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Sonar, Doler, Tocar

Let’s learn the Spanish verb Sonar, which roughly means “to sound”, Doler, which roughly means “to hurt”, and Tocar, which roughly means “to touch”. We’ll practice all three verbs in all of their most common forms and uses.

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¿Cómo suena esto?

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn three new verbs, and we’ll start with Sonar, which means “to sound”. Just like the English verb, you’ll use this to describe how something sounds. For example:

That might sound better.

Eso puede sonar mejor.

To say that something sounds “good”, you’ll use bien, literally saying that it sounds “well”. For example:

That has to sound good, right?

Eso tiene que sonar bien, ¿verdad?

And just like in English, we *might* be referring to how something literally sounds (referring to a noise that it makes), but it can also be figurative. For example:

I’ll see you there at 7. Does that sound good to you?

Te veré allí a las 7. ¿Eso te suena bien?

So there are a couple of things to notice here. First of all, the conjugation here was suena instead of sona. This verb has a stem change, so any time the first syllable is stressed, it sounds like “suen” instead of “son”.

And then second, note that in Spanish, we’re more likely to use Parecer in situations like this; rather than eso te suena bien, literally “does that sound good to you”, you’re a bit more likely to hear eso te parece bien, literally “does that seem good to you”. But Sonar is occasionally used like this as well, so that's how we’ll translate “sound” as opposed to “seem”.

Also note that one reason Sonar is used so frequently in Spanish is because it’s used in many cases where in English we’re more likely to say “ring” or “beep”. For example:

His telephone rang in the middle of the meeting.

Su teléfono sonó en medio de la reunión.

Literally “his telephone sounded in the middle of the meeting”. But this is a very common use of Sonar. Try it yourself in this next example:

I don’t want it to beep while she’s talking.

No quiero que suene mientras ella habla.

Let’s get some practice with Sonar.

She sounds like her mom.

Suena como su mamá.

Her phone is ringing.

Su teléfono está sonando.

Nature can sound good.

La naturaleza puede sonar bien.

It sounded like music.

Sonaba como música.

Those phones sound bad.

Esos teléfonos suenan mal.

Your phone rang an hour ago.

Tu teléfono sonó hace una hora.

You sound as if you were sick.

Suenas como si estuvieras enfermo.

He doesn’t want the rain to sound like a storm.

No quiere que la lluvia suene como una tormenta.

We have to be strong in the face of trouble, does it sound good?

Tenemos que ser fuertes ante los problemas, ¿suena bien?

Our next verb is Tocar, which means “to touch”. For example:

Touch the table, it’s very cold!

Toca la mesa, ¡está muy fría!

The reason this verb is so frequent is because of some uses that don’t occur in English. First of all, playing an instrument actually uses this verb, Tocar, rather than the verb for “to play”, which is Jugar. Jugar is reserved for playing things like games, but for playing an instrument, in Spanish you literally talk about “touching” an instrument. For example:

This afternoon they are playing downtown.

Esta tarde tocan en el centro.

Let’s learn a couple of instruments so that you can start practicing this use: “The piano” is el piano, and “the guitar” is la guitarra. For example:

He plays the guitar and I play the piano.

Él toca la guitarra y yo toco el piano.

And then here’s a very idiomatic use of Tocar. When people are taking turns doing something, it’s common to refer to someone’s turn using phrasing like this:

It’s his turn to do this.

Le toca hacer esto.

Literally “it touches him to do this”. But this is a very common idiom. Here’s an example with a redundant indirect object:

It’s your brother’s turn to do this homework.

Le toca a tu hermano hacer esta tarea.

Let’s practice these uses of Tocar.

Play something for us!

¡Toca algo para nosotros!

Their mom doesn’t want them to touch that.

Su mamá no quiere que toquen eso.

I don’t want you to touch the snow.

No quiero que toques la nieve.

Maybe they'll play a little music.

Quizás toquen un poco de música.

