Friulian language series: Gjenesi 23, tombâl di Macpele

In the twenty-third chapter of the book of Genesis, Sarah dies and Abraham buys a piece of land to bury her. From the subject line of the chapter: il tombâl di Macpele (grave of Machpelah).

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Read Gjenesi 23

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Versets 1-2

Vocabulary: vivi (to live), un an (year), la vite (life), murî (to die), ven a stâi (that is to say), la tiere (land, earth), jentrâ (to go in, to enter), il lament (lament), fâ il lament (to mourn), vaî (to cry, to weep; to bewail, to mourn).

Verse 1: Sare e à vivût cent e vincjesiet agns: Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years. Review how to count in Friulian. Tancj a son stâts i agns de vite di Sare: that is how long Sarah lived; literally, that many were the years of life of Sarah.

Verse 2: Po Sare e murì a Kiriat-Arbe: then Sarah died in Kirjatharba. Ven a stâi a Ebron, te tiere di Canaan: that is to say, in Hebron, in the land of Canaan. Abram al jentrà par fâi il lament a Sare e par vaîle: Abraham went in to mourn and bewail her. Vaî means to cry; it can also take on the sense of to mourn. The past participle of vaî is vaiût. Supplementary examples of this verb: o ai vaiût dut il dì (I cried all day); al à tant vaiût sô mari muarte (he very much mourned his dead mother); la vedue e vaìve l’om (the widow mourned her husband); al vai di content (he is crying out of happiness). Supplementary examples of the verb murî: se no tu le curis, la plante e mûr (if you do not take care of it, the plant will die; literally, the plant dies; curâ, to take care of, to look after); il cjan nus è muart che al veve za dodis agns (the dog died on us for he was already twelve years old); mi fâs murî di ridi (he makes me die of laughter); une tradizion che e je daûr a murî (a tradition that is dying; jessi daûr a, to be in the process of).

Say the following in Friulian:

  1. you make me die of laughter
  2. you do not make me die of laughter
  3. you made me laugh
  4. you did not make me laugh
  5. Christ (Crist) died for our sins
  6. my father died on 27 April

Possible answers:

  1. (tu) tu mi fasis murî di ridi
  2. (tu) no tu mi fasis murî di ridi
  3. (tu) tu mi âs fat ridi
  4. (tu) no tu mi âs fat ridi
  5. Crist al è muart par i nestri pecjâts
  6. gno pari al è muart ai vincjesiet di avrîl

Versets 3-4

Vocabulary: slontanâsi (to distance oneself), il muart, la muarte (dead person), fevelâ (to speak), un itit (Hittite), il forest (foreigner, stranger), framieç di (amongst), il passaç (passage, journey), jessi di passaç (to be passing through), lassâ (to allow, to permit), comprâ (to buy), un teren (plot of land), podê (to be able, can), puartâ vie (to carry away, to take away), soterâ (to bury).

Verse 3: Po Abram si slontanà de muarte: Abraham then left his dead; literally, Abraham distanced himself from the dead woman. The Friulian for dead person is il muart (masculine) or la muarte (feminine). Related: The Friulian for death is la muart, examples of which include: la muart di une tradizion (the death of a tradition); salvâ cualchidun de muart (to save somebody from death); condanâ a muart (to sentence to death; condanâ, to condemn).

Verse 4: Jo o soi un forest framieç di vualtris e di passaç: I am a foreigner amongst you and passing through. Lassaitmi comprâ culì un teren: allow me to buy here a plot of land. Par podê puartâ vie il gno muart e soterâlu: in order to remove (carry away) my dead and bury it. In verse 3, the feminine muarte was used; you now find the masculine muart in this fourth verse, which must be taken in a generic sense without respect to gender. The verb soterâ is related to the Friulian sot and tiere; supplementary examples: soterâ un muart (to bury a dead person); il cjan al à soterât un vues (the dog buried a bone). Learn also the following: il cadavar (cadaver, corspe); il cuarp (body); cjatâ un cadavar (to find a dead body). Lassait is the second-person plural imperative of the verb lassâ. Review the following formations: lasse > lassimi (secon-person singular); lassait > lassaitmi (second-person plural).

Versets 5-6

Vocabulary: un itit (Hittite), rispuindi (to respond), il paron (lord), scoltâ (to listen), invezit (instead, rather), il princip (prince), framieç di (amongst), meti (to put, to place), il muart (dead person), il miôr di (the best of), il tombâl (grave, tomb), vilan (discourteous), rifudâ (to refuse), la tombe (grave, tomb).

