Friulian language series: Gjenesi 30, imbroi di Jacop

Chapter 30 of the book of Genesis in Friulian is a challenging read; you will come across a great deal of new vocabulary. As usual, this vocabulary has been summarised in each of the groupings below. The subject of this thirtieth chapter is l’imbroi di Jacop (Jacob’s scheme). You will recognise the noun imbroi as being related to the verb imbroiâ, meaning to trick, to fool, to dupe, and which you have encountered a number of times already in your readings.

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Read Gjenesi 30

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 An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-8

Vocabulary: rivâ a fâ (to manage to do), gjelôs (jealous; also expressed as zelôs, gelôs), murî (to die), inrabiâsi cuintri di (to get angry with), rifudâ (to refuse, to prevent; also expressed as refudâ), deventâ mari (to become a mother), la sierve (female servant, handmaid), in mût che (so that), parturî (to give birth), il genoli (knee; also spelled zenoli), midiant di (by way of, through), vê fruts (to have children), cjoli par femine (to take as a wife), cjapâ sù (to conceive), la justizie (justice), fâ justizie (to render justice), scoltâ (to listen), par chel (for that reason), tornâ a cjapâ sù (to conceive again), lotâ cuintri di (to fight with, to struggle against), vinci (to win, to prevail). Names: Dan (Dan), Neftali (Naphtali).

In verse 1, you read that Rachel, who was still without child, had become jealous of her sister Leah: viodint che no rivave a dâi fruts a Jacop (upon seeing that she was unable to give Jacob children; upon seeing that she had not managed to give Jacob children), e deventà gjelose di sô sûr (she became jealous of her sister). She tells her husband: se no tu mi dâs fruts ancje a mi, o mûr (if you do not give children to me as well, I shall die; literally, I die). O mûr (I die) is the first-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb murî.

Review the following:

tu tu dâs
tu dâs
you give

tu no tu dâs
no tu dâs
you do not give

tu tu mi dâs
tu mi dâs
you give me

tu no tu mi dâs
no tu mi dâs
you do not give me

se no tu mi dâs fruts ancje a mi
if you do not give me children as well

Here are supplementary examples of the adjective zelôs, which is the Friulian for jealous (you find the variant gjelôs in the text): un morôs zelôs (a jealous boyfriend), la sô femine e je masse zelose (his wife is too jealous), peraulis zelosis (jealous words), e je zelose de sûr plui piçule (she is jealous of her little sister), al è zelôs des cualitâts di chei altris (he is jealous of the qualities of others; la cualitât, quality).

Below, for your reference, you will find the entire present indicative conjugation of the verb murî.

Verb: MURÎ
Presint indicatîf
Present indicative

o mûr
tu mueris
al mûr

e mûr

o murìn
o murîs
a muerin

Jacob becomes angry with Rachel because, as he reminds her, he is not the Lord whose decision it was to have her be without child. The Fruilian inrabiâsi means to get angry; you find it used in verse 2 with cuintri di, in the expression inrabiâsi cuintri di (to get angry with; literally, to get angry against). You will recall that the Friulian adjective for angry is rabiât or inrabiât. Jacob says to Rachel: sojo jo il Signôr (am I the Lord), che ti à rifudât di deventâ mari (who has prevented you from becoming a mother)? You know that the interrogative form of o soi is soio; in the text, you find the variant spelling sojo, pronounced the same way as soio.

In verse 3, you read that Rachel tells Jacob to have relations with the handmaid Bilhah so that she might have a child through her. In this verse, you can understand va cun jê, which translates literally as go with her, as meaning have sexual relations with her. This usage appears again in verse 4, where you read: Jacop al lè cun jê (Jacob went with her; that is, Jacob had sexual relations with her). Rachel says that the handmaid will give birth on her (Rachel’s) knees: sui miei genôi (on my knees). The Friulian noun for knee is il zenoli; its plural form is i zenoi. You find the variant spelling genôi (knees) in the text, from the singular il genoli (knee).

