In English there is a difference in register between dad and father. This distinction also exists in French, German, Russian, Polish, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
The question is whether there is any such distinction in Swahili.
"Baba" is both formal and informal; our language teacher at university therefore insists we translate "baba" "father and "mama" "mother". :)
"Father is from Tanzania" would be "Baba anatoka Tanzania"... yes, the meaning is similar but there is a distinct difference in the translation.
Wouldn't that be "Baba yangu ni mtanzania"? Swahili has pronouns similar to English's so that would be a different sentence.
Languages deal with possessive modifiers for family members very differently. Some languages use them much less than English, so word-for-word equivalences aren't inherently informative. Are you familiar with the situation in Swahili specifically? I share Miah803875's query as to whether "My dad..." might actually be closer to the default interpretation of this Swahili sentence.
Well, usually when you say "Dad is..." even in English the "my" is implied; since it is rather uncommon to refer to other people's fathers as "dad" or even "father" - I would say though that for Swahili "Baba ni mtanzania." should be "Father is Tanzanian." without "my" as that might stress biological father - Baba also is used for uncles and other elder men and not always specified (my uncle - my father's younger brother is "baba mdogo" to me - so my "small father")
Sure, "dad is..." means "my dad...," but to me this substitution isn't terribly natural outside extremely limited contexts, mostly talking to other family members. I wouldn't generally use it even when talking to close friends, and my friends don't seem to, either.
The simple fact they've included so many sentences with family members as subjects but without possessive modifiers makes me think the situation is different in Swahili. Of course, they could have just made a not-that-great pedagogical choice to teach lots of sentences that one would assume are natural and can be used in general, but actually are only really natural when speaking with one's Swahili-speaking family members, of which learners may often have none.
In English, "Father is Tanzanian" means only one of two things, as far as I'm aware: "my father is Tanzanian" or "the priest (and my interlocutor knows from context which priest I'm talking about) is Tanzanian." And "Dad is Tanzanian," or course, applies only to one's own biological father, so adding "my" doesn't add any stress.
To the extent "baba" is used for other men not one's father (barring priests), then "father" itself doesn't work as a translation, that is unless "father" itself is used in such instances in Tanzanian English. In Ghanaian English, it is common to use "uncle" in this way, a form much more familiar for not-actual-relatives to native English speakers in Western countries (but still not nearly as widely used as in Ghana).
What about "Father is a Tanzanian" - This translations was flagged as incorrect.
Not nearly a native speaker, but that seems correct. It doesn't seem like there's any distinction in Swahili.
Report it. :) It is both correct - there are no articles (though different ways of defining something concretely.)
Making "Dad is" become "Dad's" is quite informal in American english and is accetpable to say, however we are translating from Swahili and it makes the most sense to translate more directly into the closest equivalent. English-ifying it even more might be too far from the original meaning. The structure is much more like "Dad is" than "Dad's"
That only makes sense if there's a parallel, commonly used way to make this sentence a less formal register in Swahili. Unless you're offering one, the difference does not matter at all.
I am not sure if it accepts "Dad is Tanzanian." - my language teacher requires us to translate baba as Father and mama as Mother - I guess it's a personal quirk, but you could ask the Swahili mother tongue speakers making this course.
Well, the translations shown above (hover hints) for "baba" are "dad," "papa," and "daddy," so it would certainly appear that the course creators do not share the same quirk :)
It's not dealing with contractions well. I've been saying "Mom's Kenyan" or "Dad's Tanzanian" and it's telling me I missed a space. As far as I know, there's no parallel in Swahili to the English contraction, so both these sentences should not be flagged for typos.
The contractions in Swahili are in other places. "Mamangu ni mkenya." (shortage of "Mama yangu ni mkenya.")