Friulian language series: Gjenesi 41, siums dal faraon

You have reached chapter 41 in your study of the Friulian language through the book of Genesis. The subjects of this chapter are i siums dal faraon (the Pharaoh’s dreams) and la sielte di Josef (the selection of Joseph). This is one of the longer chapters of the book of Genesis; nonetheless, you will find all the notes related to it in this single post. With the aid of the vocabulary provided in the notes, you should find that you are able to work through the text of this chapter without great difficulty. Much useful vocabulary appears in these verses; I have taken advantage of this to provide many related examples of use in the notes below.

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Read Gjenesi 41

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 An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-7

Vocabulary: sul ôr di (on the shore of, on the edge of), la vacje (cow), pecolât (corpulent, robust), gras (fat), par ca (like this), metisi a passonâ (to go out to feed), il vencjâr (reed grass), daûr di lôr (behind them), brut (ugly), sec (thin, skinny), di fâ pôre (following an adjective, to be understood as frightfully), diluviâ (to devour), intun lamp (immediately, on the spot), ben metût (robust), in chel (at that moment), sveâsi (to wake up), indurmidisî (to fall asleep), il spi (spike, ear), stes (same), il fros (stalk, stem), gruès (fat), sutîl (thin), arsinît (dessicated, dried out, burnt), un aiar (wind), il desert (desert), gloti (to swallow), palomp (mature, ripe). Name: il Nîl (Nile).

In verse 2, you find par ca, which you will imagine pronounced with a hand gesture: al è gras par ca (he is this fat), al è alt par ca (he is this tall), etc.

In verse 3, you meet di fâ pôre again. You read: altris siet vacjis […], brutis e secjis di fâ pôre (another seven cows, frightfully ugly and skinny). After an adjective, you can understand di fâ pôre as meaning frightfully; after a noun (see verse 57), you can understand it as meaning frightful. Of the ugly, skinny cows, you read: si meterin sul ôr dal Nîl in bande di chês altris (they went [literally, they put themselves] on the shore of the Nile alongside the others).

You then read in verse 4: e lis vacjis brutis e secjis (and the ugly and skinny cows) a diluviarin intun lamp (devoured at once) lis siet vacjis grassis e ben metudis (the seven fat and robust cows). The adjective sec, as used here, means thin, skinny (in other contexts, it can mean dried out). Here are its four forms: sec, secs; secje, secjis. As for gras, meaning fat, its four forms are: gras, gras; grasse, grassis.

To describe a person or thing as being ugly, you can use the adjective brut. Examples: une cjase brute (an ugly house), un vistît brut (an ugly suit); or in the sense of unpleasant, horrible: un brut moment (a bad time), vivi une brute situazion (to live through a horrible situation).

In verses 4 and 5, you find the Friulian verbs indurmidîsi (to fall asleep) and sveâsi (to wake up). More examples: mi soi indurmidît cu la lûs impiade (I fell asleep with the light on; impiâ, to turn on), mi soi indurmidît devant de television (I fell asleep in front of the television), mi soi sveât masse tart (I woke up too late), mi soi sveât a lis siet (I woke up at seven).

The four forms of the adjective sutîl, from verse 6, are: sutîl, sutîi; sutile, sutilis. More examples: vê lis ceis sutilis (to have thin eyebrows; la cee, eyebrow), vê i lavris sutîi (to have thin lips; il lavri, lip). The nouns la cee and il lavri have appeared before in this post about the Friulian names for features of the human head.

Two ways to express to swallow (or, depending on the context, also to swallow up, to gobble up) in Friulian are gloti (verse 7) and parâ jù (verse 21 ahead). Supplementary examples: gloti un cluc di aghe (to swallow a gulp of water), al à glotût une caramele e a moments i leve par stuart (he swallowed a sweet and it almost choked him; a moments, almost; lâ par stuart, to go down the wrong way), la cinise e à glotût la citât di Pompei (the ash swallowed up the city of Pompeii), parâ jù un bocon (to swallow a mouthful), al pare jù dut ce che al cjate tal frigorifar (he gobbles up everything he finds in the refrigerator), al à parât jù la paste intun colp (he gobbled the pastry up all in one go).

