But why does 'the child' become barnET while 'the man' for example becomes manNEN? Is that because the child is neuter whilst man or woman is common?
Barnet would be more likely a younger child, correct? Such as baby or an infant, since it is a neuter (unlike "boy" or "girl", both which adopt "en" as the definite article.. So baby could be a suitable translation, right? I was taught that the gender differences between are really more based on whether the object is a living entity (with many exceptions), i.e. "hund" is given the indefinite article en ("en hund" or "a dog") while an object like bil would take the indefinite article ett ("ett bil" or "a car"). Was I taught correctly?
No, it's always an ett word. There are two genders in Swedish, neuter (ett words) and common gender (en words). Each noun belongs to one, and only one, gender.
For regular ett nouns ending in a consonant, their pattern is like this:
ett barn 'a child'
barnet 'the child'
barnen 'the children'
So the form barnen means 'the children', but barn is always an ett word.
Languages may lack exact word-for-word equivalents to other foreign language expressions. English Verb structure is a good example:
By midday, he would have been hiking for six hours
Translating the meaning of would have been hiking from English to other languages will often not be word-for-word