Friulian language series: Gjenesi 28, avôt di Jacop

In chapter 28 of the book of Genesis, Jacob has a dream. The Friulian for dream is il sium; to have a dream is fâ un sium. You will study the entirety of the twenty-eighth chapter in this post, where the subject is l’avôt di Jacop (Jacob’s vow).

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

Read Gjenesi 28

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 An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-4

Vocabulary: precetâ (to order, to enjoin), partî (to leave), sielzisi (to choose for oneself), cressi (to grow), fin che (until), deventâ (to become), la semblee (assembly, multitude). You have already encountered all the names in these verses; you will recall that El-Shadai is one of the Hebrew names of God usually rendered in English as God Almighty.

In verse 1, Isaac tells Jacob that he must never marry a Canaanite: no sta mai cjoli (do not ever take) une femine di chês di Canaan (a wife from [amongst] those of Canaan). Then, in verse 2, he tells him to leave for Padan Aram: partìs e va a Padan-Aram (leave and go to Padan Aram), and to take a wife from there: e sielgiti une femine di là vie (and choose for yourself a wife from there).

You have three second-person singular imperative forms in verse 2: partìs (leave), va (go) and sielziti (choose for yourself). The second-person singular imperative of the verb sielzi is sielç (choose); when ti is added, the resulting form is sielziti (choose for yourself). An i is inserted before ti, causing the final ç to change quality and become z.

Take some time to learn the present indicative conjugation of the verb partî, which you will find below.

Presint indicatîf
Present indicative

o partìs
tu partissis
al partìs

e partìs

o partìn
o partîs
a partissin

All the conjugated verbs of verse 3 are in the present subjunctive: che El-Shadai ti benedissi (may El-Shaddai bless you), che ti fasi cressi (may he make you grow, may he increase you) e ti multiplichi tant (and may he multiply you greatly) fin che tu deventis (until you become) une semblee di popui (a multitude of peoples).

More subjunctive forms are found in verse 4: che ti dedi (may he give you) and par che tu sedis paron de tiere là che tu sês a stâ (so that you may be lord of the land where you live).

al benedìs
che al benedissi
he blesses
may he bless

al fâs
che al fasi
he makes
may he make

al multipliche
che al multiplichi
he multiplies
may he multiply

tu deventis
fin che tu deventis
you become
until you become

al da
che al dedi
he gives
may he give

tu sês
par che tu sedis
you are
so that you may be

Versets 5-9

Vocabulary: saludâ (to take leave of), partî par (to leave for), un arameu (Aramean), mandâ (to send), cjatâsi (to find for oneself), intant che (whilst), dâ un ordin (to give an order), scoltâ (to listen to), capî (to understand), cjalâ di svuec (to look askance at, to disapprove of), lâ di Ismael (to go unto Ishmael). Names: Macalat (Mahalath), Nebaiot (Nebajoth).

You find a number of trapassât prossim forms: in verse 6, al veve benedît Jacop (he had blessed Jacob), lu veve mandât a Padan-Aram (he had sent him to Padan Aram) and i veve dât chest ordin (he had given him this order); in verse 7, Jacop al veve scoltât so pari (Jacob had listened to his father) and al jere partît par Padan-Aram (he had left for Padan Aram).

al à benedît Jacop
al veve benedît Jacop
he has blessed Jacob
he had blessed Jacob

lu à mandât a Padan-Aram
lu veve mandât a Padan-Aram
he has sent him to Padan Aram
he had sent him to Padan Aram

i à dât chest ordin
i veve dât chest ordin
he has given him this order
he had given him this order

Jacop al à scoltât so pari
Jacop al veve scoltât so pari
Jacob has listened to his father
Jacob had listened to his father

al è partît par Padan-Aram
al jere partît par Padan-Aram
he has left for Padan Aram
he had left for Padan Aram

The trapassât prossim informs you that the past event in question occurred before another past event. For example, in verse 6, you read: Esaù al viodè che Isac al veve benedît Jacop (Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob). First, Isaac blessed Jacob; then, Esau saw it. The use of the trapassât prossim in al veve benedît places this action farther back in time than that of Esau’s seeing, expressed as al viodè, using the passât sempliç.

