Friulian language series: Gjenesi 42, Josef e i siei fradis

In your study of Friulian, this post brings you to the forty-second chapter of the book of Genesis. Gjenesi 42, where the subject is Josef e i siei fradis (Joseph and his brothers), presents quite a bit of new Friulian vocabulary with which to become familiar.

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Read Gjenesi 42

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 An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-5

Vocabulary: il forment (grain), vendi (to sell), cjalâsi un cul altri (to look at one another), restâ in vite (to stay alive, to survive), murî di fan (to die of hunger), sucedi (to happen, to occur), comprâ (to buy), dutun cun (along with), la miserie (famine), regnâ (to reign).

Jacob has heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt: al è forment di vendi. In verse 1, you read: sintint a dî ([upon] hearing said) che in Egjit a vevin forment di vendi (that in Egypt they had grain to sell). You will have no doubt noticed by now that in Egypt is expressed as in Egjit; other usages include the definite article: re dal Egjit (king of Egypt), i sapients dal Egjit (the wise men of Egypt), in dut l’Egjit (in all of Egypt), la tiere dal Egjit (the land of Egypt), la regjon dal Egjit (the region of Egypt), etc.

Still in verse 1, Jacob says to his sons: parcè po staiso culì a cjalâsi un cul altri? (why then are you here [just] looking at one another?; why then do you stay here [just] looking at each other?). Staiso is the interrogative form of o stais (from the verb stâ), which can be understood as meaning you are, you stay.

In the sense of to be, stâ expresses a temporary physical or psychological condition, whereas a permanent quality is expressed with jessi. Here are more examples of the verb stâ (all of which you have already seen, but I shall include them here again for review): 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 verse 2, Jacob says to his sons: lait jù a comprânt un pôc (go down [to Egypt] to buy a little of it), se o volês restâ in vite (if you want to survive) e no murî di fan (and not die of hunger). You will recognise that the nt ending of comprânt means of it; comprânt un pôc is to be understood as to buy a little of it, in reference to the grain. In English, it is possible to say to buy a little, without including of it; Friulian, on the other hand, does not omit it.

Jacob does not allow his son Benjamin to leave with his brothers; in verse 4, he says: no volarès che i sucedès alc (I would not want something to happen to him). Al sucedès is the third-person singular of the coniuntîf imperfet.

Versets 6-11

Vocabulary: butâsi par tiere (to take to the ground [in deference]), cu la muse (with one’s face), a pene che (as soon as), ricognossi (to recognise), sul at (instantly), fâ fente (to pretend), il forest (stranger), tratâ (to treat), la malegracie (rudeness, impoliteness), dontri (from where), alc di mangjâ (something to eat), no… gran (not at all, hardly), impensâsi di (to recall), sul lôr cont (about them, regarding them), il spion (spy), chenti (here), il puest (place, spot), scuviert (unprotected; literally, uncovered), protestâ (to protest), la spese (provisions), sclet (sincere, frank), lafè no (not at all, hardly).

When the brothers arrive, Joseph recognises them at once (sul at); he pretends, however, to not be their brother: al fasè fente di jessi un forest par lôr (he pretended to be a stranger to them) e ju tratà cun malegracie (and he dealt with them harshly; he treated them with rudeness). Fâ fente is an important expression to learn; here are more examples of it: o ai fât fente di no cognossilu (I pretended to not know him), parcè po fâstu fente di no savê nuie? (why then do you pretend to not know anything?), al fâs fente di jessi malât (he pretends to be ill).

In verse 8, you read: Josef al ricognossè i siei fradis (Joseph recognised his brothers) ma lôr no lu ricognosserin gran (but they did not recognise him at all). Another example of gran in this sense: no mi plâs gran (I do not like it at all; literally, it is not pleasing to me at all).

