Friulian language series: Esodo 20, i dîs comandaments

In Esodo 20, or the twentieth chapter of the book of Exodus, you will study the Friulian language as it relates to i dîs comandaments (the ten commandments), il codiç dal pat (the rules of the covenant) and la leç sul altâr (the law of the altar; literally, the law on [that is, regarding] the altar).

By the end of your study of this twentieth chapter, you will have reviewed the negated imperative and will be able to say how such commandments as you shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal have been rendered into Friulian; you will also be able to express the Friulian equivalents of to take God's name in vain, to honour one's father and mother, to bear false witness.

If you are arriving on this site for the first time, begin your study of the Friulian language here (Gjenesi 1). The Friulian Bible that you will read is made available by Glesie Furlane, in Bibie par un popul. You can read and listen to the Bible in Friulian by following the link.

Before you begin your study, you will need to access the text of the verses in Friulian; you can do so by following the links below, which will take you to the Bibie par un popul site.

Should the page linked above ever become unavailable, you will find an archived version of the text here.

Versets 1-6

Vocabulary: sotan (servile, subjected), la inmagjin (image; also imagjin), sculpî (to carve, to sculpt), semeâ (to resemble; also someâ), lassù (up there), adalt (at the top), ca jù (down here), abàs (at the bottom), sot tiere (under the earth, underground), butâsi denant di (to take to the ground [in deference] before), fâ un sacrifici (to make a sacrifice), la sorte (fortune, fate), gjelôs (jealous; also zelôs), paidî (to suffer from), la tristerie (wickedness, iniquity), il nevôt (grandson; grandchild), il bisnevôt (great-grandson; great-grandchild), vê in asse (to hate), lassâ cori (to be merciful with; literally, to let run), a miârs (by thousands), volê ben (to love), lâ indenant cun (to observe, to live in accordance with; literally, to go ahead with, to proceed with).

Verses 3, 4 and 5 all use no tu âs di, followed by an infinitive; you will recall from previous readings that vê di means must, to have to. In this way, you will understand the following portions of text: no tu âs di vê altris dius denant di me (you must not have other gods before me; verse 3); no tu âs di fâ nissune inmagjin sculpide (you must not make any carved image; verse 4); no tu âs di butâti denant di chescj dius (you must not go down [in deference] before these gods; verse 5); no tu âs di fâur sacrificis di sorte (you must not make sacrifices of fortune to them); that is, sacrifices made with the intention of receiving good fortune, favourable outcomes, etc.

In verse 4, God states that no image resembling him must be carved: no tu âs di fâ nissune inmagjin sculpide (you must not make any carved image), nuie che al semei a di Chel che al è tai cîi (nothing that resembles [that may resemble] the One who is in the heavens). The plural of the masculine cîl (heaven) is cîi (heavens). You find the present subjunctive in al semei; this can be better understood as meaning may resemble.

al semee / al somee
it resembles
nuie che al semei / nuie che al somei
nothing that may resemble

In the remainder of verse 4, you find: lassù adalt (up there at the top), e su la tiere (and on the earth), ca jù abàs (down here at the bottom), o tes aghis, sot tiere (or in the waters under the earth). In the context of this verse, lassù adalt is to be understood as referring to heaven. Lassù means up there; it is reinforced here with adalt (at the top). Similarly, ca jù means down here; it is reinforced with abàs (at the bottom).

Following are a few ways that you might use adalt and abàs in your own use of Friulian: al è intal scansel adalt (it is in the top drawer), al è intal scansel abàs (it is in the bottom drawer), il toc adalt de colone (the top part of the pillar), il toc abàs de colone (the bottom part of the pillar), al è a stâ adalt (he lives above [on an upper floor]), al è a stâ abàs (he lives below [on a lower floor]).

In verse 5, you encounter: o soi un Diu gjelôs (I am a jealous God), che al fâs paidî la tristerie dai paris (who makes suffer from the wickedness of fathers) ai fîs, ai nevôts e ai bisnevôts ([unto] the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren) par chei che mi àn in asse (for those who hate me); that is to say, one who hates God causes his generations up to the great-grandchildren to pay the price for his iniquity.

