This sentence sounds pretty awkward in English. I would just say the children are playing outside. If you are in the countryside or the mountains, it would be obvious that they are out in nature. If you are in the city and they've gone camping, you would say that they've gone camping.
I once saw in a documentary that there is a type of preschool in Europe that holds its sessions outdoors amid trees, meadows, and grazing animals. The proponents of this type of schooling may very well say "Barna leker ute i naturen" and just by emphasizing "i naturen" convey the wholesomeness of being in touch with nature. If as translator we casually edit out "in nature", we may miss the central point of the statement.
(The corresponding Swedish one would be "Barnen leker ute i naturen." I'd translate that as "The children are playing out in the nature." It's not that easy to translate, because even city kids might go to a nearby forest and play out in the nature -- as opposed to just playing outside which would probably take place at a playground. In Swedish, on the other hand, this sounds perfectly fine.)
I just happened to come across on YouTube a fitness and health series by the "Kilted Coaches". In one episode, they were talking about making porridge on a camping trip. I found this video again (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7uesDqeLag&t=50s) and here is the pertinent quote: "See, when you are out in nature, you don't have too many ingredients."
Well, I am not Scottish but American, and that sounds idiomatic to me. Perhaps some city folks are not used to hearing "out in nature" as much.
Well spotted. I had a look, and ironically, I live way out in the wilds in Scotland, not in a city as you imply. I'd say this example is idiomatic but is also really very specific usage. Going back to the example, mostly people in Britain at least would say 'the children are playing outside', or 'the children are playing in the woods/countryside/field' or 'the wild'. I get that this is an attempt to impart meaning that is natural (excuse the pun) in a Nordic worldview (which I regularly visit and experience), but I have tried this phrase out on a bunch of friends and they look askance and agree that, in the main, English can't be as economical as this when discussing this concept. The Kilted Coaches are saying something specific and I'd say that one swallow doesn't make a summer. This is perhaps a more contentious choice among the phrases in this course that one could highlight, but I maintain that a lot of the English on offer in this course is a bit crumby. Here, by way of illustration is a piece which I think shows how English handles this subject https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/01/studying-nature-children-planet-gcse
(How ironic indeed that I cited an example from rural Scotland, where you happen to live!)
books.google.com can help us spot more swallows in the summer sky. Here are a few more examples of "out in nature", out of ~581,000 hits from published books and periodicals:
"I believe that just being out in nature has a positive effect on most people." (Andy McGeeney, With Nature in Mind: The Ecotherapy Manual for Mental Health, 2016)
"Join us and the animals out in nature and learn some yoga!" (Christiane Engel, ABC Yoga, 2016)
"Sometimes, when I am out in nature and I have time to think, I start to wonder about things." (W.W. Cobern, Everyday Thoughts about Nature, 2012)
"[wildlife biology] appealed to him because it involved being out in nature." (Rebecca Kneale Gould, At Home in Nature: Modern Homesteading and Spiritual Practice in America, 2005)
"... I felt a nonspecific eeriness about being out in nature in the dark, ..." (Jim Harrison,Dalva: A Novel, 1989)
"Out in nature we hear all kinds of lovely and touching "free" (non-harmonic) combinations of tones; yet ..." (Robert Simon, Percy Grainger: The Pictorial Biography, 1983, but this taken from a quote of the composer who died in 1961.)
"... more vital interdependence between researches out in nature and researches in the laboratory." (Walter Penn Taylor, Outlines for studies of mammalian life histories, 1930)
Lelandsun, you are obviously on a mission. I don't quite see the irony, but, in the cause of sanity, I semi-concede the point but mainly I would not like this discussion of what is obviously something we differ on to cloud my more general point that there is some very stilted English in the translations and exercises in this Norwegian course. In an effort to understand why you obviously give this usage the thumbs up, and I don't, and I assume you, like me, are a native speaker of your variant of English, I wonder if our differing familiarity with this particular phrase, (and the quotes you cite) may perhaps reveal a difference between British and American English. I think this is best put aside and we both move on with our lives ;-). I did, randomly, google 'different than' and found over two thousand million (a British means of counting) examples, but it doesn't make that phrase idiomatic, or syntactically correct, no matter how many Wall St journalists have used it. Well met, over and out:-) (enjoy the lingots)
Yes, Norwegian works like Dutch in this respect.
It's something you'll see with other big, abstract concepts as well. When speaking in a general sense about concepts like hope, love, death, darkness, and eternity we'll often - but not always - use the definite forms in Norwegian.
I think "In de open lucht." or "In de vrije natuur." would fit 'i naturen' better for Dutch, than the literal 'In de natuur.'
As for Nowegian I don't think it uses the extra adjectives 'fresh air'/ 'free outdoors' in this «naturen-context», compared to «Norge har ... vakker natur.»
Yes, "at [location]" can use på or i depending on what the location is.
There is often not a one-to-one correspondence between Norwegian and English prepositions. It is often easier to learn the prepositional phrase as a whole (e.g. "i naturen" = "in nature") rather than trying to translate each word separately.
I think that "inne i butikken" would be the preferred phrasing. My understanding is that "innenfor" is used more with the borders of a space ("innenfor gjerdet" = "inside the fence" i.e. in the space surrounded by the fence) while "inne i" is used with a building ("inne i huset" = "inside the house")
I agree, as most do here, that the English version given is unnatural and not something an English speaker would normally say. That being said, I still do not have a good feeling for exactly what the Norwegian is trying to say here. Clearly it's more than "the children are playing outside". What is "i naturen" really trying to convey, and how would we really say that in English? Playing out in the country? Playing out in the countryside? Playing out in the woods? In the woodlands? Outdoors? The wilderness? The fresh air? The park? Or for you Aussies: the bush? The outback? Some of these, such as "wilderness", don't make much sense as a child's play area. Children would be expected to "play" in a location relatively close to their homes where they could be somewhat unattended. To me, "nature" does not fit this description, which is why we don't say it. It would be more common to hear something like "The children are out playing at the park".