"No, I do not have a family."
This means that the speaker has no wife or children (forgot which one) yet if im not mistaken.
depends. は emphasizes that 'kazoku' is being talked about "About family, there isn't one". Where as が is more of a mention that "family isn't". i like to think that が is answering a silent question so think of it as being the response to "What don't you have?", with the answer being かぞくがいません。(I don't have a family) where as は is focusing more on the word family so more of a reply to "Where is your family/ Don't you have a family" and therefore かぞくはいません。(I don't have a family).
i should add, with は you could also have just been talking about things you do or dont have and so you are moving the conversation to "family" and thus use は to signify this.
I don't think so, as が indicates (by definition) the subject, and in this case かぞく isn't the subject at all, but only the thing which you're saying you don't have. So, for me, かぞく is the topic, which is indicated by は.
Why is いいえ、家族はありません not correct? It told me to replace the "a" in "arimasen" with an "o", but I've never heard of the word "orimasen".
The problem is with ありません. We do not use ありません with 家族. We use いません (treating a family as persons). おります is a humble variant of います, therefor you see the suggestion is おりません.
That's a weird one... I've never heard of おります before. I would think it would make more sense for Duo to just suggest いません as the solution when ありません is used by mistake.
Is おります/ません used commonly? Or is it less common, but still good to know?
Yes おります is a common expression when speaking to clients or bosses.
I think the algorithm of the correct answer suggestion is to find a correct answer in the word bank and provide the one with the least difference, in this case ありません=>おりません(1 difference) over いません(2 differences). I am not an engineer of Duolingo so I cannot tell if suggesting いません is possible or not.
You are thinking of ではありません. That is the negation of です. This example uses いません as the negation of います.
X (は/が) ありません = X doesn't exist
Y は X ではありません = Y isn't X
If the possitive form is で います(I think you haven't encountered this yet, で is a particle) then the negative form is で いません. However here the form is は います (は is a particle) so negative is は いません.
In my mind I didn't think you would need the (wa) at all in this instance? sorry I don't have the Japanese keyboard on this PC.
Wouldn't it just be "kazoku imasen"?
There's a big problem here. Despite the answer being "いいえ、かぞくはいません," "かぞく" isn't an option on the board. Are you guys having that problem too, or is it just me?