Quis fecit os hominis?

Moses, at Exodus 4, in shrinking before the Lord in the mission given him, uses as pretext his lack of eloquence, his slowness of tongue. The Lord, for whom nothing is impossible, puts forth to Moses the following question (version Douay-Rheims): Who made man’s mouth? This entry will examine the words of the Lord in Latin, Polish and Friulian versions.

Latin. Quis fecit os hominis? The nominative and masculine quis is Latin for the interrogative who. As for fecit, this third-person singular and perfect verb form means made; it derives from the infinitive facere, meaning to make. For information: feci (I made); fecisti (thou madest); fecit (he made); fecimus (we made); fecistis (you made); fecerunt (they made). The Latin for mouth is the neuter noun os, whereas for man it is the masculine noun homo. In the Lord’s words, we find os hominis, where homo (man) is fallen into genitive position hominis (of man). Consider: Quis (who) fecit (made) os (mouth) hominis? (of man?). The Latin os hominis may take the English reading the mouth of man or man’s mouth. Wherefore: Quis fecit os hominis? (who made man’s mouth?).

Polish. Kto dał człowiekowi usta? The nominative kto is Polish for the interrogative who. As for dał, this masculine, third-person singular and past tense verb form means gave; it derives from the perfective dać, meaning to give. For information: Polish avails itself of three different past tense forms in the third-person singular; for what it concerns the perfective dać, these three forms are: dał (masculine); dała (feminine); dało (neuter). The Polish for mouth is the plural noun usta, whereas for man it is the masculine noun człowiek. In the Lord’s words, we find człowiek (man) fallen into dative position człowiekowi (unto man). Consider: Kto (who) dał (gave) człowiekowi (unto man) usta? (mouth?). The English unto may also be expressed as to, or even omitted altogether when employed with the verb to give. The Polish omits its equivalent of the possessive adjective his before mouth, but it is understood in context; usta, then, is here understood as {his} mouth. Wherefore: Kto dał człowiekowi usta? (who gave man his mouth?).

Friulian. Cui i àial dade la bocje al om? Of the interrogative who, the Friulian equivalent is cui. As for the infinitive dâ, this is Friulian for to give; its past participle is dât (given). Consider: al à dât (he has given); cui àial dât? (who has given?). In the second of the foregoing instances, the use of the interrogative cui forces the auxiliary into interrogative form; in this way, al à (he has) becomes àial? (has he?), by positioning the auxiliary à before the atonic al, with insertion of i between the two vowels. The reader may wish to ponder another such example: al à fat (he has made); àial fat? (has he made?); cui àial fat? (who has made?). The reader will note that al à dât can take, depending on its context, either the reading he has given or he gave; similarly, al à fat can be read, appropriately in its context, either he has made or he made. This same holds true also for the interrogative forms, so that, for instance, cui àial dât? can take the reading who has given? or who gave?; henceforth, only the form who gave? will be retained. The Friulian for mouth is the feminine noun bocje; in the Lord’s words, we find the past participle dât made to accord therewith, so that dât (masculine singular) has taken the form dade (feminine singular): cui àial dade la bocje? (who gave the mouth?). Of course, it must now be expressed unto whom the mouth was given: unto man. The Friulian for man is the masculine noun om; the wording al om is read in context as unto man. More precisely, al om translates word for word as unto the man, given that al is the contraction of a (unto) and il (the); however, ‘unto the man’ is nothing more that the Friulian manner of, in this context, expressing unto man, and must not be understood as referring to a single man in particular, but to all men. One of the particularities of Friulian is that al om (unto man) cannot stand on its own; it must be accompanied by i (unto him), placed before the auxiliary. Consider: al à dade la bocje (he gave the mouth); i à dade la bocje (he gave unto him the mouth); cui i àial dade la bocje? (who gave unto him the mouth?); cui i àial dade la bocje al om? (who gave the mouth unto man?). The English unto may also be expressed as to, or even omitted altogether when employed with the verb to give. Employed in the Lord’s words is la bocje (the mouth); however, the Friulian definite article can take the force of a possessive adjective, so that la bocje can also be read as his mouth. Wherefore: Cui i àial dade la bocje al om? (who gave man his mouth?).

The reader will find below the text of Exodus 4:10-13 in Latin, Polish and Friulian versions.

Latin (Biblia Vulgata): Ait Moyses: Obsecro, Domine, non sum eloquens ab heri et nudiustertius: et ex quo locutus es ad servum tuum, impeditioris et tardioris linguae sum. Dixit Dominus ad eum: Quis fecit os hominis? aut quis fabricatus est mutum et surdum, videntem et caecum? nonne ego? Perge, igitur, et ego ero in ore tuo: doceboque te quid loquaris. At ille: Obsecro, inquit, Domine, mitte quem missurus es.

Polish (Biblia Tysiąclecia): I rzekł Mojżesz do Pana: «Wybacz, Panie, ale ja nie jestem wymowny, od wczoraj i przedwczoraj, a nawet od czasu, gdy przemawiasz do Twego sługi. Ociężałe są usta moje i język mój zesztywniał». Pan zaś odrzekł: «Kto dał człowiekowi usta? Kto czyni go niemym albo głuchym, widzącym albo niewidomym, czyż nie Ja, Pan? Przeto idź, a Ja będę przy ustach twoich i pouczę cię, co masz mówić». Lecz Mojżesz rzekł: «Wybacz, Panie, ale poślij kogo innego».

Friulian (Bibie par un popul): Mosè i disè al Signôr: “No sta cjapâte, Signôr: no soi bon di fevelâ ni di îr, ni di îr l’altri, ni di cuant che tu i fevelis al to famei. Di fat jo o ài un impediment di bocje e di lenghe”. Dissal il Signôr: “Cui i àial dade la bocje al om? Cui fasial il mut e il sort, chel che al viôt e chel che al è vuarp? No soio jo, il Signôr? Va, alore: jo o sarai cu la tô bocje e ti insegnarai jo ce che tu âs di dî”. Dissal indaûr Mosè: “No sta inrabiâti, Signôr! Mande, ti prei, cui che tu vûs”.