Friulian language series: Gjenesi 37, Josef e i siei siums

In your study of the Friulian language, you have now come to chapter 37 of the book of Genesis. The subject matter is la storie di Josef (the history of Joseph) and Josef e i siei siums (Joseph and his dreams).

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Read Gjenesi 37

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Versets 1-4

Vocabulary: stabilîsi (to settle down, to establish oneself, to dwell), la storie (history), la gjernazie (offspring), passonâ (to feed [livestock], to put out to pasture), la robe minude (small livestock; that is, sheep), dutun cun (along with), zovenut (young), vivi (to live), contâ (to tell, to relate), il mâl (wrong, ill), ator di lôr (about them), volê plui ben (to love more), in là cui agns (advanced in years), la tonie (tunic), la manie (sleeve), lunc (long), cjapâ in asse (to start to hate, to take to hating), jessi bon di (to be capable of), il rusin (rust), cence rusin (without malevolence, resentment; literally, without rust).

In verse 1, you read: Jacop si stabilì te tiere che al veve stât so pari (Jacob settled in the land where his father had been).

In verse 2, you are reminded of how to talk about the age someone was over a period of time in the past: Josef al veve disesiet agns (Joseph was seventeen years old). To talk about one’s age, you know that the verb is used: vê disesiet agns (to be seventeen years old; literally, to have seventeen years). The imperfet indicatîf is used to talk about one’s age during a past period of time: al veve disesiet agns (he was seventeen years old; more literally, he was having [at the time] seventeen years).

Still in verse 2, you read: Josef i contà a so pari dut il mâl che a disevin ator di lôr (Joseph related to his father all the wrong that was said about them; literally, all the wrong that they said about them).

You will recall the meaning of volê ben, which is to love. The preposition a is used with volê ben. For example, ti vuei ben means I love you; i vuei ben means I love him; and i vuei ben a Josef means I love Joseph. Similarly, using the imperfet indicatîf this time, ti volevi ben means I loved you, I used to love you; i volevi ben means I loved him, I used to love him; and i volevi ben a Josef means I loved Joseph, I used to love Joseph. In verse 3, you read: Jacop i voleve plui ben a Josef che no a ducj chei altris fîs (Jacob loved Joseph more than all the other sons). If volê ben means to love, then volê plui ben means to love more.

Below, for your reference, you will find the imperfect indicative conjugation of the verb volê, of which you saw examples above.

Verb: VOLÊ
Imperfet indicatîf
Imperfect indicative

o volevi
tu volevis
al voleve

e voleve

o volevin
o volevis
a volevin

The reason Jacob loved Joseph the most is stated in verse 3: parcè che lu veve vût cuant che al jere in là cui agns (because he had begot him when he was advanced in years; because he had had him in his old age). You also read in this same verse that Jacob had made a long-sleeved tunic for Joseph: une tonie cu lis maniis lungjis. The adjective lunc means long; here are its four forms: lunc, luncs; lungje, lungjis.

In verse 4, you read that Joseph’s brothers were resentful towards him because of their father’s preference: lu cjaparin in asse (they took to hating him) e no jerin bogns di fevelâi cence rusin (and they were incapable of speaking to him without resentment). You will recall that bogns is the masculine plural form of the adjective bon (good); review all four forms: bon, bogns; buine, buinis. The expression jessi bon di can be understood as meaning to be capable of, to be likely to.

The masculine noun rusin is the Friulian for rust. In the text, you find rusin used in a figurative sense: malevolence, resentment, hatred. Here are examples of its use in the literal sense of rust: il rusin al mangje il fier (rust eats iron), un curtìs vieri plen di rusin (an old knife covered in rust; vieri, old; plen di, full of), il colôr rusin chest an al è di mode (the rust colour is in style this year; jessi di mode, to be in style).

Versets 5-11

Vocabulary: fâ un sium (to have a dream), cjapâ ancjemò plui in asse (to take to hating even more), il cjamp (field), leâ (to tie, to bind), il balçûl (sheaf, bundle), dreçâsi (to stand upright), sù impilât (piled up), torator di (surrounding, around), pleâsi (to bow down, to bend over), fin par tiere (down to the ground), sicheduncje (therefore), volê dî (to mean, to mean to say), regnâ parsore di (to rule over), o ben (or), odeâ ancjemò di plui (to hate even more), indaûr (again), il soreli (sun), la lune (moon), la stele (star), cridâ (to reprimand, to scold), sichè (therefore), butâsi in genoglon (to go down on one’s knees; also written zenoglon), la gjelosie (jealousy; also expressed as zelosie), vê gjelosie di (to be jealous of), rumiâ (to ruminate, to ponder), dentrivie (to oneself; also written dentri vie).

