Friulian language series: Esodo 19, il pat dal Sinai

In your study of the Friulian language, you have reached Esodo 19. In this nineteenth chapter of the book of Exodus, you will encounter the following subjects: il pat dal Sinai (the Sinai covenant); aleance e i dîs comandaments (the covenant and the Ten Commandments); a rivin tal Sinai ([the Israelites] arrive in Sinai); Diu al impromet il pat (God promises the covenant); preparazion dal pat (preparation of the covenant); Diu si fâs viodi tal Sinai (God appears [makes himself seen] in Sinai).

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Read Esodo 19

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 An archived version of the text can be found here.

Versets 1-8

Vocabulary: il mês (month), saltâ fûr (to come out), la dì (day), rivâ (to arrive), partî (to depart), campâsi (to encamp), in face di (before, facing), la mont (mount), lâ sù (to go up), clamâ (to call), fâ savê (to let know), viodi (to see), il voli (eye), puartâ fûr (to bring out), la ale (wing), une acuile (eagle), menâ viers di (to bring towards; unto), scoltâ (to listen), la vôs (voice), rispietâ (to observe, to keep; to respect), il pat (covenant), tignî (to keep), framieç di (amongst), il mont (world), tignî in cont di (to consider as), il ream (kingdom), il predi (priest), la gjernazie (offspring), sant (holy), clamâ dongje (to summon), un anzian (elder), contâ (to tell, to relate), ordenâ (to command), d’acuardi (in agreement), rispuindi (to reply), riferî (to report, to tell).

Verse 1: Juste ta chê dì: on that very day.

Verse 3: Mosè al lè sù li di Diu: Moses went up to God. Al lè sù means he went up, whereas li di Diu means unto God; there where God is (or was). Stant su la mont: standing on the mount.

Verse 4: Su alis di acuile: on eagle wings. Some related vocabulary: il bec (beak), la plume (feather), la sgrife (claw), la ale (wing), il çus (owl), il falcuç (falcon), il variûl (vulture), la acuile (eagle).

Verse 5: Cumò se o scoltais la mê vôs e o rispietais il gno pat: now if you listen to my voice and keep (respect) my covenant. Jo us tignarai come robe mê framieç di ducj i popui: I shall keep you as things of mine amongst all the people.

Verse 8: E il popul, ducj d’acuardi: and the people, all in agreement. Un acuardi is Friulian for agreement. Jessi d’acuardi means to be in agreement; similarly, metisi d’acuardi means to come to an agreement. Also: Mosè i riferì al Signôr ce che al veve rispuindût il popul (Moses told the Lord what the people had said [answered]); riferî is cognate with the English refer and can be understood as meaning to report, to tell.

Versets 9-15

Vocabulary: il nûl (cloud), penç (thick, dense), fevelâ (to speak), la fede (faith), par simpri (forever), lâ jù (to go down), smondeâ (to clean, to cleanse), vûe (today), doman (tomorrow), lavâ (to wash), la munture (garments, clothes; also monture), tignîsi pront (to be prepared), passandoman (the day after tomorrow; also passantdoman), il cunfin (confine, bound; also confin), torator (around), puars mai vualtris (woe to you), sfiliâ (to brush against, to graze), tocjâ (to touch), copâ (to kill), clapadâ (to stone), fâ fûr (to kill), la frece (arrow), vivi (to live), il cuar (horn), il roc (ram), sunâ (to sound), a lunc (at length), tornâ jù (to go back down), lâ de int (to go unto the people), lontan (far, distant, away), la femine (wife).

In verse 9, the Lord says to Moses: jo o vignarai di te intun nûl penç (I shall come unto you in a thick cloud), in mût che il popul al puedi scoltâ (in order that the people be able to hear) cuant che o fevelarai cun te (when I shall speak with you) e che al vedi fede in te par simpri (and [in order] that they have faith in you forever). Following in mût che (in order that, such that), the subjunctive is used:

il popul al pues scoltâ
in mût che il popul al puedi scoltâ

il popul al à fede in te
in mût che il popul al vedi fede in te

Verse 10: Va jù là ch’e je la int (go down to where the people are) e smondeiju vuê e doman (and cleanse them today and tomorrow). The purification consisted of three elements: ablutions, washing of clothes, abstinence from sexual relations.

Observe the following:

smondeâ (to clean, to cleanse)
smondee! smondeiju!
(clean! clean them!)

With verbs whose infinitive ends in â, the change of the final e to i when ju is added in the second-person singular imperative is not new to you:

indreçâ (to guide)
indrece! indreciju!
(guide! guide them!)

brincâ (to seize, to catch)
brinche! brinchiju!
(catch! catch them!)


fevelâ (to speak)
fevele! feveliur!
(speak! speak to them!)

domandâ (to ask)
domande! domandiur!
(ask! ask them!)

In verse 11, you read that God will present himself to the people. The Lord says: che si tegnin pronts par passandoman (may they be ready for the day after tomorrow), parcè che passandoman il Signôr al vignarà jù su la mont dal Sinai (because the day after tomorrow the Lord will come down upon mount Sinai), e dut il popul lu viodarà (and all the people will see him).

