Why is the letter L broad in the present tense "iompórtálann" but slender in the passive/autonomous "iompórtáiltear?"
For that matter (according to teanglann), why is it slender in the simple past "iompórtáil" but broad in both the past passive "iompórtáladh" and simple past 1st person plural "iompórtálamar?"
Is this just "One Of Those Things" or is there a grammar rule that I am missing?
As I understand it:
"Broad with broad, slender with slender."
The "l" in "iompórtálann" has "á" in front and "a" after it. Both are broad, so the "l" is broad.
The "l" in "iompórtáiltear" has "i" in front and "e" after. Both are slender, so the "l" is slender.
Beware of compound words, though! "Dátheangach" comes to mind. It's really just two words stuck together: dá+teangach = dátheangach.
Oh...why "theangach"? "Dá" triggers lenition.
I feel you missed the point of the question; I know what the definition of of broad and slender consonants are. My question was more along the lines of "Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Appearing and Disappearing 'i' in 'Iompórtáil.'" I'm trying to figure out if there's any particular rhyme or reason for when that final "i" shows up in the various conjugations of the word. (The same thing also threw me off a bunch when trying to keep straight the difference in spelling between "siúil" & "siúlamar" in the Past Tense Skill.)
Obviously, this has nothing to do with compound words since we're talking about the final letter of the base of a verb.
And again, I'd be completely satisfied to learn that it's merely "One Of Those Things" that I'll just have to memorize on a case by case basis. I'm only worried that I missed a phonics rule somewhere along the way that would help predict things like this.
Seems like a great question about the way the grammar of the language works. I don't know the answer but I'm hoping to see it when someone posts it up.
My glib answer is that I'd imagine that this change to the sound on the root endings helps identify to the hearer or reader the persons, tense and so forth being referred to by the speaker or writer, but it's probably about what people found to be pronounceable more than anything else.
Am I right to think that the syncopated verbs are actually fairly consistent in this dance between broad and slender - once we learn the pattern, which you seem to have grasped well?