Friulian language series: Esodo 10, lis plais dal Egjit

You will now study the Friulian text of Esodo 10, or the tenth chapter of the book of Exodus. In this chapter, you continue to read about lis plais dal Egjit (the plagues of Egypt), in particular the eighth and ninth plagues, which are i zupets (locusts) and il scûr (darkness).

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Read Esodo 10

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 An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-2

Vocabulary: indurî (to harden), il cûr (heart), il spieli (marvel, wonder), contâ (to tell, to relate), zuiâ (to play; used here in the sense of to deceive), ce sorte di (what sort of).

In this initial pair of verses, you read that it was God himself who hardened the heart of the Pharaoh and his servants, so as to perform his signs amongst them. From verse 1, o ài stât jo a indurî il so cûr is to be understood as it was me who hardened his heart.

Observe the following, which compares the present indicative with the present subjunctive forms of savê (to know) and podê (can, to be able) found in the second verse:

a san
par che a sepin
they know
so that they know

tu puedis
in mût che tu puedis
you can
so that you can

Versets 3-7

Vocabulary: fin cuant (until when, for how long), intindi (to intend), tignî teste (to resist, to stand up against), ufrî (to offer), cun doman (tomorrow), il zupet (locust), taponâ (to cover), il teren (ground, land), raspâ (to snatch up, to tear away), chel pôc che (the little that), sparagnâ (to spare), la tampieste (hail), netâ vie (to destroy), cressi (to grow), jemplâ (to fill), il pari (father), la dì (day), fint a vuê (until today, until now), voltâsi (to turn around), saltâ fûr (to go out, to exit), il tramai (trap), lâ a finîle malamentri (to end up in a bad way, to come to ruin).

You now read about the eighth plague: i zupets (locusts). In verse 3, Moses and Aaron tell the Pharaoh what God has said: fin cuant intindistu di tignî teste cuintri di me? (for how long do you intend to resist me?). This translates more literally as until when do you intend to hold head against me? La teste as used in the expression tignî teste cuintri di means head, but the usual Friulian word for head is il cjâf. Names of the parts of the human head in Friulian.

In verse 5, the threat represented by locusts is explained: a taponaran la face de tiere che no si rivarà nancje a viodi il teren (they will cover the face of the earth and one will not even be able to see the ground) and a rasparan chel pôc che e à sparagnât la tampieste (they will tear away the little that the hail spared). In verse 6, you read: robis che i tiei paris (things that your fathers) e i paris dai tiei paris (and the fathers of your fathers) no ’nd àn viodudis di compagnis (have not seen the likes of; literally, have not seen identical ones of them) de dì che a son vignûts in chest mont fint a vuê (from the day that they came into this world until today).

In verse 7, the servants say: chel chi àial di jessi ancjemò par trop un tramai par nô? (must he be for much longer a trap for us?). More literally, this translates as chel chi (that one here) àial di jessi (has he to be) ancjemò par trop (still for much) un tramai par nô (a trap for us)? The servants also say: no âstu nancjemò no capît che l’Egjit al va a finîle malamentri? (have you not yet understood that Egypt is coming to ruin?).

Do not misinterpret al va as a future tense; al va a finîle does not mean is going to end up in the English future-time sense, but is in the process of ending up. Al va does indeed mean goes, is going, but the sense of it is going right now, underway at this very moment. Another example: al va a visâ il faraon; this does not mean he is going (in a moment from now) to inform the Pharaoh, but he is going (at this very moment) to inform the Pharaoh (that is, he is walking off at that precise moment).

Versets 8-11

Vocabulary: partî (to leave), menâ (to lead, to take), la fieste (feast), il frut (child), la tristerie (wickedness, evil), no lafè (absolutely not, not at all), parâ fûr (to drive away).

The subject of a faserin tornâ Mosè e Aron dal faraon (they made Moses and Aaron return unto the Pharaoh), from verse 8, is to be understood as i fameis dal faraon; the servants hoped that the Pharaoh would see reason and so sent Moses and Aaron back to him. In this same verse, the Pharaoh asks who exactly must leave to perform the sacrifice: ma cui sono chei che a àn di partî? (but who are those who have to leave?; that is, who is it that must go?).

When Moses tells the Pharaoh who must leave (sons, daughters, animals), the Pharaoh perceives his mischief because those to leave are so many. In verse 10, he says to Moses: viodêso ce tante tristerie che o vês vualtris? (do you see how much wickedness that you have?). In verse 11, the Pharaoh makes clear his opposition to letting so many leave by saying: no lafè (absolutely not). He continues: lait dome vualtris oms (go only you men).