The verb lotâ appears for the first time in verse 8. Lotâ cuintri di means to fight against; fâ lotâ cuintri di, as you find in this verse, means to make fight against, to cause to fight against. Here are more examples of how you might use the verb lotâ: lotâ cuintri i nemîs (to fight the enemies; il nemì, enemy), lotâ pai dirits des minorancis (to fight for the rights of minorities; la minorance, minority), al lotave cuintri la pôre (he fought against his fear), lotâ cuintri la muart (to fight death).

You may wish to study supplementary examples of the verb vinci: vinci une bataie (to win a battle), vinci une partide di cjartis (to win a game of cards; la partide, game, match; la cjarte, card), vinci un concors leterari (to win a literary contest), vinci il prin premi (to win first prize; il premi, prize), vinci lis sôs pôris (to beat one’s fears), la maiorance e vinç (the majority wins). E vinç is the feminine, third-person singular of the presint indicatîf; the masculine equivalent, of course, is al vinç.

Versets 9-17

Vocabulary: la furtune (fortune; also expressed as fortune), meti non a (to name), furtunât (blessed, lucky; also expressed as fortunât), il cjamp (field), taiâ (to cut), il forment (wheat), cjatâ (to find), la grampe (handful), la mandragure (mandrake), puartâ (to bring, to take), puartâ dongje (to bring back, to bring home), content (satisfied), puartâ vie (to take away), poben (well then), usgnot (tonight), lassâ (to let, to allow), a pat che (on the condition that), sore sere (in the evening), la campagne (field, country), lâ incuintri (to go up to), paiâ (to pay), il dirit (right), ta chê gnot (on that night), cuint (fifth). Names: Zilpe (Zilpah), Gad (Gad), Aser (Asher), Ruben (Reuben).

You read now that Leah does with her handmaid Zilpah as had done her sister Rachel with Bilhah; that is, she gives her handmaid to Jacob to give him more children. She did this, according to verse 9, because she had stopped having children of her own: viodint che no veve plui fruts ([upon] seeing that she was no longer having children, [upon] seeing that she was not having children anymore).

In verse 14, you read that Ruben (one of Leah’s sons) was in the fields: lant pai cjamps (walking [going] through the fields) cuant che si taiave il forment (when the wheat was being harvested [cut]), al cjatà une grampe di mandraguris (he found a handful of mandrakes) e jes puartà a sô mari (and brought them to his mother). Lant is the present participle of the verb lâ; lâ pal cjamp can be understood as meaning to walk through the field (literally, to go through the field). The verb taiâ means to cut; taiâ il forment, then, means to cut the wheat. In the text, you find cuant che si taiave il forment, which you can understand as meaning when the wheat was being cut, when one was cutting the wheat. You will have understood that jes, in jes puartà (he brought them to her), is a contraction of i + lis, where lis stands in for lis mandraguris.

Here are more examples of the noun la grampe, meaning handful: une grampe di tiere (a handful of soil), dâ une grampe di blave al cunin (to give a handful of corn to the rabbit; la blave, corn, maize; il cunin, rabbit).

In verses 14 and 15, an exchange takes place between Rachel and Leah. Rachel tells Leah to give her four of the mandrakes that Reuben had brought back: dami ancje a mi cuatri mandraguris (give four mandrakes to me as well) di chês che (from amongst those that) ti à puartadis dongje to fi (your son brought back to you). Leah accuses Rachel of not only having taken her husband away from her but of also now wanting to take her mandrakes, which are supposed to promote fruitfulness of the womb: no sêstu nancjemò no contente (are you not even satisfied) di vêmi puartât vie il gno om (to have taken away my husband from me), che cumò tu vûs puartâmi vie (that you now want to take away from me) ancje lis mandraguris di gno fi (the mandrakes of my son as well)?

