Friulian language series: Genesis 29

In chapter 29 of the book of Genesis, Jacob takes two wives. You will now study the entirety of Gjenesi 29 through the Friulian language, where the subject is Lie e Rachêl (Leah and Rachel) and a nassin i fîs di Jacop (Jacob’s sons are born). You will recall that the Friulian verb nassi means to be born; a nassin is its third-person plural, presint indicatîf conjugation.

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Should the page linked above ever become unavailable, you will find an archived version of the text here.

Letôr: Adriano Degano

Versets 1-4

From these first four verses, learn or review the following Friulian usages: metisi in viaç (to set off), partî de bande di (to leave for, to go towards), la jevade (rising; used here in the sense of east), scrufuiât (huddled, crouched), la mandrie (herd, flock), minût (small), imbeverâ (to give water to [of animals]), imbeverâsi (to drink [of animals]), il nemâl (beast, animal), la piere (stone, rock), sierâ (to close, to seal), dâsi dongje (to come together, to accumulate), il pastôr (shepherd), rodolâ (to roll), taponâ (to cover), dontri (from where). Name: Caran (Haran).

You read that Jacob sets off “towards the sons of the east.” He sees a well, which you will recall is un poç in Friulian; next to the well were three flocks of sheep. The concept of flocks of sheep is expressed in the text as mandriis di robe minude, where minude is the feminine form of minût, meaning small. You have seen before that cattle and sheep are often expressed in the Friulian text as besteam grant (cattle) and besteam minût (sheep). The flocks were crouched down (that is, lying down), or scrufuiadis, which is the feminine plural form of scrufuiât.

The verb imbeverâ means to give water to. In verse 3, you read: i pastôrs […] a imbeveravin i nemâi (the shepherds gave water to the animals; the shepherds let the animals drink). With reference to animals, the reflexive verb imbeverâsi means to drink, to take water. In verse 2, you read: al jere in chel poç che a levin a imbeverâsi i nemâi (it was at that well that animals went to drink). A levin is the third-person plural, imperfet indicatîf conjugation of the verb lâ.

A new verb appears in verse 3: rodolâ (to roll). You read: i pastôrs a rodolavin la piere ch’e taponave il poç (the shepherds rolled the stone that covered the well). In verses 2 and 3, you read that the stone kept the well shut, using the verbs sierâ (to close, to seal) and taponâ (to cover): la piere ch’e sierave il poç (the stone that closed the well, the stone that sealed the well) and la piere ch’e taponave il poç (the stone that covered the well).

In verse 4, Jacob asks the shepherds: fradis miei, dontri sêso po? (my brothers, where then are you from?). Dontri means from where; sêso is the interrogative form of o sês (you are; second-person plural). This is not the first time that you are encountering dontri; you may remember it from Gjenesi 16:8, when you read dontri venstu? (where are you from?), asked of Hagar by the angel. Dontri can also be expressed as di dulà, for example: di dulà vegnistu? (where are you arriving from?), di dulà sêstu? (where are you from?). The shepherds respond: o sin di Caran (we are from Haran).

Review the following: dulà sêstu? (where are you?), di dulà sêstu? (where are you from?), di dulà vegnistu?, dontri vegnistu? (where are you coming from?, from where are you arriving?), dulà vivistu?, indulà vivistu?, dulà che tu vivis? (where do you live?).

Versets 5-8

From these next four verses, learn or review the following: cognossi (to know, to be acquainted with), stâ ben (to be well), il trop (flock), ancjemò (still), no je ore (it is not time), menâ dentri (to bring in), il passon (pasture, grazing), in chê volte (at that time). Name: Rachêl (Rachel).

Jacob asks the shepherds if they know Laban: cognossêso Laban? (do you know Laban?). They answer: lu cognossìn (we know him). Note that you cannot use the verb savê (to know) to talk about being acquainted with a person: use instead the verb cognossi (to know, to be acquainted with). Below, you will find the entire present indicative conjugation of the verb cognossi, for your reference.

Presint indicatîf
Present indicative

o cognòs
tu cognossis
al cognòs

e cognòs

o cognossìn
o cognossês
a cognossin

In verse 6, Jacob asks the shepherds if Laban is well: staial ben? (is he well?). The expression used here is stâ ben, meaning to be well. The verb stâ has come up many times in your reading, but you have not seen its full present indicative conjugation yet; take a moment to review it now:

Verb: STÂ
Presint indicatîf
Present indicative

o stoi
tu stâs
al sta

e sta

o stin
o stais
a stan

From the Grant Dizionari Bilengâl Talian-Furlan (GDBtf), here are more examples using the verb stâ: parcè stâstu li in pîts? (why are you standing there?), cîr di stâ fer cinc minûts (try to be still for five minutes), stâ in diete (to be on a diet), il miedi al à dite che tu âs di stâ tal jet par trê dîs (the doctor has said that you have to stay in bed for three days), cemût stâstu? (how are you?). In the sense of to be, stâ expresses a temporary physical or psychological condition, whereas jessi expresses a permanent quality.

