Here's something to check out to answer your question: http://blogs.transparent.com/swedish/to-speak-in-swedish-tala-prata-snack/
Yes, I think you're right. In English you can probably say both "the man and the woman talk" and "the man and woman talk", where the first "the" would sort of cover them both, but in Swedish, since the article is included in the word, it would of course be impossible to say "mannen och kvinna pratar".
Well, here's the deal. The Swedish long a-sound might perhaps sound similar to an long O-/Å-sound to non-natives. But to us natives there is a very clear distinction between them, and thus you're unlikely to get a Swede to say that it's anything like "pråtar" in speech.
Oh... So this is like close (nearby) and close (shut) in English? There's a tiny tiny difference that non-natives usually don't pick up?
But since there are so many accent in Sweden I can pronounce it slightly wrong and they'll just assume I'm from some random town in the middle of nowhere that can't speak proper Swedish? :D
That sounds crucial. What vowels are those in the IPA? http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA_for_Swedish I can see the å one...
'Prater' is not a verb in English, although it could mean someone who prates. "Prattle' is a moderately common word meaning to talk on and on about nothing much. 'Prate' means about the same thing, but is not used commonly, and in fact most native English speakers probably wouldn't know what it means. It also tends to have a negative connotation, as in the expression 'a prating fool'.
I always have difficulties with the difference in pronunciation of 'mannen' vs 'männen'. Am I right in thinking ä=e?
Also, why does this course not include pronunciation exercises (using the microphone) like the French and German ones do? I think this would make me much more confident and help my memory.