For me "a little water" emphasizes the fact that there's water in the house (but not much). Alternatively, "little water" (without the "a") emphasizes that there's not much (when more might have been expected). What does this usage in Irish emphasize? And how would you say the other form?
Sorry, I had to elaborate: this is not really dental dots, but rather the special exception (quote from tips notes):
An exception is that words beginning with d, t, s are not lenited after den, don, sa or san.
den doras off the door sa teach in the house don sú to the juice</pre>
Beagán is a noun - that's why it takes an indefinite article in English.
beagán is "a little" in the sense of "a small amount of", it is not the adjective "little"/"small", so beagán uisce means "a little water" in the sense of "a small amount of water", not "a small water", which would be uisce beag.
As I said, beag is used as a noun in narrow circumstances - most of the examples given rely of the coupling of an beag is an mór to indicate two extremes, and to imply that everything is included. The great and the small, the rich and the poor, the young and the old. There really isn't anything to suggest that you could use beag uisce, though.
Thanks. I had actually not realized that the text "New English-Irish Dictionary" was a link to a different page, not a title. Good to know.
And I see better what you mean now about its usage as a noun. I'll assume in the future that beagán is a better word in this context.
Back in school we were taught beagan as "a small bit of, or as the smallest bit or smallest piece of " . "Ta beagan agam" I have very little of, particularly used in an apologetic way to let you know I don't have enough to be able to share with you. As in "little enough "
For some reason I hear two slightly different meanings in this sentence, depending on the dialect. Hearing this in a Connamara accent, I hear Duolingo's translation. In a Cork accent, however, it seems odd ("Níl ach beagán uisce" would sound more natural) and have the meaning "there is little water" rather than "a little". Does Duolingo have a western bias?