Puartâ vie means to take away; vê puartât vie, then, means to have taken away. In the text, you read vêmi puartât vie, which you will now understand as meaning to have taken away from me. You also find tu vûs puartâmi vie, which means you want to take away from me.

Still in verse 15, o lassi (I let, I allow) is the first-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb lassâ. Rachel says to Leah: usgnot lu lassi che al vegni cun te (tonight I shall let him to go to you; literally, tonight, I let that he come with you). Take note of the wording here: o lassi che, followed by the subjunctive. Al vegni is the third-person singular of the coniuntîf presint of the verb vignî.


o lassi
al ven
o lassi che al vegni
I let
he comes
I let him come

Below, you will find the present subjunctive and imperfect subjunctive conjugations of the verb vignî. The present indicative of vignî has already been presented; you will find it through the Friulian verb conjugations page.

Coniuntîf presint — coniuntîf imperfet
Present subjunctive — imperfect subjunctive

present subjunctive
imperfect subjunctive
o vegni
o vignìs
tu vegnis
tu vignissis
al vegni
al vignìs

e vegni
e vignìs

o vignìn
o vignissin
o vignîs
o vignissis
a vegnin
a vignissin

Rachel continues: a pat che tu mi dedis lis mandraguris di to fi (on the condition that you give me your son’s mandrakes). Following a pat che, you find the subjunctive; tu tu dedis is the second-person singular of the coniuntîf presint of the verb dâ.


tu tu dâs
tu dâs
you give

tu tu mi dâs
tu mi dâs
you give me

a pat che tu tu dedis
a pat che tu dedis
on the condition that you give

a pat che tu tu mi dedis
a pat che tu mi dedis
on the condition that you give me

Below, you will find the present subjunctive and imperfect subjunctive conjugations of the verb dâ. The present indicative of has already been presented; you will find it through the Friulian verb conjugations page.

Coniuntîf presint — coniuntîf imperfet
Present subjunctive — imperfect subjunctive

present subjunctive
imperfect subjunctive
o dedi
o des
tu dedis
tu dessis
al dedi
al des

e dedi
e des

o dedin
o dessin
o dedis
o dessis
a dedin
a dessin

Versets 18-24

Vocabulary: la pae (pay, wages; also expressed as paie), sore che (because, given that), cjapâ sù ancjemò (to conceive again), sest (sixth), fâ un regâl (to give a gift), scugnî (must, to have to), volê ben (to love), plui indenant (later on, afterwards), la frute (girl), visâsi di (to remember), la vergogne (shame, embarrassment), gjavâ la vergogne (to take away one’s shame), dâ la gracie di (to make the concession of). Names: Issacar (Issachar), Zabulon (Zebulun), Dine (Dinah), Josef (Joseph).

In verse 18, Leah says: Diu mi à dade la pae (God has given me my pay) sore che i ai dade la sierve al gno om (because I have given my handmaid to my husband). The pay in question here is the reward that God has made to Leah in the form of a fifth child for having offered her handmaid to Jacob.

In your readings, you have come across two ways of saying to conceive again: cjapâ sù ancjemò and cjapâ sù indaûr. You also find in verse 24: che Diu mi dedi la gracie di vê ancjemò un frut (may God make me the concession of having another child; of having a child again).

The verb scugnî (must, to have to), is an important one to learn, and it appears for the first time in verse 20. It is synonymous with vê di, which you know well by this point. Leah says, after the birth of her sixth child: cheste volte il gno om al scuen volêmi ben (this time my husband must love me). You will find the present indicative conjugation of the verb scugnî below. First, here are two more supplementary examples of it: o scugnìn lavorâ (we must work), o scuen lâ vie cumò (I must leave now). Using vê di instead, these two examples could also be worded o vin di lavorâ and o ai di lâ vie cumò.

