Translation:Do you have a family?
Japanese is a less self-revolving language than English; if a subject is omitted, it's a lot more likely that the sentence is referring to someone other than the speaker. When asking this question about themselves, they would probably use a different kind of sentence or make it clear that they are the subject.
AFAIK, after death, people don't stop being family members. So everybody has a family. This question sounds SO weird to my ears. But people around here ask this too. Generally they want to talk about the other people family and start asking this, even having an obvious answer of "Yes, I wasn't born out of a cabagge (wild cabagge, without a farmer)".
Just testing my understanding of particles, but since we don't yet know whether or not the family exists, wouldn't "kazoku GA imasuka" be a better way to ask the question? I can see how once its existence has been confirmed that asking something like "kazoku HA nannin desuka" would make sense.
What's the kanji for that definition of いる? I'm not seeing that as a definition in the Japanese dictionary I'm using, and everything I've seen so far ありる means "to be."
edit: learning is a process. Turns out the verb isn't ありる, it is ある. Because I started learning Japanese wrong, I thought there was such a thing as "る verbs," and got the conjugation wrong. (short rant: why would Japanese be different from every other language? Every other language has regular verbs, irregular verbs, and others. So anyone who also started learning it wrong: "う verbs" are regular verbs; する and くる are irregular verbs; and いる/える verbs are the others. For a full explanation on verb conjugation, see Japanese from Zero! video series, video 35).
ある is for non-living, and いる is for living. Both indicate existence. ある is a regular verb, and いる is an いる verb. So if I wanted to warn you about a fox near you, I would say そこはきつねにいます。"There is a fox near you." If I wanted to warn you about a zombie fox, I would say そこはゾンビのきつねにあります。"There is a zombie fox near you."
は is the topic marker. が is the subject marker. They are not interchangeable. A fairly literal translation of this would be "Your family, they exist?" 'Your' and 'they' would be understood from context. Also 'they' would be the subject. Literal translations don't always work between languages.
I think it's because you used the first person (singular). "Do I have any family" is a weird thing to say (I mean you could, but...) because it's expected that you'd say it to another person. So I think it tried to give you the closest suggestion to your answer, using the first person (plural) - we
I know that's kinda weird logic but it's sort of how the system works on here :)
That is the first time I have ever seen a possesive "have" contractionalized. I think I've heard it on British TV shows though, so maybe it is part of Her Majesty's English. I suppose you could use that to ask if an orphan has any relatives. Or ask, in a conversation about somone else, if they have anyone they could stay with. No natives have specified whether this is a common phrase or has a contextual meaning other than the literal translation yet.
Ok so, I can't speak for every English-speaking region etc etc, but generally...
You can contract have to 've in a few (informal) situations:
auxiliary have (where it's not the main verb)
have got - "you've got mail!"
perfect tense - "we've been here before", "I'd almost given up when the phone rang"
have (possession) (much more informal but you sometimes hear it)
present tense - "I've a test today!"
(if you do it with other tenses it sounds like you're using the perfect tense instead of possession, confusing!)
have to (obligation) (also very informal and regional, feels like it's only used for the present tense and for I, you, we and they)
Those are sort of in order of how likely you are to hear them. They're not really rules, it's more that it feels awkward to use a contraction in most situations - generally you always express the verb, unless it's be. It feels fine for auxiliary verbs though, because they're not the main verb - it's just informal.
The really important thing to notice is those are all positive statements. Doing it in questions (like the "do you have a family" one) or negative statements sounds really, really strange, and the person you're talking to might take a moment to work out what you're trying to say. It sounds like you're throwing the perfect tense into the sentence out of nowhere
(Questions that are a statement with a ? are fine though, like "you've got mail?")