Verse 6: You have now another example of the imperative: paron, scoltinus nô invezit ([my] lord, listen rather to us). The second-person singular imperative of scoltâ is scolte; the final e changes to i when nus is added: scoltinus. Tu tu sês un princip di Diu framieç di nô: you are a prince of God amongst us. Met il to muart tal miôr dai nestris tombâi: bury (put) your dead in the best of our graves. Nissun nol sarà tant vilan di rifudâti la sô tombe: nobody would be (will be) so discourteous as to refuse you his grave. In par che tu puedis soterâ il to muart (so that you might bury your dead; in order that you might bury your dead), the present subjunctive is used: par che requires it. That said, the second-person singular forms of the indicatîf presint and coniuntîf presint are in fact the same: tu tu puedis. The present indicative conjugation of podê has already been provided (see the Friulian verb conjugations page); study now the present subjunctive and imperfect subjunctive of podê, presented below.

Verb: PODÊ
Coniuntîf presint — coniuntîf imperfet
Present subjunctive — imperfect subjunctive

present subjunctive
imperfect subjunctive
o puedi
o podès
tu puedis
tu podessis
al puedi
al podès

e puedi
e podès

o podìn
o podessin
o podês
o podessis
a puedin
a podessin

Versets 7-9

Vocabulary: jevâ sù (to get up, to arise), butâsi par tiere (to take to the ground [in deference]), il sorestant (chief), jessi d’acuardi (to agree, to be in agreement), cjapâ sù (to gather, to pick up), meti une buine peraule (to intercede; literally, to put [in] a good word), cedi (to cede), il landri (cave), dapît di (at the end of), paiâ (to pay), su la brucje (in good money), valê (to be worth), la presince (presence), presince di (before, in the presence of), presince di vualtris (in your presence), tratâ di (to be question of), un puest (site, place).

Verse 7: Denant dai sorestants dal paîs: before the chiefs of the land.

Verse 8: Se vualtris o sês d’acuardi: if you agree; if you are in agreement. Un acuardi is the Friulian for agreement. For example, the expression rivâ a un acuardi means to reach an agreement. Jessi d’acuardi (or dacuardi) means to be in agreement. Two different senses that you have seen assigned to the expression cjapâ sù are to gather, as in the current verse; and to conceive, as seen in earlier chapters. In this verse, cjapâ sù il gno muart is to be taken as to gather my dead. You find two second-person plural imperatives: scoltaitmi (listen to me) and metêt (put). Of the verb meti, learn the following imperatives: met (put; second-person singular); metêt (put; second-person plural); metìn (let us put; first-person plural). Scoltaitmi e metêt une buine peraule par me cun Efron: listen to me and intercede for me with Ephron.

Verse 9: Che mi cedi il landri di Macpele: may he sell (cede) the cave of Machpelah to me. Al è so: it is his. Al è juste dapît dal cjamp: it is just at the end of the field. Al vâl is the masculine, third-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb valê (to be worth). O pai is the first-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb paiâ (to pay). You read: jo jal pai (I shall pay him for it; literally, I pay it unto him) su la brucje (in good money) chel che al vâl (that which it is worth). In a contemporary context, paiâ su la brucje can be taken as meaning to pay in cash; in the context of this verse, it can be taken as to pay in good money (that is, in silver). You saw jal in chart form alongside other contractions of similar nature in the notes for Gjenesi 22:1. Presince di vualtris: in your presence. Tratant di vê un puest par soterâ i miei muarts: in question of obtaining a site so as to bury my dead.

Versets 10-11

Vocabulary: jessi sentât (to be seated), framieç di (amongst), rispuindi (to respond), sintî (to hear), rivâ pe puarte (to arrive by the gate), la citât (city, town), il paron (lord), il cjamp (field), il landri (cave), jessi dapît (to be at the end), il regâl (gift), fâ un regâl (to give as a gift), devant di (before, in front of), il popul (people), soterâ (to bury).

Verse 10: Efron al jere sentât framieç dai itits: Ephron was seated amongst the Hittites. Efron l’itit i rispuindè a Abram che lu sintirin ducj i itits: Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham and all the Hittites heard him; more literally, the che here functions as does the English whom, as in: Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham whom all the Hittites heard (him). Ducj chei che a rivavin pe puarte de citât: all those who were entering by the gate of the town.

Verse 11: No, paron, scoltimi me: no, (my) lord, listen (rather) to me. The use of me here adds emphasis; compare: scoltimi (listen to me); scoltimi me (listen rather to me). You find two first-person singular forms of the presint indicatîf in this verse: jo o doi (I give) and jo o fâs (I do, I make). Jo ti doi il cjamp e ti doi ancje il landri che al è dapît: I give you the field and also the cave which is at the end of it. Ti fâs un regâl devant dai fîs dal gno popul: I give (it) to you as a gift before my people. Sotere li il to muart: bury your dead there.

