Friulian language series: Gjenesi 23, tombâl di Macpele

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

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Read Gjenesi 23

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 An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-2

You read that Sarah lived 127 years: cent e vincjesiet agns. Learn or review the following: il lament (lament), fâ il lament (to mourn), vaî (to cry, to weep). Place names appearing in these verses: Kiriat-Arbe (Kirjatharba), Ebron (Hebron), Canaan (Canaan).

Par fâi il lament a Sare e par vaîle can be understood as meaning in order to mourn Sarah and to cry for her. That said, both fâ il lament and vaî can be understood here as meaning to mourn.

The past participle of vaî is vaiût. More 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).

Following are also more 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).

Can you 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

Learn or review the following: slontanâsi (to distance oneself), il muart (corpse, dead person, dead body), la muarte (dead woman), un itit (Hittite), il forest (stranger, foreigner), framieç di (amongst), il passaç (passage, journey), jessi di passaç (to be passing through), comprâ (to buy), un teren (plot of land), puartâ vie (to take away), soterâ (to bury).

The Friulian for dead person, corpse is il muart (masculine) and la muarte (feminine). You find both in the text, and each refers to Sarah; the masculine il muart can be understood in this context in the generic sense of the dead.

The Friulian for death is la muart; for example: 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).

You may have perhaps been able to guess that the verb soterâ is related to the words sot and tiere; examples: soterâ un muart (to bury a dead person, to bury a corpse), il cjan al à soterât un vues (the dog buried a bone). You can also learn the following usages: il cadavar (cadaver, corspe), il cuarp (body), cjatâ un cadavar (to find a dead body).

You will recall that lassait is the second-person plural imperative form of the verb lassâ. In the text, you read: lassaitmi comprâ culì un teren (let me buy a piece of land here, allow me to buy a plot of land here). Review the following imperatives: lasse, lassimi; lassait, lassaitmi.

Versets 5-6

Learn or review the following: scoltâ (to listen), invezit (instead), il princip (prince), il miôr di (the best of), il tombâl (grave, tomb), vilan (uncivilised), rifudâ (to refuse), la tombe (grave, tomb).

You have another example now of the imperative: scoltinus nô invezit (listen to us instead). The second-person singular imperative of scoltâ is scolte; the final e changes to i when nus is added: scoltinus.

In the text, you read: nissun nol sarà tant vilan di rifudâti la sô tombe. You can understand this as meaning nobody would be so uncivilised as to refuse you his grave (literally, nobody will be so uncivilised as to refuse you his grave).

In par che tu puedis soterâ il to muart, the present subjunctive is used; par che requires it. That said, the second-person singular indicatîf presint and coniuntîf presint forms 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.

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

Learn or review the following: jevâ sù (to get up, to stand up), 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 put in a good word, to entreat), cedi (to cede), il landri (cave), dapît di (at the end of), paiâ (to pay), su la brucje (in ready cash, money in hand), 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 (spot, place). The following names appear: Efron (Ephron), Socar (Zohar), Macpele (Machpelah).

Two different senses that you have seen assigned to the expression cjapâ sù are to gather, as in the current portion of text; and to conceive, as seen in earlier chapters.

You find two second-person plural imperative forms in this portion of text: 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).

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 to him) su la brucje (in ready cash) chel che al vâl (that which it is worth). You saw jal in chart form alongside other contractions of similar nature in the notes for Gjenesi 22:1.

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. In the text, you read: se vualtris o sês d’acuardi (if you agree) che jo o cjapi sù il gno muart (that I gather my dead) e che lu soteri (and that I bury it).

Versets 10-11

Vocabulary: jessi sentât (to be seated), framieç di (amongst), sintî (to hear), rivâ pe puarte (to arrive by the gate), il cjamp (field), il regâl (gift), fâ un regâl (to give as a gift).

You find two first-person singular forms of the presint indicatîf in these verses: jo o doi (I give) and jo o fâs (I do, I make). More precisely, you find jo ti doi il cjamp (I give the field to you) and ti fâs un regâl (I give [it] to you as a gift, it is a gift from me; literally, I make unto you a gift).

You will have understood that sotere is the second-person singular imperative form of the verb soterâ.

Versets 12-13

Vocabulary: il plasê (pleasure, favour), fâ il plasê di (to do the pleasure of, to do the favour of), tirâ (to collect; literally, to pull), i bêçs (money).

Abraham asks: parcè mo no mi scoltistu? (why then do you not listen to me?).

(tu) tu mi scoltis
(tu) no tu mi scoltis
parcè no mi scoltistu?

Abraham insists on paying and says: jo il cjamp tal pai (I shall pay you for it; literally, I pay it to you). Above, you saw jal, which is a contraction of i + lu; you now find tal, a contraction of ti + lu. You may remember having recently encountered tal, when you read tal zuri (I swear it to you), in Gjenesi 21:24.

The second-person singular imperative form of is fâs; when mi is added, an i is interposed: fasimi il plasê di (do me the pleasure of, do me the favour of).

You will have understood that jo o soterarai is the first-person singular of the futûr sempliç of the verb soterâ.

Versets 14-15

Ephron tells Abraham that the land is worth cuatricent siclos d’arint (four hundred shekels of silver). Un siclo is a shekel. He then says: ce esal par nô doi? (what is that between the two of us?; literally, what is it for us two?). With this question, Ephron is suggesting that the price should not hinder the exchange in any way for Abraham has the means to pay it.

Verset 16

Vocabulary: la propueste (proposal, offer), pesâ (to weigh), il presit (price), sul marcjât (on the market).

You read that Abraham agreed with Ephron’s offer: si cjatà d’acuardi su la propueste (literally, he found himself in agreement on the proposal; that is, he agreed with the offer). 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).

You will recall that il toc means piece, bit. The verse ends with: cuatricent tocs d’arint (four hundred pieces of silver) al presit che a valevin (at the price that they were worth) sul marcjât (on the market).

Versets 17-20

Other than the following usages contained in them, these last four verses should present little problem to you: il confin (border), jessi par confin (to border, to be bordering), fâdint (to make of it). You have not seen aventi since Gjenesi 13:7, but you will perhaps recall that it means there.