Doesn't "nyumbani" mean home, and "nyumba" mean house?
Yes. The "-ni" suffix indicates a locative, as in "in the house". So basically, a house that you are in or walk to is a home :)
This seems to have a particular meaning... Is it a common distinction between "inside" and "outside" chairs?
nyumba means - home. house. Nyumbani means - at home, in the house, on the house etc. because " -ni" it is locative form.
nyubani is home, nyumba is house, that's what you taught me....so what's the deal?