"....Does he write?" Why not "...Did he write?"; is it because Skriver is a present tense verb? And I'm guessing the 'Does" is a ninja because there is no "to do" verbs that are ever used in Swedish?
Yes, skriver is present tense, so it must be does he write in English. How many letters did he write? would be Hur många brev skrev han?, past tense.
I don't know about ninja verb though, I'd say English is doing things in a roundabout way adding that "do" all over the place just because they don't like the sound of "How many letters writes he?" :-P
The structure and a lot of basic words are quite close to English - in my humble opinion Swedish is LOADS easier than German!
Haha I'm german and in my opinion, swedish is a mixture of english and german! therefore many grammar-orders are very simple!
What is the precise distinction between "flera" and "många"? I have been thinking of "flera" as "several", but I seems like it can mean "many" on occasion, as well.
In principle flera is several and många is many. If you translate them that way, you can never go wrong. Sometimes it is possible to use many as well though. For instance, we usually say en bok, flera böcker, and in contexts like that, you might as well translate it as one book, many books.
Why I cannot say the plural of "brev"? It seems a bit illogical to me, isn't it?
Late answer, but the plural of brev is brev, so you can certainly say it.
ett brev, brevet 'a letter', 'the letter'
brev breven 'letters', 'the letters'
Jovisst! Jag var också redan i Stockholm och kunde prata drygt två timmar med en vän som bor där! Jag måste tacka er för tillgången till den svenska - till och med till den skandinaviska - kulturen ni har gett mig! :)
Yes, it does, in sentences like Många tycker om glass - 'Many people like ice cream'.
I somehow came up with "How does he write many letters". I know that's wrong now but i'm unclear as to what principle i'm missing in translating the word order.
That would be Hur skriver han många brev?
The word order for questions is
- Question word or a phrase that works the same way (if there isn't a question word/similar, this spot is empty)
Here, you want to know "how many letters" he is writing. So hur många brev works the same way a question word would. Like, you could have said 'What does he write?' Vad skriver han? which would be the same structure but only one word before the verb.
If you put just how first, instead of a whole question phrase, the verb that comes next will be the main verb, so you'll be asking "how does he write".
Tack så mycket, Arnauti, for your patient and thorough response! I always learn so much from your explanations.