"The children play for fifteen minutes."
Translation:Barnen leker i en kvart.
But what if you want to say that the children will play in fifteen minutes?
I know that I am going to make many mistakes. So far for me choosing which to use (i, på, till, för, etc.) has been like taking a stab in the dark each time. Will people be able to understand me even if I make these mistakes?
Also, do Swedes go through the same experience when learning English? Just as the Swedish words don't always translate neatly into English, the reverse must be true as well. How do so many Swedes learn to be so good at English?
Well. Firstly, Swedish children begin learning English somewhere at age 8-9. That is quite early to begin learning a second language, but it's also a good thing to learn languages at a young age.
Secondly, we're bombarded with anglophone culture, mainly american, all the time. In Sweden, movies and TV are not dubbed the way they are on the continent, and perhaps this too helps to get a feel for the English language.
But to answer your question, the answer is yes. Swedes in the same stage of learning English make prepositions mistakes too. Prepositions are quite a hard part of any indo-european language.
Why not "Barnen leker på en kvart"? Correct me if i am wrong, but I roughly remember a previous exercise which translated "I read a book in 15 minutes" as "Jag läser en bok på en kvart" (maybe not exactly, but it was different than "i en kvart"). Is it due to the sentence being general, unlike this one which is specific about a certain group of children in a certain situation?
The difference between this exercise and the previous one you have quoted is whether they are currently doing, or usually do something, versus whether they are going to be doing something in a certain amount of time. It's just different tenses:
Barnen leker I en kvart - The children play for 15 minutes (The children are playing now, and they will be playing for 15 minutes. OR. The children usually play for 15 minutes)
Jag läser en bok om en kvart - I read a book in 15 minutes (I am not currently reading a book, but I will be reading a book 15 minutes from now.)
yes, I think Swedish just has a noun for 15 mins that English doesn't have. A similar word would be "year". Doing something "for a year" sounds better than "for year". Does that help? I've not been learning too long so don't worry if it doesn't, just thought I'd try helping before a mod checks in :)