Versets 12-13

Vocabulary: butâsi par tiere (to take to the ground [in deference]), denant di (before, in front of), la int (people), il paîs (land), fevelâ (to speak), sintî (to hear), scoltâ (to listen), il cjamp (field), paiâ (to pay), il plasê (pleasure, favour), fâ il plasê di (to do the favour [pleasure] of), tirâ i bêçs (to take the money).

Verse 12: Abram si butà par tiere denant di dute la int dal paîs: Abraham took to the ground (that is, he bowed down in deference) before all the people of the land.

Verse 13: I fevelà cussì a Efron che lu sintirin ducj: he spoke the following to Ephron and all heard him; literally, he spoke thus to Ephron whom all heard (him). Abraham asks: parcè mo no mi scoltistu? (why now do you not listen to me?). Abraham insists on paying and says: jo il cjamp tal pai (for the field, I shall pay [I pay] you for it). In verse 9, you encountered jal, which is a contraction of i + lu; you now meet tal, a contraction of ti + lu. You may remember having already encountered tal, when you came across tal zuri in Gjenesi 21:24. Fâs is the second-person singular imperative of the verb ; when mi is added, an i is interposed: fasimi il plasê di (do me the pleasure of) tirâ i bêçs (accepting the money). You will have understood that jo o soterarai is the first-person singular of the futûr sempliç of the verb soterâ. E dopo jo o soterarai il gno muart: and then I shall bury my dead.

Versets 14-15

Vocabulary: rispuindi (to respond), il paron (lord), scoltâ (to listen), invezit (rather, instead), il teren (piece of land), il siclo d’arint (shekel of silver), soterâ (to bury), il muart (dead person).

Verse 15: Ephron tells Abraham that the land (il teren) is worth cuatricent siclos d’arint (four hundred shekels of silver). He then asks: ce esal par nô doi? (what is that between the two of us?; literally, what is it for us two?); by this, Ephron suggests that the price should not hinder the exchange in any way, for Abraham has the means to pay. Sotere il to muart: bury your dead.

Verset 16

Vocabulary: cjatâsi d’acuardi (to find oneself in agreement), la propueste (proposal, offer), pesâ (to weigh), l’arint (silver), fevelâ (to speak), denant di (before, in front of), ven a stâi (that is to say), cuatricent (four hundred), il toc (piece, bit), il presit (price), valê (to be worth), sul marcjât (on the market).

Abraham agrees with Ephron’s offer: si cjatà d’acuardi su la propueste (literally, he found himself in agreement on [with regard to] the proposal). He then weighed the silver: Abram i pesà a Efron l’arint (Abraham weighed for Ephron the silver) che al veve fevelât (of which he had spoken) denant dai itits (before the Hittites). Ven a stâi cuatricent tocs d’arint: that is to say, four hundred pieces of silver. Al presit che a valevin sul marcjât: at the price that they were worth on the market; that is, at the going merchant’s rate.

Versets 17-20

Vocabulary: devant di (before, in front of), jentrâ pe puarte (to enter by the gate), la citât (city, town), deventâ paron di (to come into possession of; literally, to become owner of), il cjamp (field), in face di (before, facing), il landri (cave), un arbul (tree), il confin (border, confine), jessi par confin (to border, to confine), la tiere (land, earth), comprâ (to buy), aventi (there), fâ un tombâl (to make a grave), il muart (dead person).

Verse 17: Devant di ducj i itits: before all the Hittites.

Verse 18: Al deventà paron dal cjamp di Efron (he came into possession of the field of Ephron), che al è a Macpele (which is at Machpelah), in face di Mamre (facing Mamre), dal cjamp e dal landri (of the field and of the cave) che al è tal cjamp (which is in the field) e di ducj i arbui che a son par confin (and of all the trees that confine it).

Verse 19: In face di Mamre, che al sarès Ebron: facing Mamre, which is (would be) Hebron. Te tiere di Canaan: in the land of Canaan.

Verse 20: Al è cussì che Abram al comprà dai itits il cjamp e il landri che al è aventi: it is thus that Abraham bought from the Hittites the field and the cave that is there. Par fâdint un tombâl pai siei muarts: in order to make thereof a grave for his dead. Compare: fâ un tombâl (to make a grave); fâdint un tombâl (to make a grave of it; to make a grave thereof).