Friulian language series: Gjenesi 43, Beniamin in Egjit

As with the previous chapter, Gjenesi 43 presents quite a bit of new Friulian vocabulary. The subject of this forty-third chapter of the book of Genesis is Beniamin in Egjit (Benjamin in Egypt).

If you are arriving on this site for the first time, begin your study of the Friulian language here (Gjenesi 1).

Read Gjenesi 43

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 An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-7

Vocabulary: la fan (hunger; also la fam), masse (too, excessively), trement (terrible, horrible), comprâ ancjemò alc (to buy something more, to buy still something else), za (already), visâ (to warn), disponût (willing, disposed), comprâ di mangjâ (to buy something to eat), fâ chê opare di (to do that deed of), la famee (family), rispuindi in merit (to answer accordingly).

In verse 2, you read: cuant che a verin finît di mangjâ il forment (when they had finished eating the grain) che a vevin puartât dongje dal Egjit (that they had brought back from Egypt). A verin finît is composed of the third-person plural of the passât sempliç of the auxiliary + the past participle finît: this is known as the trapassât sempliç. Jacob says to his sons: Tornait jù e viodêt s’o rivais a comprâ ancjemò alc (go back down [to Egypt] and see if you [can] manage to buy more; literally, to buy something again). S’o is a contraction of se + o.

You will have recognised the negated, second-person plural imperative in verses 3 and 5: no stait a presentâsi devant di me (do not present yourselves before me).

In verse 4, if Jacob will allow Benjamin to leave with them, Judah says: o lin jù e ti comprìn di mangjâ (we shall go down and we shall buy you food; literally; we go down and we buy you food). O lin and o comprìn are presint indicatîf forms, of the first-person plural.

You find the following in verse 5: ma se no tu lu lassis vignî (but if you do not let him come). Take a moment to review word order:

tu tu lassis vignî
tu lassis vignî

tu no tu lassis vignî
no tu lassis vignî

tu tu lu lassis vignî
tu lu lassis vignî

tu no tu lu lassis vignî
no tu lu lassis vignî

In verse 6, Jacob is referred to as Israel. Take note of the use of ancjemò in verses 6 and 7 to become better at using it yourself: parcè mo mi vêso fate chê opare di dî che o vevis ancjemò un fradi? (why then did you do to me that deed of saying that you had another brother?; that is, why then did you go and say that you had another brother?), vuestri pari esal ancjemò vîf? (is your father still alive?), vêso ancjemò un fradi? (have you another brother?).

In verse 7, the brothers respond: ce podevino savê che nus varès vût dit (how could we have known that he would have happened to say to us): menaitmi jù vuestri fradi (bring your brother down to me)?

o podevin savê che
we could know that
we were able to know that

ce podevino savê che
what could we know that
what were we able to know that
that is, how could we have known that

With al varès vût dit (he would have happened to say), you encounter what is known as un timp bicomponût (bicompound tense). For more information on this, and to better understand the sense of the question asked in verse 7, see the notes for Esodo 13:8.

Versets 8-14

Vocabulary: anìn (let us go, off we go), daurman (at once), vê voe di (to wish, to desire; also vê voie di), la schene (back; of human body), vê su pe schene (to be responsible for), rispuindi di (to answer for), domandâ cont (to ask to account for), puartâ indaûr (to bring back), puartâ la colpe (to bear the blame), par in vite (for life, forever), intardâsi (to linger, to delay oneself), a di chest’ore (by now), tornâ indaûr (to come back), jessi un sanscugnî (to be a necessity; also sant scugnî), il prodot (produce, product), sielt (select, choice), un pôc di (a bit of), il balsim (balsam), la mîl (honey), une grampe di (a handful of), l’adragant (tragacanth; recall la gome adragant [tragacanth gum] from previous chapters), il laudìn (laudanum), une zumiele di (a handful of), il pistoc (pistachio; also il pistac), la mandule (almond), al indopli (in double), sul ôr di (at the edge of), salacor (perhaps, maybe), fâ a pueste (to do on purpose), il boncûr (mercy, grace), in mût che (such that, so that), jessi distin (to be destined; also destin), par me (according to me, the way I see it).

This grouping of verses contains quite a bit of new Friulian vocabulary to learn, as well as a number of grammatical usages to take note of.

Note the wording in verse 8: lasse che il frut al vegni cun me (let the lad come with me). This is formed by using lassâ che (to let that, to allow that), followed by the subjunctive. You can understand lasse che il frut al vegni cun me more literally as allow that the lad may come with me. Still in verse 8, dute la int che o vin su pe schene can be understood as all the people that we are responsible for. Su pe schene translates literally as upon one’s back.

In verse 9, Judah says: o rispuint jo di lui (I shall answer for him; literally, I answer for him) e tu mi domandarâs cont a mi (and you will ask me to account [for him]). In o rispuint jo di lui, you find the first-person singular, presint indicatîf form o rispuint (I answer), from the verb rispuindi. O rispuint jo di lui can be better understood as it is me who is responsible for him.

Take note of the forms puartâtal (to bring him to you) and presentâtal (to present him to you) in verse 9: se mi rive (if it happens to me; that is, if I should happen) di no puartâtal indaûr (to not bring him back to you) e di no presentâtal devant dai vôi (and to not present him before your eyes), mi puartarai la colpe par in vite (I shall bear the blame for life).

In verse 10, you read: se no si fossin intardâts tant (if we had not lingered so long), a di chest’ore o saressin biel tornâts indaûr pe seconde volte (by now we would have long been back for the second time). Note the use of the subjunctive following se. Note also the use of biel for emphasis.