In verse 7, Jacob says: al è ancjemò dì (it is still day) e no je ore di menâ dentri i nemâi (and it is not time to bring in the animals). He continues: imbeverait lis bestiis (give water to the beasts) e tornait a passon (and return to pasture). Both imbeverait and tornait are second-person plural imperative forms.

In verse 8, you can understand dome in chê volte o imbeverarìn lis bestiis as meaning only then shall we give water to the beasts, only at that moment shall we let the animals drink, etc. O imbeverarìn is the first-person plural of the futûr sempliç.

Versets 9-13

Learn or review the following: resonâ (to talk, to speak), la pastore (shepherdess), a pene che (as soon as), il barbe (uncle), lâ dongje (to go near), il besteam (livestock), bussâ (to kiss), tacâ a vaî (to start to cry), la parintât (relation), vê parintât cun (to be related to; literally, to have relation with), cori (to run), sintî (to hear), tratâsi di (to be question of), il nevôt (nephew), vignî incuintri (to come up to, to come towards), di dute corse (very quickly, in a rush, hurriedly), vignî incuintri di dute corse (to run up to, to hurry towards), il bracecuel (hug), cjapâ a bracecuel (to hug, to embrace), colmâ (to fill), la bussade (kiss), colmâ di bussadis (to cover in kisses), menâ dentri in cjase (to bring into the house), contâ (to tell, to relate), sucedi (to happen).

In verse 9, you read: al stave ancjemò resonant cun lôr che e rivà Rachêl (he was still speaking with them when Rachel arrived). Resonant is the present participle of the verb resonâ; al stave resonant expresses the ongoing nature of the speaking, as in he was speaking. Al stave is the imperfet indicatîf conjugation of the verb stâ.

You read that Rachel was a shepherdess: e faseve la pastore. Two things of note here: pastore as the feminine form of pastôr; and the use of in the expression fâ la pastore (to be a shepherdess). From the GDBtf, another example of this use of to talk about one’s trade: so pari al faseve il marangon (his father was a carpenter).

In verse 12, note how Jacob tells Rachel that they are related: i contà a Rachêl che al veve parintât cun so pari (he told Rachel that he was related to her father). Vê parintât cun translates literally as to have relation with. You will recall that the Friulian for uncle is il barbe; nephew is il nevôt.

After Rachel hears of the relation between her and Jacob, she rushes to tell her father: jê alore e corè a dîjal a sô pari (she then ran off to tell [it] to her father). You will have recognised dîjal as meaning to tell it, to say it; it is a combination of + i + lu (to say + to him + it). The “it” in question is what Rachel had just learned.

In verse 13, tratâsi di means to be (a) question of. You read: cuant che al sintì che si tratave di so nevôt (when he heard that it was question of his nephew). Another example from the GDBtf: si trate di vite o di muart (it is a question of life or death).

You read how Laban received his nephew: lu cjapà a bracecuel (he hugged him), lu colmà di bussadis (he covered him in kisses). You will recall that the Friulian noun for kiss is la bussade; the Friulian verb for to kiss, which you find an example of in verse 11, is bussâ.

Versets 14-19

Learn or review the following: il vues (bone), la cjar (flesh), restâ (stay), il mês (month), intîr (entire), midiant che (given that), fâ il famei (to be a servant), par dibant (for nothing), trop (how much), vê non (to be named), smavit (blurred, subdued, faded), ben fate (beautiful [of the body, outline]; literally, well made), biele di muse (beautiful [of the face]), volê ben (to love), par siet agns (for seven years), zovin (young), miei (better), simpri miei ([it is] better [to]), il forest (outsider, stranger), restâ cun (to stay with). Name: Lie (Leah).

Laban says that Jacob is his bone and flesh: tu sês propit il gno vuès (you are indeed my bone) e la mê cjar (and my flesh). You will perhaps remember a similar wording from Gjenesi 2:23, when Adam says of Eve: e je vuès dai miei vues (she is bone of my bones) e cjar de mê cjar (and flesh of my flesh).

Laban then says that because they are related, Jacob must not serve him for nothing; he asks Jacob to tell him what his wages are: disimi tu trop che o ai di dâti (tell me how much I have to give you). Jacob asks to take Rachel as wife, who was more beautiful than her sister Leah; he offers to serve Laban for seven years before taking her. You read that Leah had subdued eyes: vôi smavits, but that Rachel was more beautiful in both outline and face: e jere plui ben fate e biele di muse.

In verse 18, you find the expression volê ben, meaning to love; note the use of the preposition a with it. You read: Jacop i voleve ben a Rachêl (Jacob loved Rachel).

In verse 19, Laban takes Jacob up on his offer of seven years’ service in exchange for Rachel; he says: simpri miei dâle a un di cjase (it is better to give her to one of the house) che no a di un forest (than to a stranger). Un di cjase can be understood as meaning family member.

