Yeah... this is really getting me confused. What will be the 'literal' (althou wrong) translation for this? "The play on the elephant". I'm trying to look at it from a spanish perspective.
First of all, we need to know that "no" is a contraction of "em + o" and "na" is a contraction of "em + a". If the noun is masculine you must use "o". Example: o elefante. If the noun is feminine you must use "a". Example: a girafa. The preposition "em" is required by the verb "tocar" in most cases, like: I touch him = Eu toco nele. (em + ele). Nobody says "Eu toco ele". Buy the way, it is very difficult to know which verb requires which preposition. Even natives make confusion and sometimes make mistakes. I found this link of verbs and prepositions: https://www.normaculta.com.br/regencia-verbal/ I hope you enjoy. There are cases where the verb "tocar" does not require the preposition "em". Exemple: "Eu toco piano" means I play the piano, but "Eu toco no piano" means I'm touching the piano, in the object, in the mobile.
Remember that the preposition "em" is optional for "tocar" (to touch).
"They touch ON the elephant" means that two people are sitting on top of the elephant and touching each other. It's a quite unlikely, albeit perfectly logic sentence... Also in English there is an expression "to touch on (a topic)" meaning to briefly discuss or mention a topic.
Me too. I guess the "on" is not needed in English but it's not incorrect English. Strange.
When does 'tocar' get followed by 'em', when it involves touching a person as opposed to an object? And when it's used as the verb 'to play on/in' it follows too right?
It's quite optional.
They touch the object = Eles tocam o/no objeto
They touch the kids = Eles tocam as/nas crianças
He plays the guitar = Ele toca a/na guitarra
If it is like the Spanish (it isn't always), "tocar" is play only in when it refers to music, either a musical instrument or a musical composition.
The elephant sentence above is an example of "touch," but it can be used to describe "play" in context of an instrument. Ex: "Eu toco a guitarra."
So it could be right to translate this sentence to "they play the elephant", if they use it as a drum?
Absolutely...or if they have nicknamed one of their instruments "the elephant" it could be be syntactically correct as well.
why 'no' doesn't have any of those translations in the sentence? I translated this 'they play on elephant' xD
A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: "We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable". So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said "This being is like a thick snake". For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, "elephant is a wall". Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear. And so these men of Indostan disputed loud and long, each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong, though each was partly in the right and all were in the wrong!
- Tocar = to play an instrument
- Tocar em = to touch/tap something
- Jogar = to play sports
"Eu toco em futebol" makes no sense. In this case "play" means "jogar". The correct is "Eu jogo futebol. Você joga futebol. Eles jogam futebol.
I used "They touch the elephant" which seemed more correct, from a Spanish perspective,and taking into account that there's no way you could play an elephant. I don't see why "em" (no) is needed.
I don't get it if no means em+o why it only means the in the translation.