Does brev mean letter as in a letter that would you write to send home, for example, or as an one of the elements that makes up a word? I hope this question makes sense.... I don't want to get to Sweden and ask someone how I can send individual letters to someone in the mail :)
I just want to point out that this confusion is very understandable: after an ett-word that ends with a consonant, plural indefinite is the word itself and -en indicates plural definite. And for ett-words ending with a vowel, the required plural endings are -n for indefinite and -na for definite. However, if you have an ett-word ending with the vowel "e", when adding the -n of plural indefinite, it gives something easily taken as -en. Especially since duolingo uses a lot of phrases with ett äpple, äpplet, äpplEN, äpplena!
If you find it hard to hear the sentence because the voice is too fast, add a period mark after each word in google translate. Its the same TTS and will make everything slower and separated. like so: https://translate.google.com/#sv/en/Barnen.%20l%C3%A4ser.%20breven.
In swedish we do not have the distinction between present simple and continuous. So both "The children are reading" and "The children read" translates to "Barnen läser". If one were to direct translate the former (so you find your 'är') i reckon it would turn out as "Barnen är läsande" which is a contrstuction only used in poems, rare and formal cases etc.
I understand this well I feel, but you could say barnen läser brev and it would mean the kids are reading letters? Essentially the same thing though, ja? Or is there any significant difference between barnen läser brev and barnen läser breven? I feel like there's not but it doesn't hurt to be sure
It's ett brev, brevet; brev, breven.
The difference between Barnen läser brev and Barnen läser breven is the same as between The kids read letters and The kids read the letters. If it's the letters, the speaker supposes that the listener knows which letters, otherwise it's just some letters.