I would suggest that it is a perfectly reasonable translation to English. But would translate back to Swedish better as “Barnen leker utomhus.” Seems it should probably be accepted though...
I don't know if it is regional, but when I grew up in Yorkshire we would have said "The children are playing out".
Is 'ute' due to plural, or is that the standard word for outside?
Or in other words, would you still use 'ute' if it was 'barnet'?
It's the standard word for 'outdoors' or 'outside' so it's used with all persons. (it's an adverb).
The Swedish present tense can correspond either to English simple present (plays) or present continuous (playing).
Let me rephrase my previous comment. Ugglan only accepts the present continuous, so I was wondering if this structure is similar to stå/ligga och göra någonting.
I mean it would make sense in English to have a simple present, would it? You can’t be out and play, at least not to my ears.
"On Saturdays, he usually is outside and plays." In that sentence, simple present seems more appropriate to me.
Could somebody explain the use of "och" here. Is this an idiomatic way to phrase that "the children are playing outside/outside playing"? The construction is unusual in English, is it typical på svenska? Tack så mycket!
The sentence is an ellipsis for "Barnen är ute och barnen leker", meaning "The children are outside and the children are playing". The English translation preferred by Duolingo compresses this further by using what in Latin grammar would be called "participium coniunctum" (Don't know what it's called in English grammar): The main sentence is "The children are out", and then a participle clause is added that relates to the subject and adds another propositional content to the sentence that relates to the main proposition in a way that the recipient has to figure out from context. In this case, the context implies than the conjunction between the two propositions is an "and" or possibly a "while". That being said, in a sentence with different message (such as this very sentence), the conjunction linking the participial construction to the main sentence could even be an "although". (Note, however, that the previous sentence does not use "participium coniunctum", but rather something I would call "ablativus absolutus" if English would use ablatives. The difference is that the participle clause has its own subject different from the main clause's.) I'm reasoning from my understanding of Latin here, but according to my English sprachgefühl the basic logic is the same in both languages.
Edit: I found something about this topic in Google books: "Free Adjuncts and Absolutes in English", https://books.google.de/books?id=ze0DAQAAQBAJ
That certainly makes a lot of sense. Now, the additional question is how typical is it for Swedish to contract sentences less than English in this manner? Does this sentence construction hold true for all/most similar sentences or can we sometimes get away with "participium coniunctum" på svenska också?
I haven't seen a single Swedish PC construction in the Duolingo course (but that's almost all the Swedish I know). Except perhaps something like "Han kom simmande": "He came swimming", corresponding to something similar to "He came in that he swam" ("in that" isn't entirely right, but English does not really have a conjunction for this and uses "by"+...ing instead. In German one would use "indem"). But I suspect this is idiomatic and works only with "komma" and a few other verbs. Better ask a Swede!