Presint indicatîf
Present indicative

o scuen
tu scuegnis
al scuen

e scuen

o scugnìn
o scugnîs
a scuegnin

Versets 25-28

Vocabulary: tornâ cjase mê (to go back [to my] home), il paîs (land, country), fâ di famei (to act as servant), lâsint (to go off, to leave), savê (to know), trop (how much), servî (to serve), vê par bon agrât (to have in one’s favour, to look favourably upon), un grum di (a lot of, many), il spieli (sign, indication), in gracie tô (on your account, because of you, thanks to you), cetant (how much), paiâ (to pay).

In verse 25, you find o ai di tornâ cjase me (I have to return home). Reword this now using the verb scugnî, which you encountered in the notes above.

You will understand vêlis, in verse 26, as meaning to have them. You read: dami lis mês feminis (give me my wives), che ti ai fat di famei par vêlis (for I have been a servant to you in order to have them).

Still in verse 26, you will recall that mi’nt voi (or m’int voi) means I leave, I go off. Following this usage is tu sâs, which is the second-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb savê. You read: tu sâs ancje tu trop che ti ai servît (you also know how much I have served you).

In verse 28, Laban says to Jacob: disimi tu cetant che tu vûs vê (tell me how much you want to have; that is, tell me what I owe you).

Versets 29-32

Vocabulary: savê benon che (to know very well that), la maniere (way, manner), in ce maniere (in what way, how), slargjâsi (to increase oneself, to become rich), pôc (little), cressi (to grow, to increase), un disordin (greatly, very much; literally, a disorder), il pas ([foot]step, pace), sui miei pas (upon my footsteps; that is, since my arrival), lavorâ (to work), passonâ (to graze, to put to feed, to put to pasture), in zornade (during the course of the day, today), meti di bande (to put aside, to separate), il roc ([male] sheep, ram), neri (black, dark), la cjavre ([female] goat), tacolât (spotted), moschetât (speckled).

In verse 30, Jacob says to Laban: chel pôc che tu vevis prime (what little you had before) al è cressût un disordin (has increased greatly). In this, you find two new usages: pôc used as a masculine noun in the sense of small amount, and un disordin used in the sense of greatly, very much. He then asks: cuant lavorio jo par me? (when do I work for myself?; that is, when shall I begin to work on my own account?). O lavori is the first-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb lavorâ; its interrogative form is lavorio.

In verse 31, Laban asks again what Jacob’s wages are: trop vûstu vê? (how much do you want to have?). Jacob responds: no vuei vê nissune pae (I do not want to have any pay). He continues: se tu fasis come che ti dîs jo (if you do as I [am about to] tell you), o tornarai a passonâ lis tôs mandriis (I shall graze your flocks again). In verse 32, Jacob says: met di bande ducj i rocs neris (separate all the black rams) e dutis lis cjavris tacoladis o moschetadis (and all the spotted or speckled goats).

Versets 33-36

Vocabulary: la cussience (conscience, righteousness), fin che (for as long as), vivi (to live), controlâ (to check), fâ cont (to count, to consider), robâ (to steal), va ben (very well, fine), ta chê stesse dì (on that very day), il bec ([male] goat, buck), riât (streaked), maglât (spotted, stained), un tic di blanc (a little bit of white), framieç di (amongst), consegnâ (to give, to deliver; cognate with the English consign), meti trê dîs di viaç (to put three days’ journey), fra (between), vansâ (to remain; also written vanzâ).

In verse 33, you find a number of futûr sempliç forms: o rispuindarai (I shall answer, I shall respond), o vivarai (I shall live), tu vignarâs (you will come), no saran (they will not be). Jacob says that, from amongst the animals that will be kept by him, any that are not of abnormal colour can be counted as having been stolen: fâs cont che tai vedi robâts (consider that I have stolen them from you). Tai is a contraction of ti + ju. O vedi robât is the first-person singular of the coniuntîf passât of the verb vê. Consider an easier example of this:

al à finît
prime che al vedi finît
he has finished
before he has finished

You know that the subjunctive is used following prime che. In the above, al vedi finît is composed of the third-person singular, present subjunctive form of the verb vê, which is used here as an auxiliary; it is followed by the past participle finît. If you wish to review the conjugation of the verb in the present subjunctive, you will find it through the Friulian verb conjugations page.