Versets 20-25

Learn or review the following: sicheduncje (therefore), siet agns di file (seven years straight), semeâ (to seem; also expressed as someâ), cualchi (a few, several), cualchi dì (a few days), il timp (time), spirâ (to expire, to come to an end), lassâ (to let, to allow), vivi (to live), clamâ dongje (to call together), la int (people), il lûc (spot, place, site), il nuviçâr (wedding reception), sore sere (in the evening), menâ di (to bring to), cedi (to cede, to release, to give), la sierve (handmaid), servî (to serve), tal indoman (the following day), a buinore (in the morning), jessi d’acuardi (to agree, to be in agreement), imbroiâ (to fool, to dupe, to trick). Name: Zilpe (Zilpah).

Jacob spends seven years as Laban’s servant; you read that these seven years were not difficult for Jacob: i semearin cualchi dì (they seemed to him a few days) cul ben che i voleve (with how much he loved her). In other words, Jacob loved Rachel so much that the seven years spent serving Laban seemed like only a few days to him. Note that a noun following cualchi (a few, several) is expressed in the singular: cualchi dì (a few days), cualchi libri (a few books), cualchi cjase (a few houses), etc., unlike in English where the plural is used.

The noun il nuviçâr (wedding reception) is related to two more nouns: il nuviç (groom), la nuvice (bride). You can also learn the following: la nuvice di vuere (war bride), il vistît di nuvice (wedding dress).

In verse 23, you read that Laban gives Leah, not Rachel, to Jacob. You can understand chel al lè cun jê as meaning that Jacob had sexual relations with Leah. Then, in verse 24, you read: Laban i cedè la sô sierve Zilpe (Laban gave her [Leah] his handmaid Zilpah) par ch’e servìs sô fie Lie (so that she would serve his daughter Leah). After par che, you will recall that the subjunctive is used; e servìs (from the verb servî) is the feminine, third-person singular of the coniuntîf imperfet.

Jacob sees that the sister given to him is not Rachel but Leah; in verse 25, you read: tal indoman a buinore (the following day in the morning, the following morning), ve ch’e jere Lie (behold it was Leah). Jacob questions Laban: ce mi âstu fat? (what have you done to me?) and parcè mi âstu imbroiât? (why have you tricked me?, why have you fooled me?).

Versets 26-30

From these five verses, learn or review the following Friulian usages: chi di nô (here amongst us), la usance (custom), maridâ (to marry [someone], to marry off, to unite in marriage), maridâsi (to get married), lassâ passâ (to let pass, to allow to go by), la setemane (week), lis gnocis (wedding), il servizi (service), finî (to finish), sposâ (to marry [someone], to marry off, to unite in marriage), sposâsi (to get married), durmî cun (to sleep with). Name: Bile (Bilhah).

In verse 26, Laban explains that it is not their custom to marry off the youngest daughter (Rachel) before the oldest (Leah). He says: chi di nô (here amongst us) no je la usance (it is not the custom) di maridâ la plui zovine (to marry off the youngest [daughter]) prime de plui grande (before the eldest [daughter]).

Laban tells Jacob he will give him Rachel after another seven years of service: lasse passâ cheste setemane di gnocis (let this wedding week go by) e jo ti darai ancje chê altre (and I shall also give you the other one [the other daughter]) pal servizi che tu fasarâs in cjase mê (for the service that you will perform in my house) par altris siet agns (for another seven years).

The reflexive verbs maridâsi and sposâsi both mean to get married. As for maridâ and sposâ, these verbs can be used in the sense of to marry (someone), to marry off, to unite in marriage. Examples from the GDBtf: si maridaran a Jugn (they will get married in June), e à decidût di maridâ il so morôs (she has decided to marry her boyfriend), ju sposà il sindic de citât (the mayor of the city joined them in marriage).

In verse 30, you read that Jacob had relations with Rachel, and that he loved her more than Leah: i voleve plui ben a Rachêl che no a Lie (he loved Rachel more than Leah).

Versets 31-35

Learn or review the following Friulian usages from these final five verses of the chapter: lassâ di bande (to cast aside), cjapâ sù (to conceive), a la cuâl che (whereas), restâ sterpe (to remain barren, to remain childless), parturî un frut (to give birth to a child), meti non a (to name), la streme (affliction), tornâ a cjapâ sù (to conceive again), cjapâ sù indaûr (to conceive again), chest viaç (this time), cjalâ (to look; used here in the sense of to consider), la glorie (glory), dâi glorie a Diu (to praise God; literally, to give glory to God). Names: Ruben (Reuben), Simeon (Simeon), Levi (Levi), Gjude (Judah).

Leah knows that Jacob did not have same affection for her as for her sister Rachel. You read that she was lassade di bande, or cast aside. She conceives four times; you will recall that the Friulian for to conceive is expressed in the text as cjapâ sù. You can read more about the Friulian expression cjapâ sù here.

After having given birth to her first son, Leah says: cumò il gno om mi volarà ben (now my husband will love me). After the birth of her second son, she says: il Signôr al à capît che o jeri lassade di bande (the Lord understood that I had been cast aside). After the birth of her third son, she says: chest viaç mo il gno om mi cjalarà (now this time indeed my husband will consider me), che i ai dâts trê fruts (for I have given him three boys). Finally, after the birth of her fourth son, she praises God by naming him Judah; she says: cumò i darai glorie a Diu (now I shall praise God).