Versets 8-15

Vocabulary: tal indoman a buinore (the following morning), sotsore (upsidedown; to be understood here as troubled, disconcerted), il strolic (magician), il sapient (wise man), splanâ (to interpret), pandi (to reveal, to divulge), il pecjât (sin), cjapâse cun (to get angry with), il pancôr (baker), zovin (young), un ebreu (Hebrew), un sclâf (slave), spiegâ (to explain), precîs che (just as), picjâ (to hang), intune batude di voli (in the blink of an eye), fâsi la barbe (to shave one’s beard), mudâsi (to change one’s clothes, to get changed; literally, to transform oneself, to change oneself), la anime (soul), sintî a dî (to hear word, to hear tell), bastâ (to be sufficient), dal moment (immediately).

An important usage appears in verse 8: sotsore. It is used here to describe the Pharaoh as being troubled (because of his dreams), but its literal meaning is upsidedown: you will recognise that it is composed of sot + sore (under + above). More examples: une foto incurnisade sotsore (a photo framed upsidedown; incurnisâ, to frame), une cjamare dute sotsore (a disorderly bedroom; literally, an upsidedown bedroom), vê il cûr sotsore (to be troubled; literally, to have one’s heart upsidedown).

In verse 8, you will have understood that the jal of splanâjal is a contraction of i + lu, where lu stands in for il sium. You read: ma nissun nol rivave a splanâjal al faraon (but nobody was able to interpret it for the Pharaoh; but nobody was able to explain it to the Pharaoh).

In verse 12, the chief cupbearer (il grant sorestant dai vins) says that he and the chief baker (il grant pancôr) told their dreams to a young Hebrew man: i vin contât i nestris siums e lui nus ai à spiegâts (we told him our dreams and he explained them to us). You will remember that nus + ju creates nus ai.

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

In verse 14, you encounter the Friulian for beard: la barbe. This is not to be confused with the Friulian for uncle: il barbe. The plural forms of these two nouns are lis barbis (beards) and i barbis (uncles). In the text, you find the expression fâsi la barbe, meaning to shave one’s beard. You also find in this same verse mudâsi, meaning to change oneself, to transform oneself, but, here, in the context of these verses, it is to be understood as meaning to change one’s clothes. You will recognise mudâ as being cognate with the English mutate.

The Pharaoh, in verse 15, says to Joseph: o ai fat un sium e no cjati anime che mal splani (I have had a dream and I cannot [literally, I do not] find a soul who may interpret it for me). You will have recognised mal as resulting from mi + lu. You will notice that the verb splanâ is conjugated here in the third-person singular of the coniuntîf presint; compare: al splane (third-person singular of the presint indicatîf), al splani (third-person singular of the coniuntîf presint).

Still in verse 15, the Pharaoh continues: ma o ai sintût a dî di te (but I have heard it said of you) che al baste contâti il sium (that it is sufficient to tell you the dream; that is, that one need only tell you the dream) e tu tu lu splanis dal moment (and you interpret it straightaway). The verb bastâ means to be sufficient; al baste che can be understood as meaning it is sufficient that, one need only. Example: al baste pôc par divertîsi (one does not need much to have fun, one needs little to enjoy oneself; literally, it is sufficient little to enjoy oneself).

Versets 16-24

Vocabulary: la rispueste (answer, response), zovâ (to be of benefit), sclagn (skinny, thin), orent (horrible), ven a stâi (that is to say), parâ jù (to swallow), inacuargisi (to notice; also inacuarzisi), compagn di prin (just as before), di numar (from amongst them), dâ une rispueste (to give an answer).

Joseph, in verse 16, says to the Pharaoh: jo no soi nuie (I am nothing). He continues: al è Diu che i darà al faraon (it is God who will give to the Pharaoh) la rispueste che i zovarà di plui (the answer that will best be of benefit to him). The Pharaoh begins to explain his dream in verse 17: tal sium che o ai fat (in the dream that I had), mi pareve che o fos sul ôr dal Nîl (it seemed to me that I was on the shore of the Nile). You will notice the use of the subjunctive following mi pareve che. Compare: o jeri sul ôr dal Nîl (using the imperfet indicatîf), mi pareve che o fos sul ôr dal Nîl (using the coniuntîf imperfet).