Learn the form puartaitjai (take them to him), from verse 11: cjolêt però i prodots plui sielts de nestre tiere (but take the choicest products from our land) e puartaitjai a di chel om (and take them to that man). Puartait is a second-person plural imperative; added to it is jai, a contraction of i + ju, where ju stands in for the plural prodots.

Note, in verse 11, the difference between un pôc di balsim and un pocje di mîl; pôc has been made to agree in gender with that of noun in both cases.

Learn the form tornaitjur (return to them), from verse 12: cjolêt bêçs al indopli (take double the money) e tornaitjur i bêçs (and return to them the money) che a vevin metûts sul ôr dai vuestris sacs (that they had put at the edge of your sacks).

Versets 15-18

Vocabulary: il regâl (gift), dopli (double), fâ fûr (to kill), preparâ (to prepare), a misdì (at noon), gustâ (to lunch, to eat lunch), ordenâ (to order, to command), cjapâ pôre (to get scared, to take a fright), par vie di (because of), chê altre volte (the last time, the other time), plombâ parmìs (to fall down upon), brincâ (to capture, to seize), fâ sclâf (to enslave).

In verse 12, you encountered bêçs al indopli; in verse 15, you find doplis bêçs. Bêçs al indopli can be understood literally as money in double, and doplis bêçs as double money. More examples of dopli: lungjece dople (double length), porzion dople (double portion), une persone dople (a false person), dopli t (double t; that is, tt), al lavore il dopli di chei altris (he works twice as much as the others), viodi dopli pe strache (to see double out of fatigue).

You have seen the expression fâ fûr a number of times now; it can be translated as to kill, to slaughter, to destroy, to take out (in the sense of to kill). You will remember it in particular from the Sodom and Gomorrah story, when the angels said, in Gjenesi 19:13: il Signôr nus à mandâts a fâju fûr (the Lord has sent us to destroy them). Now, in verse 15 of the current chapter, you read: fâs fûr un nemâl e preparilu (slaughter an animal and prepare it).

In the last sentence of verse 18, you find the presint indicatîf used, whereas English would have employed the future: nus plombin parmìs (they [will] fall upon us), nus brìnchin (they [will] seize us) e nus fasin sclâfs (and they [will] make us slaves). The use of the presint indicatîf here emphasises the conviction that the events will occur.

Versets 19-25

Vocabulary: un antîl (doorframe; to be understood here as doorstep), un viaç (once, one time), comprâ gjenar (to buy provisions), campâsi pe gnot (to set up camp for the night), viergi (to open), parsore vie (on top), dâsi la pâs (to not worry, to be at peace; literally, to give oneself peace), il tesaur (treasure), fâ comodâ (to welcome in, to make get settled), lavâsi i pîts (to wash one’s feet), il fen (hay), spietâ (to wait), tirâ fûr (to pull out), li di lui (at his place).

Stant sul antîl di cjase, from verse 19, can be understood as (whilst) standing at the doorstep. You find the past participle of the verb viergi (or vierzi) in verse 21, which is viert. You read: o vin vierts i nestris sacs (we opened our sacks). Note the use of altris in verse 22: o vin puartâts altris bêçs (we have brought more money). Still in verse 22, you also read: nô no savìn (we do not know) cui che al à metûts i nestris bêçs (who put our money) intai sacs di forment (in the sacks of grain). In verse 23, you read: daitsi la pâs (be at peace) e no stait a vê pôre (and do not be afraid).

Versets 26-34

Vocabulary: ufrî (to offer), butâsi par tiere (to take to the ground [in deference]), cu la muse (with one’s face), saludâ (to greet), cun muse ridint (with a laughing face; that is, in a welcoming manner), vieli (old), vîf (alive), butâsi in genoglon (to go down on one’s knees; also written zenoglon), chel chi (this one here), la furtune (fortune), saltâ fûr di corse (to rush out, to come running out), ingropâsi par (to become moved by), sglonf (swollen, puffed up), vê i vôi sglonfs (to have eyes swollen with tears), la cjamare (bedroom, chamber), metisi a vaî (to start to cry), lavâsi la muse (to wash one’s face), fâsi il cûr fuart (to pluck up one’s courage), puartâ di mangjâ (to bring [food] to eat), servî (to serve), a part (separately), compagn (similarly), insiemit cun (along with), orent (horrible), plaçâ (to place, to set), in face di lui (in front of him, before him), daûr l’etât (by age, according to age), cjalâsi in muse (to look at one another, to face one another), cence pronuncie (without saying a word), il plat (plate, dish), il miôr toc (best bit), la purizion (portion), bevi (to drink), infinamai che (until), deventâ legri (to become merry).

You are reminded in verse 27 how to inquire about one’s well-being: cemût staial po vuestri pari? (how then is your father?). (Recall the Friulian cemût stâstu? [how are you?].) In full, Joseph says: cemût staial po vuestri pari (how then is your father), vieli come che al è (as old as he is), che mi vevis fevelât (of whom you had spoken to me)? He also asks: esal ancjemò vîf? (is he still alive?). In verse 28, the brothers say of their father: al sta ben, al è ancjemò vîf (he is well, he is still alive).

In verse 31, dopo di vêsi lavade la muse is to be understood as after having washed his face. As for fasinsi il cûr fuart, this is to be understood as (whilst) plucking up his courage, where fasinsi is a contraction of the present participle fasint (the t has dropped) + si.

You read, in verse 34, the following of Benjamin’s portion of food: la purizion di Beniamin (Benjamin’s portion) e jere cinc voltis chê di ducj chei altris (was five times that of all the others).