On the other hand, as you read in verse 6, those who love him are shown his grace: ma che al lasse cori a miârs di lôr (but he is merciful by the thousands of them) par chei che mi vuelin ben (for those who love me) e che a van indenant cu la mê leç (and who observe my law). Lassâ cori translates literally as to let run (compare with the English expression to let [something] go): lassâ cori can be understood in one sense as to be permissive with, to forgive; in the context of this verse, it is better understood as to be merciful with. As for lâ indenant, this translates literally as to go forward; it is to be understood here as to go forward (in life), to live in accordance with, to observe (in the sense of to maintain).

Versets 7-11

Vocabulary: nomenâ (to mention, to name, to call upon), dibant (in vain), sparagnâ (to spare), doprâ (to use), il non (name), visâsi di (to remember), la zornade (day), la sabide (sabbath), santificâ (to sanctify, to make holy), sîs dîs (six days), lavorâ (to work), la vore (work, task), setim (seventh), il famei (manservant), la sierve (maidservant), il nemâl (animal, beast), il forest (foreigner, stranger), la cjase (house), il mâr (sea), dentri (inside, within), polsâ (to rest), par chel (for this reason), benedî (to bless), la sornade (day; variant of zornade), bandî (to prohibit, to make off-limits).

Verse 7 begins with the following negated imperative: no sta nomenâ il non dal Signôr, to Diu, dibant (do not mention the name of the Lord, your God, in vain; that is, do not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain). You will remember that no sta followed by an infinitive is used in Friulian to give a negated command at the level of the second-person singular. You will see quite a few more examples of this in the verses ahead.


no sta (, do not (+ infinitive)
no stait a (2.pp), do not (+ (infinitive)
no stin a (1.pp), let us not (+ infinitive), second-person singular
2.pp, second-person plural
1.pp, first-person plural

no sta copâlu!
do not kill him!
no stait a copâlu!
do not kill him!
no stin a copâlu!
let us not kill him!

Farther along in verse 7, you find chel che al dopre il so non dibant (he who uses his name in vain; that is, he who takes his name in vain). In this seventh verse, then, you encounter two different ways that the English to take God's name in vain can be rendered in Friulian: nomenâ il non di Diu dibant (literally, to mention the name of God in vain) and doprâ il non di Diu dibant (literally, to use the name of God in vain).

Verse 8: visiti de zornade de sabide par santificâle (remember the day of the sabbath to make it holy).

Verse 9: sîs dîs tu lavorarâs e tu fasarâs lis tôs voris ([for] six days you shall work and you shall do your tasks). Note here that, rather than the imperative, the Friulian equivalent of you shall has been used; it is nonetheless a command. Compare: fâs lis tôs voris! (do your tasks!, do your work!; using the imperative), tu fasarâs lis tôs voris! (you shall do your tasks!, you shall do your work!; using the future tense).

Recall that (day) can be expressed in masculine or feminine form: compare the feminine la setime dì (seventh day) from verse 10 with the masculine i tiei dîs (your days) from verse 12 ahead. In verse 10, the instruction regarding the cessation of work continues: no tu fasarâs nissune vore (you shall not do any work) ni tu (neither you), ni to fi (nor your son), ni tô fie (nor your daughter), ni il to famei (nor your manservant), ni la tô sierve (nor your maidservant), ni i tiei nemâi (nor your animals), ni il forest che al è cjase tô (nor the stranger who is at your house). The strangers are those foreigners who soujourned amongst them.

Verse 11: par chel il Signôr al à benedide la sornade de sabide (for this reason the Lord has blessed the day of the sabbath) e le à bandide (and prohibited it; and put it off-limits; that is, he made it a day of prohibition from work). Sornade is nothing more than a variant of zornade.

Versets 12-21

Vocabulary: onorâ (to honour), il pari (father), la mari (mother), slungjâsi (to extend oneself), copâ (to kill), fâ adulteri (to commit adultery), robâ (to steal), testemoneâ (to testify), il fals (falsehood), il prossim (fellow man, neighbour), bramâ (to covet), la femine (wife), il bo (ox; plural, i bûs), il mus (donkey), il ton (thunder clap), il lamp (lightning bolt), il sun (sound), la trombe (trumpet), la mont (mount), fumâ (to smoke), cjapâ spavent (to take a fright), stâ lontan (to stay back), fevelâ (to speak), scoltâ (to listen), senò (otherwise), murî (to die), vê pôre (to be afraid), la prove (trial), meti a lis provis (to put to the test), restâi a (to remain unto), il timôr (fear), lâ fûr di strade (to go off the path; that is, to sin), lâi dongje di (to approach), il nûl (cloud), scûr (dark).