The adjective sclagn appears for the first time in verse 19. For example, al è un om alt e sclagn means he is a tall and skinny man; al jere un arbul sclagn sclagn means it was a very thin tree (with repetition of the adjective for emphasis). In full, this verse reads: ma daûr di lôr (but after them) a saltarin fûr altris siet vacjis sclagnis, brutis e secjis di fâ pôre (seven other frightfully thin, ugly and skinny cows came forth), che no ’nd ài viodudis di cussì orendis in dut l’Egjit (the horrible likes of which I have never seen in all of Egypt). This last part can be understood literally as which of them I have never seen so horrible in all Egypt. Take note that the past participle here agrees in gender and number with the ’nd preceding it; in this case, because ’nd refers back to lis vacjis, it is accorded in the feminine plural as viodudis.

In verse 21, e cuant che lis verin paradis jù is to be understood as meaning and when they had swallowed them (that is, and when they had devoured them). You will recognise the use of the expression parâ jù here, which you examined in more detail in the notes above.

The twenty-first verse continues: nancje no si inacuargevisi che lis vevin mangjadis (one could not even tell that they had eaten them) parcè che a jerin secjis e brutis compagn di prin (because they were just as skinny and ugly as before). You have seen that si can be used to express what English does with the impersonal subject one; for example, si viodeve che can be understood as one saw that, one could see that. In verse 21, however, you have a reflexive verb: inacuargisi. This means that there will be two si present: the one that denotes the impersonal use, and the other belonging to the reflexive verb. In the text, take note of how they are positioned: no si inacuargevisi che (one did not notice that, one could not notice that). The final e of inacuargeve changes to i when si is added to the end. You will recall that nancje means not even: nancje no si inacuargevisi che (one could not even notice that, one could not even tell that).

The Pharaoh, in verse 24, says: jo ur ai contât il sium ai strolics (I told the dream to the magicians), ma no ’nt cjati un di numar (but I cannot find [literally, I do not find] one from amongst them) che al sedi bon di dâmi une rispueste (who may be capable of giving me an answer).

Versets 25-32

Vocabulary: unic (single, one only), fâ savê (to let know), vê intenzion di (to intend to), passût (fed, sated), tratâsi (to be question of), precîs edentic (just like, exactly the same), valadì (that is to say), la miserie (famine), la bondance (abundance, plenty), dismenteâ (to forget), la streme (affliction), scanâ (to exhaust), la regjon (region), impensâsi (to recall, to remember), a preference di (on account of, by reason of), dûr (difficult, hard), distinât (determined; also destinât), de part di (by, owing to), la presse (urgency, rush), vê presse (to be in a hurry, to be rushed), daurman (immediately).

Be sure to learn the third-person singular and plural of the presint indicatîf of the verb volê, which are al vûl and a vuelin. You find these used in al vûl dî (it means; verse 32) and a vuelin dî (they mean; verses 26 and 27).

In verse 25, unic is to be understood as meaning single, and not unique in the sense of exceptional or special. Joseph says of the two dreams of the Pharaoh: il faraon al à fat un sium unic (the Pharaoh has had one single dream). The adjective unic can, of course, also mean unique in the sense of special, exceptional: al è un scritôr pardabon unic (he is a very unique writer).

In verse 26, the use of passût (passudis in the text), meaning fed, sated, will perhaps have reminded you of passût di dîs (full of days; literally, fed on days, sated with days) encountered previously (see the notes at Gjenesi 25:8). In the current verse, it is not passût di dîs that you find, but: lis siet vacjis passudis (the seven fed cows). As for ancje chei, this means they too, as in: i siet spîs palomps (the seven ripe ears) a vuelin dî ancje chei siet agns (they too mean seven years). You will find the feminine form ancje chês in verse 27.

Still in verse 26, ven a stâi si trate di un unic sium is to be understood as meaning that is to say, it is question of one single dream (that is, the two dreams that the Pharaoh has had are, according to Joseph’s interpretation, one single dream).

Verse 27: precîs edentic dai siet spîs sutîi (just like the seven thin ears). Edentic is also expressed as identic in Friulian.

Joseph explains, in verse 29, that there will be seven years of plenty: siet agns di bondance, followed by seven years of famine: siet agns di miserie. When the famine comes, the years of plenty will be forgotten: si dismentearà dute la bondance (one will forget all the abundance). The verb dismenteâ means to forget; you will perhaps have noticed in it the prefix dis and the feminine noun ment, meaning mind (that is, to “dismind”). Another example of use: o ai dismenteât il numar di telefon (I have forgotten the telephone number).