Versets 12-14

Vocabulary: alçâ (to raise), parsore di (above), plombâ (to strike down), netâ di raspe (to scrape away, to tear away), la jerbe (grass), fiscâ (to ravage), il baston (rod, staff), un aiar (wind), la jevade (east), svintâ (to blow; of the wind), tal indoman (the next day), a buinore (early), menâ dongje (to bring along), poiâsi (to set oneself down, to settle oneself down), la disperazion (despair), il flagjel (calamity), di chê sorte (of that sort).

From verse 12, un aiar de jevade is to be understood as a wind from the east. This wind blew all day and night: al svintà dut il dì e dute la gnot.

In verse 14, of the locusts you read: and jere tancj ch’e jere une disperazion (there were so many of them that there was despair; there were so many of them that it was a desperate situation). In the remainder of the verse, you read: no si ’nd jere viodûts tancj zupets (one had not seen so many locusts) prime d’in chê volte (before that time) e nancje dopo no si à plui viodût un flagjel di chê sorte (and even afterwards one never again saw a calamity of that sort).

Versets 15-20

Vocabulary: il fisc (devastation), la pome (fruit), une cuarte di (a stretch of), il vert (green), spesseâ (to hurry, to make haste), pecjâ (to sin), perdonâ (to forgive, to pardon), il fal (transgression, offence, error), sconzurâ (to implore, to beg), almancul (at least), slontanâ (to distance, to take away), copâ (to kill), preâ (to pray), tramudâ (to transform), un aiaron (strong wind), l’amont (west), puartâ vie (to carry away), sgurlâ (to hurl, to fling), il mâr (sea), la cjanusse (reed), no… lafè (not at all, hardly).

In verse 12, you encountered un aiar de jevade (wind from the east). In verse 19, you now find un aiaron dal amont, meaning strong wind from the west or great wind from the west. Aiaron is the augmentative form of aiar.

Il mâr des Cjanussis, from verse 19, translates literally as sea of Reeds; it refers to the Red Sea.

From verse 20, nol restà un zupet di semence is to be understood as meaning not a single locust remained. Take note, in this same verse, of mal, a contraction of ma + il. You read: mal Signôr al indurì il cûr dal faraon (but the Lord hardened the Pharaoh’s heart).

Versets 21-23

Vocabulary: viers di (towards), il scûr (darkness), palpâ (to touch), cuviergi (to cover; also cuvierzi), par trê dîs (for three days), la scuritât (darkness), penç (dense, dark, thick; feminine form is penze, found in the text as the variant penge), viodisi in muse un cul altri (to see one another’s face; literally, to see one another in the face), movisi (to move oneself), di file (in a row), il lusôr (light).

You now read about the ninth plague: il scûr (darkness). From verse 21, un scûr di palpâlu can be understood in the sense of darkness so thick that one can touch it. In verse 22, you read: une scuritât mai viodude une tant penge (darkness never [before] seen so dense). Penge (or the standard penze) is the feminine form of the adjective penç (dense, dark, thick).

Versets 24-26

Vocabulary: meti a disposizion (to provide), sacrificâ (to sacrifice), brusâ (to burn), coventâ (to be needed, to be necessary), là vie (there).

From verse 25, par ufrîjai al Signôr nestri Diu means in order to offer them to the Lord our God, where ufrîjai is a contraction of ufrî + ju + i. From verse 26, lis nestris mandriis ses menarìn daûrsi means we shall bring our herds along with us, where ses is a contraction of si + lis.

The final sentence of verse 26 is to be understood as follows: no savìn nancje nô (even we ourselves do not know) cemût che o varìn di fâ i sacrificis al Signôr (how we shall have to make the sacrifices unto the Lord) fintremai che no sarìn rivâts là vie (until we shall have arrived there).

Versets 27-29

Vocabulary: no… gran (not at all, hardly), tignîsi vuardât (to keep oneself guarded; that is, to guard oneself, to look out for oneself, to surveil oneself), rivâ denant (to arrive before, to come in front of), finît (finished, over).

Yet again the Lord hardens the Pharaoh’s heart. In verse 28, the Pharaoh speaks harshly with Moses, saying, for example: fûr di chi (get out; literally, out of here); tegniti vuardât di me (guard yourself from me); and la dì che tu mi rivis denant, par te e je finide (the day that you come before me, it is over for you [that is, you will die]). In the final verse of the chapter, Moses says: cemût che tu vûs (as you wish), no tu mi viodarâs altri denant di te (you will not see me again before you).