In verse 34, Laban agrees to what Jacob has said: va ben (very well); fasìn come che tu âs dit tu (let us do as you have said). Fasìn is the second-person plural imperative form of the verb fâ.

Related to the adjective maglât (spotted, stained) in verse 35 is the verb maglâ (to spot, to stain). A few examples: al à maglade la taule di vin (he splashed wine on the table; literally, he spotted the table with wine), maglâ il cafè cul lat cjalt (to add a splash of hot milk to the coffee; literally, to spot the coffee with hot milk).

A new verb appears in verse 36: vanzâ (or vansâ), meaning to remain. You read: e Jacop al passonave ce che al jere vansât dal besteam di Laban (and Jacob grazed what had remained of Laban’s livestock). Al passonave is the third-person singular of the imperfet indicatîf of the verb passonâ (to graze, to put to feed, to put to pasture).

Versets 37-40

Vocabulary: la ramace (branch; with leaves still on it), fresc (fresh), il trimul (poplar tree), il mandolâr (almond tree), il platin (plane tree), il curtìs (knife), taiâ (to cut), la scuarce (bark), la strissule (strip, shaving), meti a nût (to expose), il blanc (white, whiteness), la bachete (stick), scussâ (to strip, to peel), il laip (trough), il beveradôr (trough), bevi (to drink), inmascjîsi (to conceive), duncje (therefore, then), devant di (in front of, before), il cjavret (kid goat), separâ (to separate), par cont so (for himself), insiemit (together).

Verse 37 presents quite a bit of new Friulian vocabulary. I shall break down the text of it here: alore Jacop al cjolè ramacis frescjis (Jacob then took fresh branches) di trimul, di mandolâr e di platin (of poplar, almond and plane) e cul curtìs (and with his knife) al taià la scuarce a strissulis blancjis (he cut white strips into the bark) metint a nût il blanc de bachete (exposing the white of the stick; that is, exposing the white [interior] of the branch). By placing streaked branches in front of the animals, Jacob hoped to have them produce streaked offspring.

In verse 38, you can understand là che a levin a bevi as meaning where they went to drink. In verse 40, you read: Jacop al separà i rocs (Jacob separated the rams) e al fasè in mût che lis bestiis a vessin devant di sè (and he made it so that the beasts had before themselves) i nemâi riâts (the streaked animals). A vessin is the third-person plural of the coniuntîf imperfet of the verb vê. Observe:

a vevin devant di sè
in mût che a vessin devant di sè
they had in front of themselves
so that they had in front of themselves

Observe also:

a àn devant di sè
in mût che a vedin devant di sè
they have in front of themselves
so that they have in front of themselves

Versets 41-43

Vocabulary: ogni viaç che (every time that), fuart (strong), il voli (eye), invezit (on the other hand), intivâsi (to come across, to come up against, to bump into), flap (feeble, weak), il scart (mediocre one[s], bad one[s]), tocjâ (a) (to fall upon), il bon (good one[s]), deventâ sioron (to become rich), un disordin di (a lot of, many), il camêl (camel), il mus (donkey).

Jacob ensures that his breed of sheep would be robust by placing the streaked branches in front of only the strong animals when they conceived. He did not place the branches in front of the feeble animals when they conceived, so as to avoid having them produce streaked offspring; as such, their normally coloured offspring would belong to Laban.

In verse 43, note the use of un disordin di, meaning a lot of, many. This is synonymous with une vore di, un grum di, etc.

In verse 42, you find the first instance of the reflexive verb intivâsi (to come across, to bump into); I shall end the commentary for this thirtieth chapter with a supplementary example of this verb: par strade si è intivât cuntun professôr che al veve vût (he bumped into an old [former] teacher when he was out; literally, in the street, he bumped into a teacher he had [once] had).