Friulian language series: Esodo 4, Mosè cu la virtût dai spiei

In this post, you will study the Friulian text of Esodo 4, or the fourth chapter of the book of Exodus, where the subjects are Mosè cu la virtût dai spiei (Moses and the gift of marvels) and Mosè in Madian (Moses in Midian).

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

Read Esodo 4

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 Esodo 4. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-5

Vocabulary: la peraule (word), cjapâ la peraule (to start to speak), crodi (to believe), volê (to want), scoltâ (to listen), la vôs (voice), vêr (true), comparî (to appear), il baston (rod, staff, cane), butâ par tiere (to throw on the ground), tramudâsi in (to turn into, to transform oneself into), il madrac (snake, serpent), fuî (to flee), slungjâ la man (to extend one’s hand), brincâ (to seize, to capture), la code (tail), gafâ (to seize, to capture), tornâ a deventâ (to turn back into, to become again), i vons (forefathers).

In verse 1, the use of e se is to be understood as meaning what if. You read: e se lôr no mi crodin? (what if they do not believe me?). You also read: no je vere che (it is not true that). As you have seen before with this expression, the feminine form is used.

Review the formation of the imperative in the second-person singular with verbs whose infinitives end in â. Recall that the final e in the imperative changes to i when a direct object ending is added:

butâ (to throw)
bute! (throw!)
butilu! (throw it!)

brincâ (to seize)
brinche! (seize!)
brinchilu! (seize it!)

With brincâ, note that h is added before e and i to maintain the /k/ sound of the preceding c, and to prevent this c from being pronounced /tʃ/ (like the English ch).

Brinchilu pe code, from verse 4, means seize it by the tail, capture it by the tail. Recall that pe is a contraction of par + la.

Versets 6-9

Vocabulary: zontâ (to add), meti (to put), il pet (chest), tirâ fûr (to pull out, to pull away), blanc (white), la nêf (snow), la levre (leprosy), compagn di (just like), il cuarp (body), convincisi (to convince oneself, to be sure), il spieli (marvel, wonder), par vie di (by way of), cjoli (to take), un sclip di aghe (a bit of water), il flum (river), strucjâ par tiere (to pour on the ground, to spill on the ground), urî (to draw [water], to take up [water]), tocjâ (to touch), sut (dry), la tiere sute (dry land), il sanc (blood), tramudâsi in sanc (to turn into blood).

The Lord, in verse 6, tells Moses to put his hand on his chest: met la man tal pet. You then read: al metè la man tal pet (he put his hand on his chest), po le tornà a tirâ fûr (then he pulled it away again) e ve che al veve la man blancje come la nêf (and behold, his hand was as white as snow) cu la levre (with leprosy).

In verse 7, e ve e jere tornade compagne di dut il cuarp is to be understood as and behold, it had gone back (to) just like (the colour of) the rest of his body.

In verse 9, e se no crodin nancje a di chescj doi spiei means and if they do not believe even these two marvels. If they are not believed, the Lord says: tu cjolarâs un sclip di aghe dal flum (you will take a bit of water from the river) e tu le strucjarâs par tiere (and you will pour it on the ground) e l’aghe che tu varâs uride dal flum (and the water that you will have taken up from the river), tocjant la tiere sute ([upon] touching the dry land), si tramudarà in sanc (will turn into blood). Urît is the past participle of the verb urî; you find it accorded in the feminine as uride to agree in gender with aghe. Of the verb urî, Friulian also uses the variant aurî.

[Note to self for future reference and review: I have rendered spieli as marvel even in the cases where, following from the Hebrew, it may be the case that sign (signs are performed before the people) would have been preferable. Friulian has a word for both marvel and sign at its disposal; see the vocabulary used in At 2:22: cui meracui, cui spiei e cui segnâi (by miracles, wonders and signs). From this, it can be concluded that il meracul is miracle, il spieli is wonder (or marvel) and il segnâl is sign. (I take the English wonder and marvel to be synonymous.) Despite having a word for both marvel and sign, the Friulian text of Esodo has not distinguished between them and uses spieli for both. If it had made a distinction here, the text of verse 9 might then have read: e se no crodin nancje a di chescj doi segnâi (and if they do not believe even these two signs). XDAEG.]

Versets 10-17

Vocabulary: cjapâse (to get angry), bon di fevelâ (eloquent), îr (yesterday), îr l’altri (the day before yesterday), di cuant che (since [the time when]), di fat (in fact), un impediment (impediment), la bocje (mouth), la lenghe (tongue), il mut (dumb [mute] man), il sort (deaf man), viodi (to see), vuarp (blind), insegnâ (to teach), dî indaûr (to say again), inrabiâsi (to get angry), ti prei (please, I pray you), vignî sù (to arise, to come up), la rabie (anger), cuintri di (against), il fradi (brother), il levit (Levite), babio (skilled, expert), par cont di lenghe (in question of speaking), velu (here he is), vignî incuintri (to approach), tant content che mai (more content than ever), impen di (in place of), il popul (people), jessi tant che (to be as), rivuart a (as for, as concerns), cjapâ in man (to take in hand), fâ i spiei (to perform the marvels), midiant di (by way of, through). Name: Aron (Aaron).

