Difference between leker and spelar?
Spela is what you do with games, musical instruments or sports, leka is what children do when they play around.
Is "spela" also what an actor does with a role?
Ohhhh — of course! That's why it's "skådeSPELAre"! :)
Correct! skåda means to behold, but it's not really in modern use any longer.
what about the notion of playing as in manipulating or deceiving?
That works too. :)
I wonder if spel/spela has something to do with Finnish peli/pelata. Sounds reasonable, considering that Finnish often removes a consonant at the beginning of the foreign word if there are two.
According to wiktionary, they're related, but the page also points out that whoever added the information didn't put in any sources. So... possibly, I guess. :)
is there a difference between spelar and leker?
Yes, please see the top comment chain. It had been deleted apparently, but I undeleted it so that it can be read. :)