Friulian language series: Gjenesi 38, Gjude e Tamar

In Gjenesi 38, you will read about la storie di Gjude e di Tamar (the account of Judah and Tamar). By studying this thirty-eighth chapter of the book of Genesis, you will continue to expand your range of Friulian vocabulary, as well as reinforce what you have encountered in previous chapters.

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Read Gjenesi 38

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 An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-5

Vocabulary: tal fratimp (in the meantime), capitâ (to occur, to happen), dividisi di (to separate oneself from), ripet di (opposite, across from), vê non (to be named), un cananeu (Canaanite), sposâ (to marry), lâ cun (to go with; that is, to sleep with), cjapâ sù (to conceive), parturî un frut (to give birth to a boy), meti non (to name), il canai (boy, child), jessi a stâ (to reside, to dwell, to live). Names: Adulam (Adullam), Chire (Hirah), Sue (Shuah), Er (Er), Onan (Onan), Chesib (Chezib).

You will recall that al capità che means it so happened that, it occurred that, it came to pass that. You will also recall the sense of lâ cun here, which is a euphemistic way of saying to have sexual relations with. In verse 2, you read: le sposà e al lè cun jê (he married her and slept with her; literally, went with her).

Note how reoccurrence is expressed in these verses: cjapâ sù > cjapâ sù indaûr (to conceive; to conceive again), and parturî > tornâ a parturî ancjemò (to bear; to bear yet again). You can compare these with similar usages seen in recent chapters, which convey increasing intensity or distance: 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); odeâ > odeâ ancjemò di plui (to hate; to hate even more).

Versets 6-11

Vocabulary: no podê viodi (to be unable to withstand), masse (too, overly), trist (wicked, evil), fâ murî (to kill), il dovê (duty, obligation), il cugnât (brother-in-law), la gjernazie (offspring), dispierdi (to squander, to waste, to disperse), par tiere (on the ground), displasê un grum (to displease greatly), la brût (daughter-in-law), la vedue (widow; the masculine form is il vedul, widower), intant che (whilst), cressi (to grow), pensâ (to think), murî (to die), chel chi (this one), compagn di (just as, in the same way as). Names: Tamar (Tamar), Sele (Shelah).

Judah’s first son was called Er. In verse 7, you read the following about him: il Signôr nol podeve viodi Er (the Lord could not withstand Er) […] parcè che al jere masse trist (because he was too wicked). For this reason, God slew him: lu fasè murî (he killed him). No podê viodi means to be unable to withstand, to not be able to stand, etc. For example, no pues viodilu means I cannot stand him, I cannot bear him.

Take note that the Friulian adjective trist means wicked, evil; it is related to a noun that you have already encountered in your readings: la tristerie (wickedness). If you are familiar with other Romance languages, be sure not to interpret the Friulian trist as meaning sad. A few Friulian words for sad include: avilît, jù, grot. For example, al jere grot pe muart dal so cjan (he was sad over the death of his dog).

In verse 8, after Er’s death, Judah tells his second son Onan: va cu la femine di to fradi (go with your brother’s wife; that is, go sleep with your brother’s wife), fâs cun jê il to dovê di cugnât (do with her your duty of brother-in-law) e dài une gjernazie a to fradi (and give offspring to your brother). According to the law of the Levirate, the surviving brother was required to marry the widow of his dead brother; this was Onan’s obligation, or il so dovê. Fâ il so dôve means to do one’s duty, to perform one’s duty; fâs, as found in the text, is the second-person singular imperative form of the verb fâ. Review these imperatives: fâs, fasìn, fasêt (second-person singular; first-person plural; second-person plural).

Much to God’s displeasure, Onan spilled his seed on the ground every time he went with Tamar; in verse 9, you read: al dispierdeve par tiere (he squandered [his seed] on the ground) par no dâi une gjernazie a so fradi (so as to not give offspring to his brother).