You will have recognised intant che lu benedive (whilst he was blessing him), from verse 6, as being the third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf.

In verse 9, you can understand in plui di chês che al veve as meaning in addition to the ones he (already) had; that is, Esau took Macalat (Mahalath) to be his third wife, in addition to the two wives he already had, Gjudit (Judith) and Basemat (Bashemath).

Versets 10-12

Vocabulary: lassâ (to leave), par cumbinazion (by chance), rivâ (to arrive), cert (certain; also spelt ciert), il lûc (site, place), fermâsi (to stop oneself), passâ la gnot (to spend the night), il soreli (sun), za (already), lâ a mont (to set [of the sun]), cjapâ sù (to pick up), la piere (stone, rock), il santuari (shrine, sanctuary), sot dal cjâf (under his head), distirâsi par tiere (to lie oneself down on the ground), il sium (dream), fâ un sium (to have a dream), la scjale (ladder), cui pîts par tiere (with its feet on the ground; pîts refers here to the legs of the ladder), rivâ fint in cîl (to reach heaven, to arrive all the way in heaven), un agnul (angel), lâ sù e jù (to go up and down).

In these verses, you read that Jacob leaves for Haran. He spends the night in a certain spot: intun cert lûc. Cert is employed here to be imprecise. Here are a few more examples of it, using the standard spelling ciert instead: une cierte persone (a certain person), ti à cirût un ciert siôr (a certain gentleman was looking for you, asked for you; or, more crudely perhaps, some man asked for you), cierte int no mi plâs (I do not like certain people).

Jacob had a dream: al fasè un sium, and, in his dream, he saw a ladder: al viodè une scjale. The ladder reached heaven: la scjale e rivave fint in cîl, and, on the ladder, the angels of God were going up and down: i agnui di Diu a levin sù e jù. A levin is the third-person plural of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb lâ. You will find the entire imperfet indicatîf conjugation of through the Friulian verb conjugations page, if you wish to review it.

Versets 13-15

Vocabulary: presentâsi (to present oneself, to show up), devant di lui (before him, in front of him), il von (grandfather, forefather), durmî (to sleep), il pulvin (dust), slargjâsi (to extend oneself, to spread oneself), a soreli a mont (to the west), a soreli jevât (to the east), a miegegnot (to the north; also written a miezegnot), a misdì (to the south), il forest (foreigner, stranger, outsider), vuardâ (to keep, to protect, to guard), par dut là che (everywhere that), menâ dongje (to bring back), tornâ a menâ dongje (to bring back again), bandonâ (to abandon), fintremai che (until), imprometi (to promise).

In verse 13, you find the noun il von, meaning grandfather. Review the names for family members in Friulian (see the last paragraph of the notes for verse 12).

In verse 13, you read: la tiere che tu duarmis (the land where you sleep). Tu tu duarmis is the second-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb durmî (to sleep). Below, you will find the present indicative conjugation of durmî in chart form. The past participle of durmî is durmît. Know also these three imperative forms of the verb: duar (sleep; second-person singular), durmìn (let us sleep; first-person plural), durmît (sleep; second-person plural).

Presint indicatîf
Present indicative

o duar
tu duarmis
al duar

e duar

o durmìn
o durmîs
a duarmin

More examples of the verb durmî: o vin durmît pôc (we have slept little), lâ a durmî (to go to sleep, to go to bed), durmî in bande (to sleep on one’s side), durmî in schene (to sleep on one’s back), un discors che al fâs durmî (a speech that puts you to sleep), durmî cu la femine (to sleep with one’s wife), e je lade a durmî cun chel (she went to sleep with him; that is, they had sexual intercourse). From Gjenesi 19:32, you will perhaps remember having read: po o lin a durmî cun lui (then we shall go to sleep with him; literally, then we go to sleep with him), from the time when Lot’s daughters inebriated him with wine and had intercourse with him.

In verse 14, the Lord tells Jacob that he will extend in all four directions: tu ti slargjarâs a soreli a mont (you will extend yourself to the west) e a soreli jevât (and to the east), a miegegnot (to the north) e a misdì (and to the south). You will have perhaps recognised the word for north here as literally meaning midnight, and that for south as meaning midday.