In verse 9, Joseph calls his brothers spies. He says: o sês vignûts chenti (you have come here) dome par viodi (only to see) là che a son i puescj plui scuvierts de tiere (where the most unprotected places of the land are). I puescj is the plural of il puest. Scuviert literally means uncovered (it is the opposite of cuviert, meaning covered); it is to be understood here as meaning unprotected, open, weak.

The brothers say, in verse 10, that they have come to Egypt to buy provisions, or food: comprâ spese. Learn also the expression fâ la spese, which, in contemporary usage, means to do the grocery shopping: o voi a fâ la spese (I am off to do the grocery shopping, I am going now to do the grocery shopping). In verse 11, they say that they are not spies: i tiei fameis no son (your servants are not) lafè no (at all) spions (spies).

Verses 12-17

Vocabulary: vêr (true), mancul (least), difindût (defended, protected), ultin (last, final; used here in the sense of youngest), la prove (proof), come che (as, because, given that), il faraon (pharaoh), vîf (alive), lâ vie (to go away), fintremai che (until), vignî jù (to come down), plui piçul (smallest; youngest), mandâ (to send), cirî (to look for, to seek), il presonîr (prisoner), provâ (to prove), la peraule (word), dî la veretât (to tell the truth), senò (otherwise), meti in preson (to put in prison), par trê dîs (for three days).

Note how that is not true is expressed in verse 12: no je vere. Vere is the feminine form of vêr, meaning true. You find another feminine usage in verse 14: e je come che o dîs jo (it is how I say): o sês spions (you are spies).

In verse 9, you encountered: i puescj plui scuvierts (the places most unprotected). In verse 12, you now find: i puescj mancul difindûts (the places least protected).

In verse 13, the brothers say of two of their other brothers: l’ultin al è restât cun nestri pari (the youngest one [literally, the last one] has stayed with our father) e un no lu vin plui (and one we no longer have; that is, and [another] one [of our brothers] is no longer with us).

Ve la prove che us fasarai fâ, from verse 15, is to be understood as here is the proof that I shall make you provide (literally, that I shall make you do).

Versets 18-23

Vocabulary: il tierç (third), vê salve la vite (to be spared), la teme (fear), vê teme di (to fear), spietâ (to wait), puartâ indaûr (to bring back), vê la conferme di (to have confirmation of), dîsi un cul altri (to say to one another), sigûr che (it is certain that), paiâ la part (to pay for the deed), la passion (anguish, pain), preâ (to beg), par chel (for this reason), la volte (turn), patî (to endure, to suffer), pûr (even, indeed), domandâ cont di (to ask to account for, to require a reckoning for), capî (to understand), un interprit (interpreter).

In verse 19, Joseph says: se o vês dite la veretât (if you have told the truth), un di vualtris fradis che al resti culì in preson (let one of you brothers remain here in prison) e chei altris (and the others) o podês lâ a puartâur il forment a lis vuestris fameis (you can go take the grain to your servants) che a spietin (who await).

O paìn, from verse 21, is the first-person plural of the presint indicatîf of the verb paiâ. You read: sigûr che cumò (it is certain that now) o paìn la part (we are paying for the deed) che i vin fate al nestri fradi (that we did to our brother).

In verse 22, you read: cumò viodêso (now do you see) che nus ven domandât cont dal so sanc (that we are asked to account for his blood)? Nus ven domandât can be understood more literally as it comes asked of us, or it gets asked of us.

Versets 24-28

Vocabulary: slontanâsi (to distance oneself), tacâ a vaî (to start to cry), incjadenâ (to chain up), dâ ordin di (to order, to command), jemplâ di (to fill with), il sac (sack), i bêçs (money), il viaç (journey), cjamâ (to load), il mus (donkey), lâsint (to leave, to go away), campâsi pe gnot (to set up camp for the night), viergi (to open), une grampe (handful), parsore vie (on top), sul ôr di (at the edge of), tornâ indaûr (to return, to give back), sintîsi a mancjâ (to feel oneself lack), spaventât (frightened).

