Lecciones de Español


Dreaming with meanings

As you head off to bed in Spain or Latin America, you may hear "Dulces sueños" ("Sweet dreams"). But note that the noun "sueño" isn't just for dreamers. From our online dictionary:

Sueño (masc.)
shut-eye, light sleep; sleep, unconscious state entered into by the body for the purpose of rest and rejuvenation (in humans and animals); dream, series of thoughts and visions which occur during sleep; delusion

                                                   --Babylon Spanish-English


Here are a few more examples of "sueño" for sleep and dreams:

¿Cuántas horas de sueño necesitas?
"How many hours of sleep do you need?"
" Yo tengo un sueño"
"I have a dream" (as Martin Luther King famously declared)"

Tengo sueño
"I'm sleepy

Es el hombre de mis sueños
"He's the man of my dreams"

Naturally enough, "sueño(s)" make their way into many songs. Search Yabla's music directory and you'll find it in song titles like "Bienvenido al sueño" ("Welcome to the dream") by SiZu Yantra and "Por El Boulevar De Los Sueños Rotos" ("Along the Boulevard of Broken Dreams") by Joaquín Sabina.  In our latest batch of new videos, sueño pops up within two musical numbers.

In Gardi's Leña apagada, if you aren't too distracted by the Cuban singer's hirsute
axila, you might grapple with lyrics like this line:

Dicen que su sueño respiraba moribundo
They say that her dream breathed as if dying

[Caption 32, Gardi > Leña apagada]

Ok. It's figurative. Chalk it up to poetic license.

Moving right along... Within the documentary of
Alejandro Fernández's music, we hear the singer belt out:

Sueño contigo
I dream of you

[Caption 6, Alejandro Fernández > Viento a Favor > 2]

Aha. This "sueño" is a verb, not a noun. It's is the first-person (present tense) form of the verb "soñar" ("to dream"). "Soñar" is a stem-changing verb (o -> ue), as is "dormir" ("to sleep").  Here are a couple examples of dream and sleep as verbs:

¿Dormiste bien?
Did you sleep well?

Que sueñes con los angelitos
May you dream of little angels (an expression meaning, basically, "Sweet dreams")


While in English,  you "dream of" or "dream about" someone or something, in Spanish, the preposition to use to get the same point across is "con" (which, as you probably know, usually takes the meaning "with" -- but not in this situation).  Here are two more examples:

¿Sueñas conmigo?
Do you dream about me?

Juan sueña con Jeannie
Juan dreams of Jeannie.

"Soñar con" is just one of those verb-preposition pairings you must memorize to speak like a native. Sleep on that one, ok?



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