In verse 15, you read: jo no ti bandonarai (I shall not abandon you) fintremai che no varai fat (until I have done; literally, until I shall have done) dut ce che ti ai imprometût (everything that I have promised you). O varai fat (I shall have done) is the first-person singular of the futûr anterior of the verb fâ. You will find the entire conjugation of the verb in this tense through the Friulian verb conjugations page.

Versets 16-18

Vocabulary: dopo di (after), jevâ sù (to get up), propit culì (right here), savê (to know), cjapâ pôre (to take a fright), trement (awesome), ce trement (how awesome), la puarte (door, gate), jevât prin dal dì ([having] got up early), poiâ (to support), il cjâf (head), meti in pîts (to set afoot, to put to use), il colonel (pillar), usance un colonel (as a pillar), ongi (to anoint, to grease, to smear, to daub [with oil]; also expressed as unzi), parsore vie (on top), il vueli (oil).

You will have recognised jo no savevi in verse 16 as being the negated, first-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb savê. At the end of the notes for this section, you will find savê conjugated in the imperfect indicative, for your reference. Jacob says: il Signôr al jere propit culì e jo no savevi (the Lord was right here and I did not know). The reason the imperfet indicatîf is used here and not, say, the passât prossim, is because Jacob’s not knowing extended over a certain amount of time in the past. Jo no savevi could be translated more literally in English as I was not knowing or even, in other contexts, I used to not know. To take another example, al fevelà means he spoke (at a specific moment), whereas al fevelave means he was speaking (over a period of time: moments, hours, etc.).

Compare now the following:

o savevi
I was knowing
I used to know

o ai savût
I found out

Using the passât prossim of the verb savê conveys the sense of to come to know, to find out. What is understood is that the knowing came at a specific moment in the past. Examples: o ai savût che doman al è un sciopar (I found out that there is a strike tomorrow), daspò, âstu savût nuie di chê propueste di lavôr? (have you not found out anything then about that job offer?).

In verse 17, Jacob then says: ce trement che al è chest santuari (how awesome is this shrine). Trement can also take on the sense of frightful; in this context, Jacob has experienced fear mixed with reverence. He says: cheste e je propit la cjase di Diu (this is the very house of God) e la puarte dal cîl (and the gate of heaven).

In verse 18, you read: al cjolè la piere (he took the stone) che al veve poiât il cjâf (with which he had supported his head) e le metè in pîts usance un colonel (and he set it afoot as a pillar) e le ongè parsore vie cul vueli (and anointed it on top with oil). To smear, to daub, to anoint (with oil) is expressed in Friulian with the verb unzi (found in the text as ongi); unzi cul vueli or ongi cul vueli means to cover in oil, to smear with oil, to anoint with oil, etc. The anointing of the stone with oil was a symbolic gesture meant to consecrate the spot where God had manifested himself to Jacob.

Verb: SAVÊ
Imperfet indicatîf
Imperfect indicative

o savevi
tu savevis
al saveve

e saveve

o savevin
o savevis
a savevin

Versets 19-22

Vocabulary: clamâ (to call), prime (before, previously), un avôt (vow), fâ un avôt (to make a vow), jessi de mê bande (to be on my side, to be with me), tignî vuardât (to keep, to guard; literally, to keep guarded), il viaç (journey, voyage), lassâ mancjâ (to allow to lack, to let go without), il toc di pan (piece of bread), la munture (garments, clothing; also expressed as monture), taponâsi (to cover oneself), dâ la gracie di (to make the concession of), tornâ san e salf (to return safe and sound), paiâ (to pay), fin tal ultin (for everything), la decime (one tenth). Name: Luz (Luz).

In verse 20, you can understand se Diu […] mi ten vuardât tal viaç che o stoi fasint as meaning if God keeps me protected on this journey that I am undertaking. Fasint is the present participle of fâ; o stoi fasint means I am doing, I am making and is used here as part of the expression fâ un viaç (to make a trip, to undertake a journey, etc.).

You will have recognised the first-person singular of the futûr sempliç in o paiarai (I shall pay), from the verb paiâ.