You find a number of ways of saying to get angry in this grouping of verses: cjapâse (verse 10) and inrabiâsi (verse 13). The se ending of cjapâse is a contraction of si + le; this usage might be better understood more literally as to take it (anger) upon oneself. You find these usages employed in the negated second-person singular of the imperative: no sta cjapâte and no sta inrabiâti, both of which mean do not get angry. In verse 14, you find yet another way to talk about getting angry: al Signôr i vignì sù la rabie (unto the Lord the anger arose).

In verse 10, Moses says: no soi bon di fevelâ (I am not good at speaking) ni di îr, ni di îr l’altri (neither since yesterday nor since the day before yesterday), ni di cuant che tu i fevelis al to famei (nor since you speak to your servant).

In verse 11, God asks a number of questions: cui i àial dade la bocje al om? (who has given man his mouth?); cui fasial il mut e il sort (who makes the dumb and the deaf), chel che al viôt e chel che al è vuarp? (he who sees and he who is blind?); no soio jo, il Signôr? (is it not me, the Lord?).

Learn the following:

il mut; jessi mut
mute man; to be mute

il sort; jessi sort
deaf man; to be deaf

il vuarp; jessi vuarp
blind man; to be blind

In the above, the first of the pair is a noun, whereas the second is an adjective. Examples: tu sês vuarp (you are blind), al è sort (he is deaf). The combined sort e mut, meaning deaf and mute (deaf and dumb), is also used: i sorts e muts (the deaf and dumb).

In verse 13, Moses says: mande, ti prei, cui che tu vûs (send, I pray you, whomever you want). Recall that the second-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb volê is either tu tu vûs or tu tu vuelis. In verse 14, you then read: no esal to fradi Aron il levit? (is your brother not Aaron the Levite?). This is followed by: o sai che lui al è babio par cont di lenghe (I know that he is skilled as far as speaking is concerned). O sai is the first-person singular of the presint indicatîf of the verb savê.

Review the following:

ce che tu âs di dî (verse 12)
ce che o vês di fâ (verse 15)

The first of the pair above means that which you have to say; the second means that which you have to do. The first uses the second-person singular, whereas the second uses the second-person plural. The expression employed here is, of course, vê di, meaning to have to, must.

Versets 18-23

Vocabulary: lâsint (to leave, to go away), tornâ di (to return unto), il missêr (father-in-law), lassâ (to allow, to let), ancjemò vîf (still alive), la pâs (peace), lâ in pâs (to go in peace), muart (dead), cirî di (to seek to, to try to), fâ fûr (to kill), il mus (donkey), montâ suntun mus (to get on a donkey), intant che (whilst), pensâ a (to think about), in face di (before, in front of), il faraon (pharaoh), il cûr (heart), no… gran (hardly, not at all), partî (to leave), fâ un sacrifici (to make a sacrifice), ma stant che (but [the situation] being that; that is, but if it should so happen that), no volê savênt di (to want no part of, to refuse), poben (well then), fâ murî (to kill).

You come across yet another instance of the verb lâsint now; in verse 18, you read: Mosè si’nt lè (Moses left) e al tornà di Jetro, so missêr (and he returned to Jethro, his father-in-law). Si’nt lè can also be written s’int lè; both forms are a contraction of si + int lè. In the text, it has been preferred to contract the final i of si rather than the initial i of int.

In verse 22, nol lassarà gran partî il popul is to be understood as he will hardly let the people leave, he will certainly not let the people leave, etc.

You find an example of the coniuntîf presint in verse 23: lasse lâ gno fi (let my son go) par che mi fasi un sacrifici (so that he may make a sacrifice unto me). Review: al fâs (he makes); par che al fasi (so that he may make). In this same verse, you also read: ma stant che no tu âs volût savênt di lassâlu lâ (but if it should happen that you refuse to let him go), poben, jo ti fasarai murî il to prin fi (well then, I shall kill your first-born son). No volê savênt di can be understood more literally as to not want to know anything about; the sense of it here is to refuse. As for jo ti fasarai murî il to prin fi, this can be understood more literally as I shall kill your first-born son on you.

Versets 24-31

Vocabulary: par viaç (on the journey), fermâsi pe gnot (to stop for the night), il clap (stone), spiçât (sharp, sharpened), taiâ (to cut), la piel de nature (foreskin), il pît (feet), il nuviç (bridegroom), slontanâsi (to distance oneself, to go away), la circuncision (circumsion), de bande dal desert (out in the desert), la mont (mount, mountain), cjapâ a bracecuel (to throw one’s arms around, to embrace), ordenâ (to order, to command), clamâ dongje (to call together, to make gather), un anzian (elder), la gjonde (enthusiasm), sintî une grande gjonde (to feel great enthusiasm), cjatâ (to find, to meet), la streme (affliction), butâsi in genoglon (to go down on one’s knees; also zenoglon), cu la muse par tiere (face to the ground).

In a change of events, God now comes unto Moses in anger and threatens him with death in punishment for not having circumcised his son. His wife Zipporah saves his life by, albeit reluctantly, circumcising his son with a flint: un clap spiçât (a sharpened stone). Reproachfully, she casts the foreskin at Moses’ feet (i tocjà i pîts [she touched his feet]), angered that she should have to perform on her son a rite that she considers barbarous. She calls Moses un nuviç di sanc (a bridgegroom of blood).

In verse 24, là che si jere fermât pe gnot is to be understood as there where one had stopped for the night.

You will recall having first encountered the usage la piel de nature in Gjenesi 17. More precisely, it was referred to there as l’ultime piel de nature. In verse 25, note how the preposition a is used: i taià la piel de nature a so fi (she cut the foreskin from her son).