In verse 5, you read that Joseph’s brothers hated him even more after a dream of his: Josef al fasè un sium (Joseph had a dream) e ur al contà ai siei fradis (and he related it to his brothers), che lu cjaparin ancjemò plui in asse (who took to hating him even more). Related to the expression cjapâ in asse (to take to hating) is another one that you have already seen: vê in asse (to hate); for example, lu vevin in asse means they hated him, they used to hate him.

Note the ways Friulian has expressed increased intensity in these recent examples: volê ben > volê plui ben (to love; to love more), cjapâ in asse > cjapâ ancjemò plui in asse (to take to hating; to take to hating even more), indaûr > plui indaûr > plui indaûr ancjemò (behind; farther behind; even farther behind). You also encounter odeâ ancjemò di plui (to hate even more) in verse 8.

In ur al contà ai siei fradis, you can understand ur al contà as meaning he related it to them, he told it to them. Ur al is the form that ur + lu takes (ur, to them + lu, it [that is, il sium]). Review the contractions produced when the indirect object pronouns in purple come into contact with the direct object pronouns in blue:

lu le ju lis
mi mal me mai mes
ti tal te tai tes
i jal je jai jes
si sal se sai ses
nus nus al nus e nus ai nus es
us us al us e us ai us es
ur ur al ur e ur ai ur es

For example, with reference to the masculine noun il sium, he related it to me is mal contà; he related it to you is tal contà; he related it to us is nus al contà; he related it to them is ur al contà. With reference now to the plural i siums, he related them to them is ur ai contà.

In verse 6, Joseph tells his brothers: sintît ce sium che o ai fat (listen to the dream that I have had). Sintît is the second-person plural imperative form of the verb sintî. In verse 7, Joseph explains his dream; understand the following: leâ balçûi (to bind sheaves), il gno balçûl si dreçà (my sheaf stood upright), al stave sù impilât (it was piled up), i vuestris balçûi a jerin torator di lui (your sheaves were around it), si pleavin fin par tiere (they bowed down to the ground).

In verse 8, the brothers do not react well; they say to him: sicheduncje tu volaressis dî (therefore, you would mean to say) che tu regnarâs parsore di nô (that you will rule over us) o ben che tu sarâs il nestri paron (or that you will be our master)? The meaning of the expression volê dî is to mean to say, or simply to mean. Example: ce vuelie dî cheste peraule? (what does this word mean?; literally, what does this word want to say?). Vuelie is, of course, the interrogative form of e vûl. (Side note: by using ce as in the following example, the interrogative form can be avoided: ce che al vûl dî chest tiermin? [what does this term mean?].)

In the text, you find tu volaressis dî. Tu volaressis (you would want) is the second-person singular of the condizionâl presint; you can understand tu volaressis dî as meaning you would mean to say (literally, you would want to say). You will find the present conditional conjugation of the verb volê summarised below:

Verb: VOLÊ
Condizionâl presint
Present conditional

o volarès
tu volaressis
al volarès

e volarès

o volaressin
o volaressis
a volaressin

In verse 9, indaûr is to be understood as meaning again: al fasè indaûr un altri sium (he again had another dream). A little farther along, you also find: o ai tornât a fâ un sium (I have had another dream). Joseph explains his new dream: mi pareve che il soreli (it seemed to me that the sun), la lune (the moon) e undis stelis (and eleven stars) si pleassin fin par tiere devant di me (bowed down to the ground before me). Note the use of the coniuntîf imperfet following mi pareve che (from the verb parê, meaning to seem).

si pleà
mi pareve che si pleàs
he bowed down
it seemed to me that he had bowed down

si plearin
mi pareve che si pleassin
they bowed down
it seemed to me that they had bowed down

In verse 10, Joseph’s father says with sarcasm: biei siums che tu fasis (nice dreams that you have). Review the four forms of biel, which are: biel, biei; biele, bielis. He continues: sichè jo, tô mari e i tiei fradis (therefore, I, your mother and your brothers) o varessin di vignî a butâsi in genoglon denant di te (would have to go down on our knees before you)? You will recognise the expression vê di here; o varessin is the first-person plural of the condizionâl presint.

In verse 11, you read that Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him: i siei fradis a vevin gjelosie di lui (his brothers were jealous of him). You will recall that the Friulian adjective for jealous is gjelôs (or zelôs). In the text, however, you encounter the expression vê gjelosie di (literally, to have jealousy of), which is to be understood as meaning to be jealous of. The noun la gjelosie is also expressed as la zelosie. Note that the expression to be jealous of can also be worded jessi zelôs di, in line with the English.