A little farther ahead, in verse 31, you find the idea of forgetting the abundance expressed differently: nissun no s’impensarà plui de bondance de tiere (nobody will recall anymore the abundance of the land) a preference de streme ch’e vignarà (on account of the affliction that will come). The coming affliction, Joseph says, will be grievous indeed: e sarà une vore dure (it will be very difficult).

In verse 32, you read: se il faraon al à tornât a fâ il stes sium (if the Pharaoh has had the same dream again), al vûl dî che la robe e je za distinade de part di Diu (it means that the thing [the matter] has already been determined by God) e che Diu al à presse di fâ la robe daurman (and that God is pressed to do the thing immediately).

Versets 33-40

Vocabulary: poben (well then, now therefore), cjatâ fûr (to locate, to find), la sperience (experience), il sintiment (discretion, discernment), vê il comant di (to have the command of, to lead, to be in charge of), metisi in vore (to set oneself to work, to mobilise oneself), nomenâ (to nominate), par chel cont (in this regard), meti di bande (to set aside), la cuinte part (one fifth), une anade (year), tirâ dongje (to gather, to pull together), ingrumâ (to pile up, to accumulate), il forment (grain, wheat), sot il comant di (under the command of), cun tant di vuaite (with guards and all), servî di (to serve as), la scorte (provision, stockpile, reserve), plombâ su (to crash down upon, to strike), fruçâ (to destroy), par colpe di (because of, due to), il resonament (reasoning, way of thinking), un uficiâl (official), compagn di chest (like this one), il spirt (spirit), fâ cognossi (to cause to know), la inteligjence (intelligence), il palaç (palace), stâ ai ordins di (to be under the orders of), alt (high), par vie di (because of, by way of), la sente (throne).

The use of the subjunctive in verses 33, 38 and 39 conveys a sense of uncertainty about the existence of what is sought: cjatâ un om che al puedi vê il comant di (to find a man who may [happen to] be able to have the command of), cjatâ un om che al vedi cun sè il spirt di Diu (to find a man who may [happen to] have with himself the Spirit of God), no ’nd è nissun che al vedi la tô inteligjence (there is nobody who may [happen to] have your intelligence).

With nothing more than the aid of the vocabulary listed above, you should be able to understand these verses without any particular difficulty. As such, I have taken the opportunity to provide you below with supplementary examples of usage related to a few of the ones appearing in these verses:

Meti in vore (to put to use, to put into practice, to put to work): meti in vore un progjet (to get a project underway), meti in vore il spetacul (to get the show underway), meti in vore un plan di evacuazion (to set up an evacuation plan), e je rivade la ore di metisi in vore (the time has come for us to get to work; literally, the hour has arrived to put oneself to work), metisi in vore par finî i compits (to get to work in order to finish the tasks).

Meti di bande (to set aside, to put away, to put in storage): la scuadre e à metût di bande ogni sium di vitorie (the team has abandoned all hopes of winning; literally, the team has put aside every dream of victory), o ai metût di bande dutis lis maiis di invier (I have put away all the winter pullovers; la maie, sweater, pullover), meti di bande lis emozions (to cast aside one’s emotions, to banish one’s emotions).

Tirâ dongje (to pull together, to bring together, to gather): al tire dongje dutis lis miôr cualitâts de famee (he brings together all the best qualities of the family; that is, all the best qualities of the family are in him), tirâ dongje lis pioris tal tamar (to bring the sheep together into the pen; il tamar, sheep pen), tirâ dongje cuadris par une mostre (to gather paintings for an exhibit; il cuadri, painting; la mostre, exhibit, exposition).

Ingrumâ (to pile up, to accumulate, to amass): no âstu za ingrumât avonde bêçs? (have you not already accumulated enough money?), o vin ingrumât i claps intun cjanton (we piled the stones up in a corner), la none e ingrume ducj i bêçs de pension (grandmother saves up all the pension money), la nêf si ingrume sul cuviert (the snow piles up on the roof), i nûi si ingrumin parsore de citât (the clouds accumulate over the city).

Versets 41-46

Vocabulary: il dêt (finger), gjavâsi dal dêt (to remove from one’s finger), un anel (ring), riviestî (to cover, to drape; also rivistî), il fîl (thread; textile), dal plui fin (of the finest), il cuel (neck), la golane (chain; also la golaine), d’aur (of gold, golden), il cjar (chariot; cart), montâ sul cjar (to get on the chariot), dopo dal so (after his own), berlâ (to yell), alçâ la man (to lift one’s hand), alçâ il pît (to lift one’s foot), il predi (priest), visitâ (to visit), daspò (afterwards), slontanâsi (to leave, to go away), passâ fûr par fûr (to pass through and through, to go throughout). Names: Sofnat-Paneac (Zaphnathpaaneah), Asenat (Asenath), Potifere (Potipherah), On (On).

