Are some words usually slurred together like this in Portuguese? It may just be the speech-system, but would "escreve um" be spoken to sound almost like one word?
The audio is kinda weird here, but sometimes words are slurred together. The stress of "escreve" is not on the last syllable so if you speak fast enough "escreve um" becomes "escrevum".
Um can be used to mean "one", "an", or "a". It just means that whatever noun comes after is singular
There is the word "um" meaning "number one" and the "um" article. The meaning is in the context.
how do you know which version of escreve to use (i.e escrevo or escrevemos...) is there an easy way to remember this?
If you are talking about yourself is "escrevo". If is about you and someone else together is "escrevemos". Or, to make it easier, if the verb ends in "O" is first person singular. If ends with "mos" is 1st person plural. Eu escrevo Tu escreves Ele/Ela/Você escreve Nós escrevemos Vós escreveis Eles/vocês escrevem.
Since the second "e" is pronounced like a spanish "e" (Eh) rather than a long "e" (Eee), why in this case does it not have an accent (ê) like I've seen before used to differentiate between the two?
In English you never say "He writes a book." unless he writes a book every day. The correct English translation should be "He wrote a book."
Yes, we know, and you're right, but this sentence has no context, He writes a book is grammatically ok, but it needs to be in a specific context. I agree if you had the Portuguese sentence first, the right translation should be "he's writing a book", but if you had the English sentence first, the Portuguese translation is ok I guess. For the English sentence first, it has to be reported, and the better translation "he's writing a book" to be suggested as a correction first.
It applies to portuguese, too. Of course "Ele escreve um livro" sounds vague, out of context. It's like ^^^ he ^^^ said. It's just grammatically correct. Relax ;)
Why escreve instead of escrevo? Is it because of conjugation, not that "writing" is not necessarily masculine or feminine? Thank you (: