Insegnimi, Signôr, a fâ la tô volontât

In De imitatione Christi (liber III, capitulum III), Thomas a Kempis, in the words of the follower of Christ, writes: Doce me, Domine, facere voluntatem tuam, meaning teach me, Lord, to do thy will. The words doce me facere voluntatem tuam are taken from the Vulgate, Psalm 142 (143):10. This entry will examine the Friulian reading of these words, with language notes.

Doce me, Domine, facere voluntatem tuam.
— De imitatione Christi (liber III, capitulum III)

In Friulian:
Insegnimi, Signôr, a fâ la tô volontât.

In English:
Teach me, Lord, to do thy will.

The Friulian infinitive insegnâ means to teach. Following is, for the reader’s reference, the present indicative of this verb: o insegni (I teach; first-person singular); tu insegnis (thou teachest; second-person singular); al insegne (he teacheth; masculine, third-person singular); e insegne (she teacheth; feminine, third-person singular); o insegnìn (we teach; first-person plural); o insegnais (you teach; second-person plural); a insegnin (they teach; third-person plural). Now, it is not the present indicative which is found in the words of Thomas a Kempis, but the imperative. Of this verb, the imperative forms are: insegne (teach {thou}; second-person singular); insegnìn (let us teach; first-person plural); insegnait (teach {you}; second-person plural). It is useful for the reader to consider the following pairs: tu insegnis il furlan; insegne il furlan! (thou teachest Friulian; teach Friulian!; second-person singular); o insegnìn il latin; insegnìn il latin! (we teach Latin; let us teach Latin!; first-person plural); o insegnais il polac; insegnait il polac! (you teach Polish; teach Polish!; second-person plural).

As mentioned above, of the Friulian infinitive insegnâ (to teach), the second-person singular imperative is insegne; however, when the indirect object mi (to me, unto me) is suffixed, the final e of the imperative must change to i, so that insegne + mi = insegnimi (teach unto me). The reader will note that mi in the present instance is an indirect object, and not a direct one. This becomes clear if we take, for instance, the following utterance: insegnimi il latin! (teach me Latin!; teach Latin to me!), where mi is the indirect object (to me, unto me), and il latin is the direct one. Consider now the following examples: al à insegnât il furlan (he has taught Friulian); il furlan, lu à insegnât (Friulian, he has taught it); cui isal chel che i à insegnât il furlan? (who is it that has taught him Friulian?); cui isal chel che jal à insegnât? (who is it that has taught him it?). The phrase insegnâ a fâ, found in the Friulian reading of the Latin words under consideration, means to teach to do. Similar to this, for instance, is insegnâ a fevelâ, meaning to teach to speak. A new example to consider: al è il predi che i à insegnât a fevelâ par furlan (it is the priest who has taught him to speak in Friulian), which can be broken down so: al è (it is) il predi (the priest) che (who) i (unto him) à insegnât (has taught) a fevelâ (to speak) par furlan (in Friulian).

The masculine noun Signôr is Friulian for Lord. For instance, il Signôr al è grant is Friulian for the Lord is great. Related to this is il Signôr Diu, meaning the Lord God.

The feminine noun volontât is Friulian for will, for example: la volontât di Diu (the will of God); fâ la volontât dal Signôr (to do the will of the Lord); fâ la tô volontât (to do thy will); che e sedi fate la tô volontât (thy will be done). To understand the Friulian use of the second-person singular possessive adjective to, meaning thy, the reader may consider the following instances, which employ the masculine singular noun sclâf (slave) and its plural counterpart sclâfs (slaves), and the feminine singular noun sierve (maidservant) and its plural counterpart siervis (maidservants); agreement of the possessive adjective to is made for gender and number with the noun: il to sclâf (thy slave); i tiei sclâfs (thy slaves); la tô sierve (thy maidservant); lis tôs siervis (thy maidservants). To, then, takes four forms, determined by the gender and number of the noun it modifies: to (masculine singular); tiei (masculine plural); (feminine singular); tôs (feminine plural); it is preceded by the appropriate definite article, determined again by gender and number of the noun: il (masculine singular); i (masculine plural); la (feminine singular); lis (feminine plural). Following are more instances for the reader’s consideration: il cjamp, il to cjamp (the field, thy field); i cjamps, i tiei cjamps (the fields, thy fields); la vore, la tô vore (the task, thy task); lis voris, lis tôs voris (the tasks, thy tasks).


Insegnimi (teach me),
Signôr (Lord),
a fâ (to do)
la tô volontât (thy will).

INSEGNIMI, SIGNÔR, A FÂ LA TÔ VOLONTÂT