In verse 42, you read: e il faraon si gjavà dal dêt l’anel (and the Pharaoh removed his ring from his finger) e lu metè tal dêt di Josef (and put it on Joseph’s finger). Take note of the Friulian wording here: it has used neither il so dêt nor il so anel; the reflexive gjavâsi alone makes it clear whose finger and whose ring are in question.

Still in verse 42, you also read: i metè tor dal cuel la golane d’aur (he [the Pharaoh] put his golden chain around his [Joseph’s] neck). D’aur (or di aur) is the Friulian for golden, made of gold. Another example: une statue di aur (a golden statue, a statue of gold). There also exists the adjective dorât, which can be used to describe something as having the colour of gold: une fantate cui cjavei dorâts (a girl with golden hair).

In verse 43, the meaning of the Egyptian abrek is unknown; this is sometimes rendered in English as bow the knee; kneel down.

You find the Friulian equivalent of neither… nor in verse 44: ma però (however) cence il to ordin (without your order) nissun nol podarà alçâ ni la man ni il pît in dut l’Egjit (nobody shall raise [literally, nobody shall be able to raise] either his hand or his foot in all of Egypt). Following nobody, English does not negate the sentence; Friulian, however, does negate following nissun.

Versets 47-52

Vocabulary: butâ (to produce), tant che mai (more than ever), meti vie (to put away, to store away), dulintôr (surrounding), il savalon (sand), il mâr (sea), tant e po tant che (so much that, in such quantity that), stâ daûr ai conts (to keep track of, to take stock of), un disordin (great quantity, large amount), sproposetât (excessive), un an (year), la pene (torment, misery), la furtune (fortune; also la fortune), la disgracie (misfortune). Names: Manasse (Manasseh), Efraim (Ephraim).

In verse 48, you find metint, which is the present participle of the verb meti. You read: al metè vie la robe tes citâts (he stored the produce away in the cities), metint in ogni citât la robe de campagne dulintôr (putting in every city the produce of the surrounding fields).

Verse 49 can be understood as follows: Josef al metè vie il forment (Joseph stored the grain away) come il savalon dal mâr (like the sand of the sea), tant e po tant che no si rivave plui nancje a stâ daûr ai conts (in such quantity that one was no longer even able to keep count of it), parcè che and jere un disordin sproposetât (because there was an excessively large amount of it). You will have understood that and means of it here; it can also be written a ’nd.

In verse 50, you encounter: prime che al rivàs l’an de miserie (before the year of famine arrived). You will have perhaps understood that al rivàs is the masculine, third-person singular of the coniuntîf imperfet; the presence of prime has required the use of the subjunctive. Compare: al rive; prime che al rivi (it arrives; before it arrives), al rivave; prime che al rivàs (it was arriving; before it was arriving). An means year; you will remember that the plural form is agns, which you have encountered many times before.

Versets 53-57

Vocabulary: finî (to finish, to end), scomençâ (to start), dapardut (everywhere), mancjâ (to be lacking), il pan (bread), patî (to endure, to undergo), la fan (hunger; also la fam), patî la fan (to suffer from hunger, to go hungry), regnâ (to reign), sun dute la tiere (over all the earth), viergi (to open; also vierzi), il dipuesit (depository, depot, storage), cressi (to grow, to increase), di ogni bande (from all directions), comprâ (to buy), in dut il mont (the world over), di fâ pôre (following a noun, to be understood as frightful).

The beginning of verse 53 is to be understood as follows: po a finirin i siet agns di bondance che a jerin stâts te tiere dal Egjit (then came to an end the seven years of plenty that had been in the land of Egypt).

You will recall that e fo is the feminine, third-person singular of the passât sempliç of the verb jessi. In verse 54, you read: e fo miserie dapardut (there was famine everywhere).

In verse 55, the Pharaoh says: lait di Josef e fasêt ce che us dîs lui (go to Joseph and do what he tells you). You will have understood that lait and fasêt are both second-person plural imperative forms.

With the usages listed above, you should be able to make out on your own the meaning of the rest of the text in this grouping of verses.