beget twelve princes: al varà dodis princips (he will 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 that will 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 will bear unto you

Di chi a un an can be understood as meaning one year from now (literally, from here to one year). In cheste stagjon means in this season (to be understood here more as at this time, in this period). The Friulian for season is la stagjon.

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. In the context of this verse, you can understand slontanâsi as simply meaning to leave.

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

Diu si slontanà di Abram
God distanced himself from Abraham
God left Abraham

Verset 23

In the plural nassûts, the t is not pronounced. (It is of course pronounced in the singular nassût.) Nassûts sounds like nassûs.

Abram al cjapà so fi Ismael
Abraham took his son Ishmael

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

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

You will remember that jessi a stâ means to live, to reside, to dwell.

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

Observe how Friulian conveys the sense of what English does with his and their:

i taià la ultime piel de nature
ur taià la ultime piel de nature
he cut his foreskin (another male’s, not his own)
he cut their foreskin

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 (to) him

Versets 24-27

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

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

cuant che i taiarin l’ultime piel de nature
when they cut his foreskin

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

al fo circuncidût
a forin circuncidûts
he was circumcised
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