Graiméar na Gaedhilge/Part I Chapter IV

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Attenuation and Broadening.

30. Attenuation is the process of making a broad consonant slender. This is usually done by placing an i immediately before the broad consonant, or an e after it. Thus if we want to make the r of mór (big), slender, we place an i before the r; thus móir. If we wish to make the f of fad (the termination of the 1st person singular future) slender, we write fead &c.

31. Broadening is the process of making a slender consonant broad. This is often done by placing a u immediately before the slender consonant, or an a after it; thus the verbal noun of derived verbs ending in is formed by adding aḋ: before adding the aḋ the ġ must be made broad; this is done by inserting a u; míniġ, explain; míniuġaḋ, explanation. If we want to make the f of fiḋ (the termination of 3rd singular future) broad, we must write faiḋ. Buailfiḋ sé, he will strike; meallfaiḋ sé, he will deceive.

Whenever a slender consonant is preceded by an i which forms part of a diphthong or a triphthong, the consonant is usually made broad by dropping the i. Thus to broaden the l in buail, or the n in goin, we drop the i and the we get bual and gon. The verbal nouns of buail and goin are bualaḋ and gonaḋ.