Verse 12: Meti un cunfin torator de mont: to put a confine around the mount. The plural puars mai vualtris means woe to you; the singular is puar mai te. You read: puars mai vualtris se o lais su la mont (woe to you if you go on the mount). God says that he who touches the mount shall be killed. In addition to not going up on the mount, he warns that not even the confine (or barrier) is to be brushed up against: e se o sfiliais magari dome il cunfin (and if you brush up against even so much as the confine); magari dome can be understood here as meaning even so much as.

In verse 13, the Lord states the manner in which he who touches the mount would be killed: al sarà clapadât o fat fûr cu lis frecis (he shall be stoned or killed by arrows), om o nemâl, al varà finît di vivi (man or animal, he shall not live; literally, he shall have finished living). Review the following related vocabulary: il clap (stone); la clapade (stone-throw, throwing of a stone); copâ a clapadis (to stone to death; literally, to kill by stone-throws); clapadâ (to stone, to lapidate).

The cuar di roc mentioned in verse 13 is the horn of a ram used as a trumpet: cuant che il cuar di roc al sunarà a lunc (when the ram’s horn shall sound at length), in chê volte a laran su pe mont (that is when they shall go up on the mount).

Verse 14: Mosè al tornà jù de mont: Moses went back down the mount. Al lè de int: he went unto the people. Ju fasè smondeâ: he had them cleansed. Si lavarin ancje la munture: they also washed their clothes.

In verse 15, Moses instructs the men to not come unto their wives (that is, to abstain from sexual intercourse): stait lontans de femine (stay away from your wife).

Versets 16-20

Vocabulary: sul crichedì (at dawn), capitâ (to arrive, to show up), il ton (thunder), il lamp (flash, lightning), il folc (lightning), la fumate (smoke cloud), il sun (sound), la trombe (trumpet), tant fuart che mai (exceedingly strong, stronger than ever), il campament (camp), cjapâ pôre (to take fright), lâi incuintri a (to go meet), fermâsi (to stop oneself), dapît (at the foot), la fumarisse (smoke haze), dismontâ jù (to go down), il fûc (fire), la fornâs (furnace), scjassâ (to shake), di sgrisulâsi (frightfully so), il sunsûr (noise, sound), deventâ (to become), la spice (peak, top).

You have encountered the verb capitâ before in the sense of to happen, to occur; in verse 16, it would be better understood as meaning to show up, to come about. You read: tal passandoman (two days later), sul crichedì (at dawn), a capitarin su la mont tons, lamps, folcs (thunder, bolts and lightning came about upon the mount) e une fumate penge (and a dense cloud of smoke), e un sun di trombe tant fuart che mai (and the exceedingly loud sound of a trumpet). Recall that penge is the feminine form of penç.

When talking in present or future time, passandoman (or passantdoman) is to be understood as the day after tomorrow (doman, tomorrow; passandoman, the day after tomorrow). In past time, however, it is to be understood as the day following the following day. To be clear: day A in past time is your point of reference; day B, which follows day A, can be referenced with tal indoman (the following day); day C, which follows day B, is referenced with tal passandoman (the day following the following day; that is, two days later).

From verse 17, lâi incuintri a is to be understood as meaning to go meet (with): par lâi incuintri a Diu (to go meet with God). Si fermarin dapît de mont: they stopped at the foot of the mount.

Verse 18: Il Signôr al jere dismontât jù tal fûc: the Lord had descended in fire; had come down in fire. La fumate e leve sù come intune fornâs: the smoke went up (was going up) as in a furnace. Dute la mont e scjassave di sgrisulâsi: the entire mount shook (was shaking) frightfully.

Verse 19: Diu i rispuindeve tal ton: God kept responding to him in thunder.

Verse 20: Propit su la spice de mont: right upon the peak of the mount.

Versets 21-25

Vocabulary: atent (attentive), stâ atent di (to be careful to, to take care to), passâ (to pass), di là di (beyond), passâ di là di (to cross over, to go to the other side of), senò (otherwise), murî (to die), un disordin di (many, a great deal of), lâ dongje (to go near, to approach), smondeâsi (to cleanse oneself), discjadenâsi (to become infuriated, to lose control), visâ (to warn), bandît (consecrated, sanctified), continuâ (to continue), dài (off you go then, come on then).

Verse 21: Dîsii al popul che al stedi atent di no passâ di là dai cunfins: tell the people to take care to not cross the confines. Par vignî a viodal Signôr: in order to come see the Lord. Note the use of the subjunctive in che al stedi atent; note also the contraction of viodi + il Signôr to viodal Signôr (to see the Lord). Also from this verse: senò int muraran un disordin (otherwise a great deal of them shall die).

al sta atent
che al stedi atent
he is attentive
may he be attentive

In verse 22, of the priests you read: a àn di smondeâsi par che il Signôr no si discjadeni cuintri di lôr (they must cleanse themselves so that the Lord does not unleash himself against them [become infuriated with them]).

Verse 23: Parcè che propit tu tu nus âs visâts: because verily you, you have warned us. Li al è bandît: there it is consecrated; there it is sanctified. The sense of bandît is set apart (in the service of the Lord); in this way, li al è bandît can also be taken as there it is set apart, it is set apart there.

Verse 24: Va jù e tornait sù tu e Aron: go down and come back up with Aaron; literally, go down and you and Aaron come back up. No àn di passâ il cunfin: they must not cross the confine. Par vignî sù chi dal Signôr: in order to come here unto the Lord.