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And this is why I'm amazed all these prepositions are being taught so early in the course. It's kind of a grammatical overload.
Relevant anecdote: I gave a presentation on direct and indirect object pronouns in a French lesson at my university. We were all scientists but we'd been learning French for 7/8 years. The number of people who were still confused by the topic was amazing. And there are much fewer contractions in French than Portuguese. Crazy.
Prepositions are tricky in every language. I am a native English speaker while my wife is Portuguese and speaks fluent English. The one thing she still mixes up to this day is the difference between "in" and "on", e.g. "should I put more salt on the soup?" So don't feel bad about pteposition problems!
Seems like Duolingo's idea is immersion, get your ear familiar with the language. Probably why there is very little traditional instruction.
There must have been more than one thread (as one already shown by Davu) on this sentence, or on tocar. I was in another one where Vivisaurus pointed out to me that it could mean I play my plate - or actually cymbals (she provided evidence plural or plates = cymbals). I unfortunately didn't keep that link (or any links!). If I am to translate from English " I touch my plate" I will definitely use "toco em". If I am to translate "eu toco meu pratos" I will say I play my cymbals.
You must mean this discussion: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/124132.
You'll see that in her answer to you vivisaurus mentions it is possible to omit the "em" in speech (I take that to mean informally). Other Brazilians seem to think it is simply optional, see wesleyjefferson's comment here:
The Houaiss dictionary gives a few example sentences
- é proibido tocar (em) qualquer mercadoria
- seus lábios tocaram (n)os dela
- não chegou a tocar (n)o ponto essencial
which also seem to imply "em" is optional when "tocar" means touch. I guess when your sentence is used in context it is unlikely that you'll confuse plates with cymbals.
Great investigation Davu! You do have a point. "Seus lábios tocaram os dela" and "não chegou a tocar o ponto essencial" ar quite acceptable to me. "É proibido tocar qualquer mercadoria" still feels weird, probably because "mercadoria" (merchandize) is considered an object and the "play" meaning of the word "tocar" is expected in this case.
Bottom line I think we can agree that the "em" is optional (but recommendable :P)
Davu I'm prepared to believe you are real or I fail the Turing test for real. Well, people all know who to ask to get the needed resources! I also want to say djeidot is always precise with easy to follow logic. Thank you both!
I agree unconditionally about Context Davu - there would be no effective or meaningful communication otherwise. Within it, we have the option to break the rules for some and yet get our point across exactly the way intended for the targeted audience; and may be able to hear what was really said under the apparent confusion. Thanks again.
There is a big post about it somewhere on the discussions, maybe someone else can post the link here?... the short version is that, if I am talking to you, I will refer as "esse/essa" to something or someone near you, and I will refer as "aquele/aquela" to something or someone that is far away from both of us.
'The dog/o cachorro' is a certain dog. 'Aquele cachorro/that dog (over there)' is much more specific. DuoLingo wants you to learn the specific meanings of all the articles. It would be clearer if we had a context instead of an isolated sentence. "Eu nao gosto daquele cachorro preto. Nao toco naquele (o cachorro preto) . Mas este cachorro marrom e bom. Eu toco neste."
naquele = em+aquele nesse = em+esse desse=de+esse
In English, both "esse" and "aquele" would be translated as "that". The difference is that "aquele" is used for thing that are distant from both the speaker and the listener, something like the old-fashioned word "yonder".
In practise, the distinction between este (=this) and esse (=that) is not very clear and if you use the wrong one in speech I doubt if anyone would notice.