(Formal) Play just one more song.

Toque una sola canción más.

Don’t touch the river, it is not safe.

No toques el río, no es seguro.

It hasn’t been my turn in a while.

No me ha tocado en un tiempo.

It’s your turn to go to the building opposite this one.

Te toca ir al edificio en frente a este.

She doesn’t want me to touch the plant.

Ella no quiere que yo toque la planta.

It was her turn to go that day.

Le tocó ir ese día.

Do you play the guitar?

¿Tocas la guitarra?

You don’t have to play the piano like I play it.

No tienes que tocar el piano como yo lo toco.

I don’t think it’s his turn.

No creo que le toque.

She isn’t playing good music, but noise.

No está tocando buena música, sino ruido.

Our last verb is Doler, which means “to hurt”. For example:

I don’t think this is going to hurt him.

No creo que esto le vaya a doler.

Notice that this uses an indirect object, le, without using a direct object. So it behaves kind of like Gustar and Importar.

Now, of course, we’ve already learned that you can talk about hurting or damaging someone using hacerle daño. So this sentence could have been no creo que esto le vaya a hacer daño. The thing is, hacerle daño works much more broadly, in any situations where someone experiences hurt or damage, but our new verb, Doler, is specifically used when someone is feeling pain. Here’s another example:

Today my head is hurting me.

Hoy me duele la cabeza.

Notice the stem change here; instead of “dole”, we have duele. Try it yourself in this next example:

It hurts me when you touch my forehead.

Me duele cuando me tocas la frente.

And here’s a more figurative use:

What she said yesterday hurts us a lot.

Lo que dijo ayer nos duele mucho.

Let’s get some practice with Doler.

My arm is hurting me.

Me duele el brazo.

Be careful, it might hurt.

Ten cuidado, puede doler.

It doesn’t hurt me anymore.

Ya no me duele.

I don’t think it hurts her.

No creo que le duela.

His leg will hurt him if he goes to the sea.

Le dolerá la pierna si va al mar.

Apparently, it didn’t hurt her when they were at the lake.

Al parecer, no le dolió cuando estaban en el lago.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/221. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

Don’t play any more, it doesn’t sound good.

No toques más, no suena bien.

He wants me to play a song at the beach.

Quiere que toque una canción en la playa.

It’s your turn to go to the island.

Te toca ir a la isla.

They don’t want him to touch anything, except his own food.

No quieren que toque nada, salvo su propia comida.

You sound like a kid, this won’t hurt you.

Suenas como un niño, esto no te dolerá.

It made a sound next to that tree.

Sonó junto a ese árbol.

That didn’t hurt, but it still could hurt.

Eso no dolió, pero aún podría doler.

They sound safe and happy.

Suenan salvos y felices.

You can’t touch the things beside that house.

No puedes tocar las cosas al lado de esa casa.

I don’t play anything, and maybe that sounds strange.

No toco nada, y quizás eso suene extraño.

It was her turn to go to the forest.

Le tocó ir al bosque.

(Formal) Play something for us.

Toque algo para nosotros.

I don’t think it can sound good here.

No creo que pueda sonar bien aquí.

(Plural) Don’t touch that! Nobody has touched it.

¡No toquen eso! Nadie lo ha tocado.

Touch my arm, but carefully because it hurts me.

Toca mi brazo, pero con cuidado porque me duele.

That didn’t sound like an animal.

Eso no sonaba como un animal.

Your phone was ringing before.

Tú teléfono estaba sonando antes.

I don’t want her head to hurt.

No quiero que le duela la cabeza.

She is going after her dreams, but she is safe.

Va tras sus sueños, pero está a salvo.

You aren’t touching the sun, that’s not possible.

No estás tocando el sol, eso no es posible.

Tell them to play something under the moon.

Diles que toquen algo bajo la luna.

You always play something beautiful.

Siempre tocas algo hermoso.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/221.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Michael Agudelo. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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