Friulian language series: Esodo 5, denant dal faraon

You will now study the Friulian text of Esodo 5. In this fifth chapter of the book of Exodus, the subject is Mosè e Aron denant dal faraon (Moses and Aaron before the Pharaoh).

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Versets 1-5

Vocabulary: dopo di chescj fats (subsequently, following this; literally, after these facts), presentâsi di (to present oneself unto), fâ un sacrifici (to make a sacrifice), il desert (desert), scoltâ (to listen to), rivuart a (as for, as regards), no… gran (hardly, not at all), viodi di (to visit), a trê dîs di viaç (three days’ journey away), senò (if not, otherwise), cjastiâ (to punish, to chastise), la peste (plague, pestilence), la spade (sword), il re (king), discjoli di (to take away from), la int (people), la vore (work), la pratese (pretention; also pretese) vê la pretese di fâ (to have pretensions to do), gjavâ di (to take away from).

Review the use of lassâ che (to allow that, to let that), an example of which you find in verse 1, where you read: lasse che il gno popul al ledi a fâmi un sacrifici tal desert (let my people go make a sacrifice to me in the desert). Literally, lasse che il gno popul al ledi translates as let that my people go or allow that my people go, with the verb following che conjugated in the subjunctive.

al va
lasse che al ledi
he goes
let him go

The Pharaoh, in verse 2, asks: e cui esal il Signôr (and who is the Lord), che jo o varès di scoltâ la sô vôs (that I should have to listen to his voice) e di lassâ lâ Israel (and let Israel go)? O varès is the first-person singular of the condizionâl presint of the verb vê; on its own, it translates as I would have. That said, in this verse, che jo o varès di takes on the sense of that I should have to. The Pharaoh continues: jo no sai cui che al è il Signôr (I do not know who the Lord is) e, rivuart a Israel (and, regarding Israel), no lu lassarai lâ gran (I shall most certainly not let him go).

In verses 4 and 5, note that work is rendered in the plural as voris; this plural can also be understood as tasks. In verse 4, you read: parcè, Mosè e Aron (why, Moses and Aaron), volêso discjoli la int des sôs voris (do you want to take the people away from their work)? The Pharaoh also says: tornait a lis vuestris voris (return to your work, get back to your work). Note that the verb discjoli is composed of cjoli and the prefix dis.

The words of the Pharaoh in verse 5 can be understood as follows: cumò che and è tante int in cheste tiere (now that there are so many people in this land), o varessis pratese di gjavâju des lôr voris (you should have pretensions to take them away from their work)? And è tante int means there are so many people; recall that and è is a contraction of al indi è. O varessis is the second-person plural of the condizionâl presint of the verb vê.

Note the use of both lis sôs voris and lis lôr voris, in verses 4 and 5. This is because la int is a singular noun with a plural sense, giving rise to fluctuation.

Versets 6-11

Vocabulary: ta chê stesse dì (on that same day), dâ un ordin (to give an order), il vuardean (watchman; also vuardian), il scriturist (scribe), di cumò indenant (from now on), il stranc (straw), za (already), pestâ (to grind, to crush), il modon (brick), îr (yesterday), îr l’altri (the day before yesterday), regonâ (to fetch), dibessôl (on one’s own), vê dibisugne di (to need, to have need of), stes (same), il numar (number), la remission (reduction), no vê voe (to not be keen, to have no desire; also voie), par chel (for this reason), berlâ (to yell, to cry out), anìn (let us go), tignî sot (to subject, to rule over; literally, to hold under), ancjemò di plui (even more), in mût che (such that, in order that), lavorâ (to work), vanzâ (to be left over, to remain), il timp (time), la sflocje (tale), lâ daûr des sflocjis (to pay heed to tales), il lavôr (labour, work), cangjâ (to diminish), un cimi (a little, a bit), no… di un cimi (not one bit).

The verb regonâ means to fetch. In verse 7, you read: che a ledin a regonâsi dibessôi (let them go fetch for themselves on their own) il stranc che a àn dibisugne (the straw that they need). The sense of for themselves is contained in the si of regonâsi. Dibessôi is the plural form of dibessôl.

Supplementary examples using vê dibisugne di: al à dibisugne di jutori (he needs help), al à dibisugne di bêçs (he needs money), al à dibisugne di pensâi parsore ancjemò (he still needs to think it over). Recall that coventâ also means to be needed; for example, i coventin bêçs (money is needed unto him) and al à dibisugne di bêçs (he has need of money) both mean he needs money.