Judah tells his daughter-in-law (la brût), in verse 11: torne a cjase di to pari (go back to your father’s), vedue come che tu sês (widow that you are), intant che al cres gno fi Sele (whilst my son Shelah grows up). He states the reason: no vuei che mi mueri ancje chel chi (I do not want this one to die on me as well) compagn dai siei fradis (just as his brothers did). No vuei che mi mueri ancje chel chi can be understood more literally as I do not want that this one die on me as well. Al mueri is the masculine, third-person singular of the coniuntîf presint of the verb murî.

al mûr
no vuei che al mueri
he dies
I do not want him to die

Versets 12-15

Vocabulary: il pieç (piece, part, bit), un biel pieç dopo (quite a bit of time later), puartâ il corot (to mourn), tosâ lis pioris (to shear the sheep), la gnove (piece of news), puartâ la gnove (to bring the news), il missêr (father-in-law), butâ di bande (to cast aside), la munture di vedue (widow’s garments; also expressed as monture di vedue), il vêl (veil), cuviergisi cuntun vêl (to cover oneself with a veil; the verb is also written cuvierzisi), invuluçâsi (to wrap oneself up; also expressed as involuçâsi), sentâsi (to sit down), la jentrade (entrance, way in; door, gate), dongje de jentrade (to be understood here as near the gate), su la strade di (on the way to, on the road for), savê benon che (to know full well that), jessi om fat (to be a full-grown man; literally, to be man [fully] made), cjapâ par une sdrondine (to take for a harlot, to mistake for a whore), vê taponade la muse (to have one’s face covered). Names: Timne (Timnath), Enaim (Enaim).

In verse 12, finît di puartâ il corot is to be understood as meaning (having) finished mourning.

In verse 14, you find the verb invuluçâsi, meaning to wrap oneself up. This verb is related to the noun il vuluç, which you discovered at the very beginning of your study of Friulian, in Gjenesi 1:2, when you read: la tiere e jere un vuluç e vueide. You will recall that vuluç was used there in the sense of disorder, chaos, and that vuluç also conveys the idea of a spiral; it is in this sense of a spiral that invuluçâsi can mean to wrap oneself up. (These words are also expressed as voluç and involuçâsi.)

Still in verse 14, you read of Tamar: e saveve benon (she knew full well) che Sele al jere om fat (that Shelah was a full-grown man) e no jal vevin fat cjoli (and they had not made her take him).

Versets 16-19

Vocabulary: lâ dongje di (to draw near, to go up to), vignî cun (to come with; to be understood here as to sleep with), domandâ (to ask), mandâ (to send), il cjavret (kid, goatling), il trop (flock), il pen (pledge; also expressed as il pegn), il sigjil (signet; that is, a ring-seal worn on the finger or around the neck to impress one’s signature), il cordon (cord), il baston (staff, rod), consegnâ (to give), lâsint (to leave, to go off), gjavâ il vêl (to take off the veil).

Like lâ cun, you now encounter another euphemistic usage referring to having sexual relations: vignî cun. In verse 16, Judah says to his daughter-in-law Tamar, believing her to be a harlot: lassimi vignî cun te (let me come with you; that is, let me sleep with you). Tamar asks him: trop mi dastu par vignî cun me? (how much will you give me to sleep with me?).

In verse 17, Judah says that he will send her the kid of a goat. She replies: tu âs di dâmi un pen (you have to give me a pledge) fin che no tu mal âs mandât (until you have sent it to me). Mal is, of course, a contraction of mi + lu, where lu stands in for the masculine noun cjavret.

Judah asks, in verse 18: e ce pen vûstu vê? (and what pledge do you want to have?). Tamar responds: il to sigjil (your signet), il to cordon (your cord) e il baston che tu âs te man (and the staff that you are holding; literally, and the staff that is in your hand).

Judah gives what she has asked for; they then have relations together, and Tamar conceives. In verse 19, you then read: po si ’nt lè (then she left), e gjavà il vêl (she took her veil off) e e tornà a meti la munture di vedue (and she put her widow’s garments back on).