The last part of verse 11 reads: ma so pari al rumiave la robe dentrivie (but his father pondered the thing to himself). The verb rumiâ means to ruminate, to ponder; dentrivie (or dentri vie) can be understood as meaning to himself, within himself. The “thing” or robe in question is, of course, the contents of Jacob’s son’s dream and his relating of them.

Versets 12-22

Vocabulary: lâ a passon (to go out to the fields [so as to put animals out to pasture]), passâ chi (to come here), mandâ (to send), pront (ready, willing), va mo (go then, off you go), savê a dî (to bring word, to let know), alc (something), la valade (valley), incuintrâ (to meet, to come across), lâ ca e là (to roam, to wander; literally, to go here and there), la campagne (field), cirî (to look for, to seek), par plasê (please), gjavâ lis tendis (to dismantle the tents), sintî (to hear), anìn (let us go), di lontan (from afar), rivâ dongje (to come near), complotâ (to plot, to conspire), fâ murî (to kill), dîsi un cul altri (to say to one another), velu (here he is, there he is), dai, anìn (come on, off we go), copâ (to kill), butâ (to throw, to discard), il poç (well), fâ fûr (to kill, to destroy), salvadi (wild), zovâ (to be of use, to be of benefit), salvâ (to save), la sgrife (claw; used figuratively here in the plural in the sense of clutches), spandi (to spread, to spill), il sanc (blood), il desert (desert), meti lis mans intor (to put one’s hands on, to grab hold of). Name: Dotan (Dothan).

Study the interrogative form found in verse 13: i tiei fradis no sono lâts a passon a Sichem? (have your brothers not gone to feed the animals?). Because the auxiliary used is jessi, the past participle is made to agree in number and gender (masculine plural, here) with its subject.

a son lâts
sono lâts?

no son lâts
no sono lâts?

In verse 14, Joseph’s father says to his son: va mo (go now) viôt cemût che a stan i tiei fradis e il besteam ([and] see how your brothers and the livestock are), e torne a savêmi a dî alc (and come back to let me know).

In verse 15 now, you read, after Joseph’s arrival at Sichem: un om lu incuintrà (a man came across him) che al leve ca e là pe campagne (as he was roaming in the field). Both lu and che refer back to Joseph; it was Joseph whom the man had met, and it was Joseph who was wandering in the field. You will find more examples of this structure in verses 17 and 19 ahead.

Still in verse 15, the man asks Joseph: ce ciristu? (what are you looking for?, what do you seek?). You will recognise ciristu as being the interrogative form of tu ciris (you look for, you seek), from the verb cirî. In verse 16, Joseph replies: o cîr i miei fradis (I am looking for my brothers). He continues: disimi, par plasê (tell me, please), là che a son lâts a passon (where they have gone to feed the animals). Below, you will find the present indicative conjugation of the verb cirî.

Verb: CIRÎ
Presint indicatîf
Present indicative

o cîr
tu ciris
al cîr

e cîr

o cirìn
o cirîs
a cirin

In verse 17, the man says: ju ai sintûts che a disevin: anìn a Dotan (I heard them [as they were] say[ing]: let us go to Dothan). The past participle is made to agree in gender and number with the direct object preceding it, which is the masculine plural ju. The structure of this sentence is similar to the one found in verse 15. Observe:

un om lu incuintrà che al leve ca e là
(literally, a man met him who was going here and there; that is, a man came across him as he was roaming)

ju ai sintûts che a disevin
(literally, I have heard them who were saying; that is, I heard them as they were saying, I heard them say)

In verse 18, the brothers spot Joseph from afar: lu vioderin di lontan, and they plot to kill him: a complotarin di fâlu murî. They say, in verse 19: velu che al rive chel dai siums (here he comes now, the man with the dreams).

You find a number of first-person plural imperative forms in verse 20: anìn (let us go), copìn (let us kill), butìn (let us throw), viodìn (let us see). They say: dai, anìn (come on, off we go), copìnlu e butìnlu in cualchi poç (let us kill him and throw him into some well). They continue: o disarìn che lu à fat fûr une bestie salvadie (we shall say that a wild beast has killed him). They end with: viodìn ce che i zovaran i siei siums (let us see of what use to him his dreams will be).

You read, in verse 21, that Reuben wanted to save Joseph: al voleve salvâlu des lôr sgrifis (he wanted to save him from their clutches; literally, from their claws). He says: no stin a copâlu (let us not kill him) and, in verse 22, no stait a spandi il so sanc (do not spill his blood). You will recall that no stin a (first-person plural) and no stait a (second-person plural) are used to form negated imperatives.

