The problem is that the convention in English disagrees with this translation. At least this is true if the term "middag" refers to the time of day that the meal occurs rather than which meal in the day is the main meal. "dinner" in English only refers to which meal is the main meal and is associated with both the noon meal and evening meal. It only somewhat favors the noon meal. If the Swedish tendency is to eat their main meal in the evening then a translation to "dinner" is very reasonable. Although this still depends on whether the term "middag" refers to the significance of the meal rather than the time of day.
You can think of the English usage like this...
(1) morning meal = breakfast, or dinner if anyone were to make this the main meal
(2) noon meal = lunch, when light, or dinner when it is the main meal
(3) evening meal = supper, when light, or dinner when it is the main meal
I sent a report on this and would like if a native speaker who knows could explain the answer to my question on whether "middag" refers to significance, time, or both. If you read this and turn out to be the same person who will have read my report then I am sorry to have accidentally mistaken this for the Danish course in my report. I am simultaneously studying Danish and Swedish and immensely enjoying both courses! You have beautiful languages and they are very fun to learn. :)
It's just not that simple in English, it depends on region and social class and a bunch of other stuff; I think it's probably simplest if the course just tells people that middag = dinner, anything else would get confusing, and it's a quirk of English which isn't really relevant to learning Swedish.
I think that a better question would be that as the evening meal is "middag", should "supper" also be accepted as a correct alternative answer? http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supper?show=0=1420736630
As swedish Wikipedia says the term "middag" refers both to a meal and to a time. MIDDAG (mat): "Middag" är den måltid som brukar intas efter arbetsdagens slut..... MIDDAG (tid): "Middag" ("mitt på dagen) avser den tidpunkt då ett halvt dygn har fortläpt, det vill säga klockan 12:00....
I suggest Duolingo should accept even the answers: "A midday", " a noon"..
Actually in England "dinner" is (or used to be) a meal of its own and does not refer to either supper or lunch. The meals of a day go like this:
Breakfast - in the morning Lunch - around noon Tea - in the afternoon, before dinner Dinner - around 5-6pm Supper - in the evening
Now I understand that in the modern world people don't follow this kind of a schedule anymore, but this is where the original meaning of the word comes from, and that makes this information relevant. If you read a book by e.g. Jane Austen, the distinction becomes quite clear. And to my understanding, this is also the concept that the swedish word "middag" refers to, hence middag=dinner.
It was also common in my youth (I'm an older person) in New England from an Irish-Italian immigrant background to refer to lunch as dinner and the evening meal as supper.. So this may not necessarily be a Scandinavian heritage holdover. Perhaps more generically it comes from a European working class background. While usages have moved on today- even in Swedish- see the next post. The more formal language could retain the distinctions
Like in very many other countries, the Swedish system for lunch and dinner has changed, and there are still people around who stick to the older system. To avoid confusion, we only teach the modern standard usage of the words.
Today, most people eat the following main meals:
frukost is breakfast, the first meal of the day
lunch is lunch, the second meal of the day, eaten 'in the middle of the day' or at around 12:00.
middag is dinner, the largest meal of the day, normally eaten after the end of the working day.
Apart from these, we have
kvällsmat if you have a simpler evening meal after dinner, it's called kvällsmat
fika is a social institution typically involving coffee and something sweet (read more)
mellanmål is a snack
brunch is the same as in English
supé is a pretentious word for a meal after 20:00
Urban Swedish people (nowadays, I should say, the majority) use "frukost", "lunch", "middag", whereas more rural tradition is "frukost", "middag", "kvällsmat". I myself use the latter standard, but then my children say I am old-fashioned :-) As for the time of day, it is more common to say "mitt på dagen" or "middagstid". "En middag" can only refer to a specific meal, e. g. "en fin middag" (a fashionable dinner) or "en god middag" (a good/tasty dinner).
'Middag' is the main meal of the day. It got its name from 'middle of the day', when we were all farmers, and had our biggest meal around 12 o'clock. But since then lunch has been introduced, taking its place, factory-work etc changed the family traditions, 'middag' being held later and later during the day, until it became an evening meal. The only time you really have time to sit down for your main meal. Often at 17-20 o'clock. But on weekends the family dinner might be earlier, in the middle of the afternoon, when people have enough time to spend together.
No, there is no '-r' at the end. I actually hear the '-g' rather clear here, but I am native speaker of Swedish, so it might not be that clear to anyone else. Furthermore, the usual everyday pronunciation would probably be to just end in -a "midda-" softening the 'g' away.
I can't really see if your reply was aimed at me, but I'll just assume it is ;) In Dutch 'dag' means day, yes, and 'mid' just means mid (though in Dutch it's an abbreviated form of 'midden' meaning 'middle'), so 'middag' would be the same as 'mid-day'. It doesn't exactly refer to the time of dinner. With us, midday would be the equivalent of 'afternoon' which just refers to a certain time periode. Whereas 'ochtend' (morning) is 6-12 AM, 'middag' is 12-6 PM (or 12-18h). After that comes 'avond' (evening) which is 6-12 and then 'nacht' (night) 12-6. Evertyhing that's not night (so 6AM-12PM) is also together called 'dag', so day. I love to explain, I love to teach people stuff, so if you have any more questions about Dutch you know where to go.
In English , the indefinite article (a) would not be used with the noun (dinner) too often.
Like one would say " I had dinner ", and if one said " I just had a dinner ", it would sound somewhat unnatural, and you would probably have to explain more by saying "I just had a TV dinner" (for example).