Verse 12: onore to pari e tô mari (honour your father and your mother), se tu vûs che si slungjin i tiei dîs (if you want your days to extend themselves; that is, if you want your days to be long).

From verses 13-17, understand the following portions of text: no sta copâ (do not kill), no sta fâ adulteri (do not commit adultery), no sta robâ (do not steal), no sta testemoneâ il fals (do not bear false witness; literally, do not testify a falsehood), no sta bramâ (do not covet). All of these use the negated imperative, whereas, in question of the ten commandments, English Bibles prefer to use the form you shall not or thou shalt not, as in thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not covet, etc.

The commandments mentioned in the above paragraph are given in negated, second-person singular form (no sta). You have already reviewed how to also express negated, second-person plural and first-person plural imperatives; these same commandments in the three forms would be expressed as:

no sta copâ / robâ / bramâ
no stait a copâ / a robâ / a bramâ
no stin a copâ / a robâ / a bramâ

no sta fâ adulteri
no stait a fâ adulteri
no stin a fâ adulteri

no sta testemoneâ il fals
no stait a testemoneâ il fals
no stin a testemoneâ il fals

In verses 16 and 17, mention is made of il prossim, which is a figurative usage to be understood here as neighbour, fellow man. As an adjective, prossim means next, close, successive; as a noun, it can be understood literally as next man, close man, etc. (The usual word for neighbour is il vicin.) You read: no sta testemoneâ il fals cuintri dal to prossim (do not bear false witness against your neighbour); no sta bramâ la cjase dal to prossim (do not covet the house of your neighbour); no sta bramâ la femine dal to prossim (do not cover the wife of your neighbour), ni il so famei (nor his manservant), ni la sô sierve (nor his maidservant), ni il so bo (nor his ox), ni il so mus (nor his donkey), nuie di ce che al è dal to prossim (nothing that belongs to your neighbour; literally, nothing that is of your neighbour).

Verse 18: [il popul] al stave lontan (the people stayed back; the people remained at a distance).

Verse 20: no stait a vê pôre (do not be afraid; literally, do not have fear). Of course, you also now know how to say no sta vê pôre and no stin a vê pôre, using the second-person singular and first-person plural. Also from this verse: al è par metinus a lis provis che Diu al è vignût (it is to put us to the test that God has come), par che us resti simpri il so timôr (so that his fear always remains with [unto] you) e par che no ledis fûr di strade (and so that you do not go off the path).

(vualtris) o lais
you go
par che o ledis
so that you go

(vualtris) no lais fûr di strade
you do not go off the path
par che no ledis fûr di strade
so that you do not go off the path

Verse 21: là che al jere Diu (there where God was).

Versets 22-26

Vocabulary: dibessôl (on your own), dal alt (from the top), d'arint (of silver), nancje (neither), d'aur (of gold), un altâr (altar), ufrî (to offer), parsore (atop, upon), un olocaust (burnt offering), la comunion (communion), il besteam minût (small livestock; sheep), il besteam grant (large livestock; oxen), par dut là che (everywhere that), fâ ricuardâ (to make remember), vignî di (to come unto), benedî (to bless), il clap (stone), la piere (stone), picâ (to sculpt, to carve, to chisel), lavorâ (to work [to manipulate]), il scarpel (chisel), mancjâ di rispiet (to lack respect, to disrespect), montâ su (to go up on), midiant di (by way of), il scjalin (step), disvistût (unclothed, undressed).

Verse 22: o vês viodût dibessôi (you yourselves have seen).

Verse 23: dius d’arint (gods of silver); dius d’aur (gods of gold); e nancje no vês di fâ (nor must you make).

Verse 24: un altâr di tiere (an earthen altar; an altar of earth); par ufrîmi parsore i tiei olocauscj (in order to offer me your burnt offerings upon it). Recall that scj is the plural of the singular st ending: olocaust > olocauscj; chest > chescj, etc.

Verse 25: no sta fâlu cun pieris picadis (do not make it with chiselled stones); lavorantlu cul scarpel (working it with the chisel); tu i mancjis di rispiet (you disrespect it).

Verse 26: no sta montâ sul gno altâr (do not go up on my altar) midiant di scjalins (by way of steps), par no che ti viodin disvistût (in order that one does not see you unclothed; that is, in order that one sees not your nakedness); the use of the impersonal third-person plural a viodin is equivalent here to the impersonal one of English.