Versets 20-23

Vocabulary: midiant di (by way of), un amì (friend), vê indaûr (to get back; that is, to recuperate), culì di nô (here amongst us), jessi siôr di (to be successful in), anzit (rather), la pelande (harlot), tignîsi dut (to keep all unto oneself, to keep everything for oneself), senò (otherwise), ridi (to laugh; to deride, to ridicule), ridi sore (to laugh about, to ridicule concerning).

In verse 20, vê indaûr means to get back, to take back (what is one’s own). Judah sends the kid of a goat to Tamar, in order to take back his signet, cord and staff: par vê indaûr i pens che la femine e veve tes sôs mans (to get back the pledges that the woman had in her hands).

In verse 21, is to be understood as meaning where; on behalf of Judah, the man from Adullam asks: là ese chê sdrondine? (where is that harlot?). The people respond to his question: no vin mai vudis sdrondinis (we have never had harlots) culì di nô (here amongst us). The Adullamite returns to Judah and, in verse 22, says: no soi stât siôr di cjatâle (I have been unable to find her).

In verse 23, Judah says: che si tegni dut (let her keep everything for herself), senò nus ridin ancje sore (otherwise we shall even be ridiculed for it; literally, otherwise they even ridicule us for it; otherwise they even laugh at us about it).

e ten
ch’e tegni
she keeps
may she keep

si ten dut
che si tegni dut
she keeps everything for herself
may she keep everything for herself

Still in verse 23, you read: jo però il cjavret i al ai mandât (but the goatling, I have [indeed] sent it to her). Rather than jal, you will notice that the variant spelling i al has been used. You also read in this same verse: ancje se tu no tu le âs cjatade (even if you have not found her). Review word order:

tu tu âs cjatât
tu âs cjatât
you have found

tu no tu âs cjatât
no tu âs cjatât
you have not found

tu tu le âs cjatade
tu le âs cjatade
you have found her

tu no tu le âs cjatade
no tu le âs cjatade
you have not found her

Versets 24-30

Vocabulary: il mês (month), un trê mês dopo (some three months later), fâ la sdrondine (to take the role of a harlot, to conduct oneself as a whore), jessi in stâts (to be pregnant), lassâsi doprâ (to let oneself be used; here, used sexually), menâ fûr (to bring out, to bring forth), brusâ (to burn), vîf (alive; the feminine form is vive), biel che (as, whilst), ricognossi (to recognise), onest (honest), d’in chê volte (from that time on), spirât (expired, run out), il timp (time), sucedi (to happen, to occur), il gimul (twin; also written il zimul; the plural is gimui; zimui), intant di (during), il part (delivery, childbirth), meti fûr (to put out, to stick out), la manute ([little] hand), la comari (midwife), il fîl (thread), ros (red), ros vîf (bright red, scarlet red), saltâ fûr (to come out), par prin (first, first of all), tirâ dentri (to pull in), viergi (to open; also written vierzi), il sbrec (breach) viergisi un sbrec (to open oneself a breach). Names: Perez (Pharez), Zerac (Zarah).

Un trê mês dopo, from verse 24, is to be understood as meaning some three months later, about three months later. Other examples of this that you have already encountered in previous notes include: un cuindis agns dopo (some fifteen years later), un dîs dîs (some ten days).

When Judah learns that Tamar had taken to prostitution, he says, in verse 24: menaitle fûr e brusaitle vive (bring her forth and burn her alive). Tamar, in verse 25, defends herself by saying: viôt di cui che al è chest sigjil, chest cordon e chest baston (look whose signet, cord and staff these are).

In verse 27, spirât il timp translates literally as the time (having) expired; it is to be understood, however, as meaning the time (of her pregnancy having) expired, the time (of gestation having) come to an end; that is, when the time of her labour had come. Also in verse 27, al sucêt is the masculine, third-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb sucedi; al sucêt che translates as it happens that, it comes to pass that.

On a final note, the Friulian for hand, as you know, is la man; when talking about the hand of a baby or child, la manute (little hand) is often used instead.