In verse 25, Joseph gives the order to fill his brothers’ sacks with grain and to return their money to them: Josef al dè ordin di jemplâ di forment i lôr sacs (Joseph gave the order to fill their sacks with grain) e di tornâi a meti i bêçs a ognidun tal so sac (and to put back into each one’s sack his [own] money).

You encounter the verb cjamâ again in verse 26. You first met this usage in Gjenesi 37:25, when you read: i lôr camêi a jerin cjamâts di gome adragant (their camels were loaded with tragacanth gum). In the current verse now, you read: a cjamarin il forment sui lôr mus (they loaded the grain on their donekys) e si ’nt lerin (and left).

One of the brothers (un di lôr, one of them), in verse 27, finds his money in his sack: i siei bêçs a jerin parsore vie (his money was on top) sul ôr dal sac (at the edge of the sack). He then says, in verse 28: mi àn tornât indaûr i bêçs (they have given me my money back). The brothers are terrified (spaventâts) to discover their money because they fear a ruse: that they might be accused of robbery, for example. They say: ce nus aial fat mo Diu? (what then has God done to us?).

Versets 29-34

Vocabulary: contâ (to tell, to relate), il paron espotic (lord of the land), cjapâ par (to take for, to mistake for), libar (frank, sincere), jessi in dodis fradis (to be twelve brothers), comandâ (to command, to rule), sun dute la regjon (over all the region), stâ pôc a fâ (to be about to do, to be on the verge of doing), sancirâsi se (to determine if, to ascertain whether), coventâ (to be necessary), menâ jù (to bring down), girâ la regjon (to travel the region), in lunc e in larc (far and wide; literally, in long and in wide).

You read in verse 33: o stoi pôc a sancirâmi se o disês la veretât o no (I am about to determine if you are telling the truth or not; I am about to ascertain whether or not you are telling the truth). You first came across the verb sancirâsi in Gjenesi 9:24, when, in the episode of Noah’s drunkeness, you encountered: cuant che Noè al tornà a sancirâsi (when Noah sobered back up). There, sancirâsi took on the sense of to sober up, to become clear-headed. (Recall that the adjective sancîr [or sincîr] means lucid, clear, sober.) Now, in the context of the current verse, the reflexive sancirâsi can be understood as meaning to get clear on, to clear oneself up on (that is, to determine, to ascertain).

Still in verse 33, you find three second-person plural imperatives: lassait (leave), cjolêt (take), laitsint (leave, go off).

vatint! (second-person singular)
(= va + ti + int)
leave, go off, go away!

laitsint! (second-person plural)
(= lait + si + int)
leave, go off, go away!

Versets 35-38

Vocabulary: disvuedâ (to empty), la borse (bag), cjapâ pôre (to become afraid, to take fright), puartâ vie (to take away), plombâ intor (to befall, to strike, to crash down around), menâ dongje (to bring unto), il dirit (right), dâ dirit di (to give the right to), copâ (to kill), muart (dead), stâ par fâ (to be about to do), i cjavei (hair), blanc (white), chel altri mont (the other world), intun mâr di (in a sea of), la disperazion (despair, sorrow).

In verse 37, Reuben offers a guarantee to bring Benjamin back; he says to his father Jacob: se jo no tal torni a menâ dongje (if I do not bring him back to you), ti doi dirit di copâ i miei doi fruts (I give you the right to kill my two boys). He continues: damal a mi (give him to me) e jo tal tornarai a puartâ indaûr (and I shall bring him back to you). Be sure to ponder the use of tal and damal in this verse.

In verse 38, you read: se al ves di sucedi alc pal viaç che o stais par fâ (if something should happen on the journey that you are about to undertake), o fasaressis lâ i miei cjavei blancs in chel altri mont (you would make my white hairs go into the other world) in tun mâr di disperazion (in a sea of despair). In se al ves di sucedi alc, you find the third-person singular, coniuntîf imperfet form al ves, from the verb vê. You will recognise the use of the expression vê di here. This portion of text can be understood more literally as if something should have to happen, but the sense of it is if something should happen.