Verse 8 can be understood as: però o vês di fâur fâ il stes numar di modons (but you must have them make the same number of bricks) che a fasevin îr e îr l’altri (that they made yesterday and the day before yesterday) cence nissune remission (without any reduction), parcè che a son int che no à voe di fâ nuie (because they are people who are not keen on doing anything). The sense of a son int che no à voe di fâ nuie is that the people are idle.

As for verse 9, it is to be understood as: cheste int o vês di tignîle sot ancjemò di plui (you must subject these people even more), in mût che lavorant no ur vanzarà timp di lâ daûr des sflocjis (in order that, whilst working, they have not the time to pay heed to tales). The “tales,” or sflocjis, in question here are the promises of deliverance. The sense of vanzâ is to remain, to be left over. Ur vanzarà timp, then, can be understood literally as time will remain unto them (that is, they will have time). Lâ daûr di can be understood more literally as to go after, to chase after, to follow behind.

You find regonâsal (to fetch it for yourselves) in verse 11, where you read: o vês di lâ a regonâsal dibessôi (you must go fetch it for yourselves on your own) là che and è (there where there is of it). Regonâsal is a contraction of regonâ + si + lu, where lu stands in for il stranc. In this same verse, the Pharaoh also says: il vuestri lavôr nol varà di cangjâ di un cimi (your labour must not diminish one bit, your labour shall not diminish one bit).

Versets 12-18

Vocabulary: sparniçâsi (to scatter oneself), il fros (stalk, stubble), il sorestant (chief; overseer), pocâ (to push, to hasten), di un continuo (continually), bastonâ (to strike, to beat, to cane), tignî di voli (to watch over, to keep an eye on), chel tant (that amount), vuê (today), compagn di îr (just like yesterday), lamentâsi (to complain), tratâ (to treat), furnî (to furnish, to supply), pacâ (to strike, to hit), la colpe (fault), une sdrume di (a pack of, a bunch of), il poltron (idler, good-for-nothing, lazy person), e vonde (and nothing more, that is it; literally, and enough), taiâ (to cut), consegnâ (to deliver, to hand in), distinât (determined; also destinât).

In verse 12, you come across two usages that you have already met: sparniçâsi (first seen in the torate di Babêl story, in Gjenesi 11) and il fros (first seen in the siums dal faraon story, in Gjenesi 41).

In verses 16 and 18, you find examples using si. From verse 16: ai tiei fameis no ur ven furnît il stranc e si dîsiur: fasêt modons (unto your servants the straw is not furnished [does not get furnished] and one says unto them: make bricks); again from verse 16: e ve che si pache i tiei fameis (and see now that one beats your servants); from verse 18: no si us darà stranc taiât (one will not give you cut straw). These examples can also be translated using the passive: si dîsiur (it is said unto them), si pache i tiei fameis (your servants are beaten), no si us darà stranc taiât (cut straw will not be given to you).

Versets 19-23

Vocabulary: cjatâsi intun biel gjespâr (to find oneself in trouble; literally, to find oneself in a hornet’s nest), no vê par nuie di fâ (must not do in any case), calâ (to diminish), dì par dì (day by day; that is, daily), intivâsi in (to come across, to bump into), a pueste (on purpose, expressly), spietâ (to wait for), cjalâ (to see), fâ sentence (to judge), cjapâ in asse (to take to hating), meti in man (to put into one’s hand, to give, to deliver), copâ (to kill), la malegracie (rudeness, harshness), fâ malegraciis (to act harshly), fevelâ a non to (to speak in your name, to speak on behalf of you), deventâ (to become), insurît (ruthless, harsh), no fâ propit nuie (to not do anything at all), solevâ (to relieve).

Un gjespâr is the Friulian for wasps’ nest. The expression cjatâsi intun biel gjespâr, from verse 19, is used figuratively to mean to find oneself in a mess, to find oneself in trouble. You encountered a similar use in Gjenesi 34:30, where you read: mi vês metût intun biel gjespâr (you have caused me a great deal of trouble). Also in verse 19, you read: no vês par nuie di calâ i modons che o vevis di fâ dì par dì (you must not by any means diminish the [number of] bricks that you must make daily).

From verse 20, lassât il faraon, si intivarin in Mosè is to be understood as (having) left the Pharaoh, they came across Moses. From verse 21, il Signôr che us cjali vualtris e che al fasi sentence is to be understood as may the Lord look upon you and pass judgement. As for dopo che o ài stât a cjatâ il faraon, from verse 23, this is to be understood as after I went to meet the Pharaoh (literally, after I was to meet [find] the Pharaoh).