Is there no word of Swahili origin which means family? This came as a surprise to me because all the Bantu languages I know have an indigenous word for family. Native Swahili speakers, anyone ?
I finally found out that the word for family of Bantu origin. It is "kaya". It was also noted to me that the younger generation tend to use the word "familia".
Source: My Tanzanian Swahili native speaker
I understand "kaya" to mean something like "homestead", which is kind of a metonym for family. Ask your friend if they know "jamaa". I would be surprised if it was unfamiliar to them.
Can you give us some examples of words in other Bantu languages for "family"?
Sure! Here are a few examples for the word "family";
usapho --- isiXhosa, mphuri --- ciNdau, imuli --- isiNdebele, umuryango --- Kinyarwanda, lubasi --- isiLozi
I hope this is sufficient.
Just wondering, why do the names of some of those languages look like "isiLanguage"?
That is the prefix that makes the word a language. The most common prefixes for that are isi- , ci-, chi- and ki-
isiNdebele actually means language of the Ndebele people/nation/grouping. The people themselves are called amaNdebele.
kiSwahili also similarly means language of the Swahili. I have only given two examples but the concept is similar.
Please note that the discussed prefix can also mean "the way of" or "culture" of the concerned people. So, isiNdebele, in addition to meaning "the Ndebele language", can also mean "the way of life of the Ndebele" or "the Ndebele culture"
I hope that helps.
Well, capitalisation is a bit tricky. I don't know abut Swahili but I improvised the capitalisation based on ,y own understanding of languages in general. I may be wrong. Proper nouns are usually capitalised. We also know that the beginning of a sentence starts with an initial capital letter , so I would write KiSwahili, IsiNdebele, CiNdau etc if these words start a sentence and as kiSwahili, isiNdebele, ciNdau etc if they appear somewhere in the middle of the sentence.
More likely taken from the Portuguese "família." Portuguese is an occasional source language for loan words in Swahili, unlike Spanish. Gereza (jail) and meza (table) are other examples from Portuguese.
The Swahili word spelled in Spanish would be "familía", so it's probably not from Spanish.
In my dictionary, jamaa is the Swahili word of Bantu origin for family. Familia is also used for family, though I'm guessing it is a recent word borrowed from the English, such as betri for car battery, and shati for shirt. Kaya is Swahili for homestead.
Another example of recent borrowing is "supu". Obviously Swahili speakers had soup before European contact. The previously used word was (and is still commonly used) "mchuzi". It doesn't just mean "gravy".
Jamaa is not Bantu. It's an Arabic word. And I'd guess that Familia is from Portuguese rather than English - how else do you explain the "a" on the end? The Portuguese word is Família.