Perhaps it would be better to add "head of the household" as a selectable option since "paterfamilias" will be an unfamiliar term for most English speakers. While the term "paterfamilias" may be more nuanced, "head of the household" or something similar will build better foundational intuition for new learners.
Although it loses a bit in translation, if you're translating it as head of the house, it could easily be the mother, as my mother was the head of the house growing up. Paterfamilias translates as "father of the family" and I find it funny that my mother was the father of the house. Aah, the joys of language!
Mater paterfamilias est.
Yes, especially as the word literally means “father of the family”. “familias” uses the old genitive, where the Classical genitive is “familiae”. “familia” in this expression would most naturally mean the extended family.
cabeza derives eventually from caput, “head”. It’s less sexist than pater or mater, although of course still very “archal” (just not patriarchal or matriarchal). Paterfamilias, however, refers specifically to a male, and is a great help to those attempting to understand the ancient Romans and classical texts. Those just learning to communicate with fellow moderns in Latin may not find this distinction so necessary. It’s up to each individual to decide how to use this Latin course, which hasn’t made it clear what sort of Latin we are supposed to be learning.
People will have many different reasons for learning Latin. Understanding the dynamics of Roman relationships may not be one of them, but if you do want to understand the dynamics of a roman household, then leaving the maleness in the title is valid. Just leave it as paterfamilias in English. I don't hold with the view that "most English speakers don't understand the (English) word paterfamilias". That's what dictionaries are for. How else can the little blisters expand their vocabulary?
Although it might just be the English coming out of me, this sentence doesn't sound right. It doesn't sound like it would ever be said. Instead, you might say, "The head of the house is kind." And the specific head of the house you are talking about would be implied. But, I can not imagine anyone ever saying, "That head of the house is kind." Am I completely and helplessly English, or does this make sense?
Think of the ambiguities in Classical Latin - ILLEPATERFAMILIASESTBENIGNVSPSITTACUSCANTAT That man is a paterfamilias. The kind parrot sings. ILLEPATERFAMILIASBENIGNVSESTPSITTACUSCANTAT That paterfamilias is kind. The parrot sings. In Mediaeval Latin the position of the verb is more flexible since word spacing and punctuation reduce the potential for ambiguity.
I had to write down this sentence in Latin after hearing it, and I typed "illae paterfamilias est benignus", which, if I'm not mistaken, would be translated as "her head of the house is kind". It did not mark it as wrong, but the translation given was "That head of the house is kind", which does not apply to the Latin spelling I chose after hearing the phrase. Could this be sorted out?
No, "illae" is not a genitive form. And like all modifiers, it agrees with the thing, not whose it is.
The correction algorithm allows one wrong letter per word, and "illae" is one letter off from "ille".
The Latin sentence here is "Ille paterfamilias ("That head of the house"). Duo must have accepted your "illae" as a typo, but usually it will tell you you have a typo and show you the correct answer with the corrected part underlined. So you may have missed that, or Duo just isn't doing a good job of informing you. Either way, you can see the Latin sentence at the top of this page, which has "Ille."
I just listened. The one audio is ille with a long e, the other ille with a short e. Both are distinctly not an a sound.
Part of learning a new language is learning to hear the new sounds. The e in Latin can often sounds like the English letter A to English speakers.
(Edited for clarity)