Versets 23-27

Vocabulary: gjavâ la tonie (to remove the tunic), vê intor (to have on; that is, to be wearing), brincâ (to seize), butâ intun poç (to throw into a well), vueit (empty), sentâsi (to sit down), mangjâ un spêl (to eat a little, to have something to eat), la carovane (caravan), un ismaelit (Ishmeelite), il camêl (camel), cjamâ (to load), la gome adragant (tragacanth gum; gum obtained from sap), il balsim (balsam), il laudìn (ladanum; sticky brown resin), vendi (to sell), in Egjit (in Egypt), tornâ cont (to be worthwhile), copâ (to kill), cuviergi (to cover, to conceal; also written cuvierzi), il sanc (blood), parmìs (next to, near), meti lis mans parmìs (to put one’s hands upon), la cjar (flesh), scoltâ (to listen).

You can understand, in verse 23, lôr i gjavarin la tonie as meaning they removed his tunic, they took the tunic off him. As for chê tonie cu lis maniis lungjis che al veve intor, this is to be understood as meaning that long-sleeved tunic that he had on. The expression vê intor means to have on, in the sense of to be wearing. For example, al à intôr une cjamese means he has a shirt on, he is wearing a shirt (literally, he has a shirt about [him]). Cu lis maniis lungjis means long-sleeved; the Friulian for long-sleeved shirt is une cjamese cu lis maniis lungjis. The Friulian for sleeveless shirt is une cjamese cence maniis. The singular of lis maniis is la manie (sleeve).

In verse 26, Judah says: nus tornial cont (is it worthwhile to us; is it beneficial to us) a copâ nestri fradi (to kill our brother) e a cuviergi il so sanc (and to conceal his blood)? In verse 27, he continues: fasìn cussì (let us do thus): vendìnlu ai ismaelits (let us sell him to the Ishmeelites) ma no stin a metii lis mans parmìs (but let us not put our hands upon him). Meti lis mans parmìs is synonymous with meti lis mans intor, encountered in verse 22. Review: meti lis mans intor (to put one’s hands around), metii lis mans intor (to put one’s hands around him).

Versets 28-36

Vocabulary: in chel (then, at that moment), il marcjedant (merchant), tirâ fûr di (to pull out of), il siclo d’arint (silver shekel), menâ in Egjit (to take to Egypt), tornâ li dal poç (to return to the well), nol jere altri (he was not there anymore), sbregâ (to tear, to rip), i vistîts (clothing, clothes), taiâ il sgrasalâr (to cut the throat), il bec (buck, [male] goat), meti in muel (to douse, to soak), mandâ a dî (to send word), cjalâ (to look), cjatâ (to find), par câs (by chance), slambrâ (to shred, to rip apart), il sac (sack; sackcloth), tor dai ombui (around the loins), puartâ corot (to mourn; literally, to wear dark), une vorone a lunc (for a very long time indeed; une vorone is the augmentative form of une vore), la fuarce (force, strength), dâ fuarce (to give support, to give comfort), il confuart (comfort), lâ cul corot (to go mourning), chel altri mont (the other world), vaî (to cry, to weep; here, to mourn), intant (meanwhile), il cjastrât (eunuch), il faraon (pharaoh), il sorestant (chief), la vuaite (guard). Name: Putifar (Potiphar).

In muel can be understood as meaning (soaking) in water (or some other liquid, such as blood). For example, lasse in muel par trê oris means let [it] soak for three hours. In verse 31, you read: a cjolerin la tonie di Josef (they took Joseph’s tunic), i taiarin il sgrasalâr a di un bec (they cut the throat of a buck) e a meterin la tonie in muel tal sanc (and they soaked the tunic in its blood).

In verse 32, viôt se par câs no fos la tonie di to fi is to be understood as meaning see whether or not it was your son’s tunic. Viôt se par câs can be understood more literally as see if by chance.

In verse 34, you read that Jacob mourned for his son: al puartà corot par so fi (he mourned for his son) une vorone a lunc (a very long time indeed). In verse 35, his sons and daughters come to console him, but: lui nol voleve savênt di nissun confuart (he refused to be comforted; literally, he did not want to know of any comfort). He says: o vuei lâ cul corot in chel altri mont dongje di gno fi (I want to go mourning into the other world alongside my son). This verse ends: e so pari lu vaì (and his father mourned him; and his father wept for him).

In the final verse of this thirty-seventh chapter, you read that Potiphar was a eunuch of the Pharaoh: un cjastrât dal faraon, and a chief of the guards: un sorestant des vuaitis. The noun cjastrât is related to the verb cjastrâ, meaning to castrate.