Isolate an approximation of the sound of the word to be learned. Romanize it and enter it into google images. Select an image that catches your eye and can be connected to the word.
I took the sound of the word to be something like pareen. Entering that into Google images produced a large number of images portraying French night club female performers. I selected one that was poster art showing a scantily clad performer posed as standing but with her upper part of her body leaning back, elbows and shoulders further back to emphasize the sexual nature of the stance. She is depicted looking off to one side with a enticing expression on her face.
So I take that image, use a two headed arrow to join it to a self created image of Brad Pitt wearing a T shirt with a big red ь on it, looking at her romantically.
The goal is to eliminate translating. I want the sound of pareen to connect directly to an image of a boyfriend. I especially want to avoid using words that don't actually have anything to do with boyfriend but with effort can be tortured into making some kind of connection.
Pareen = a poster showing a graphic of a very striking woman connecting to a responsive Brad Pitt. No words. Just the sound of Pareen and images joining the sound (Paris nightclubs) plus Russian H and the definition (girl connected to boy)
It is my job as a human to understand that boyfriend/girlfriend relationships have other dynamics in addition to those kinds of connections. The images are there to lead me in the right direction not supplement understanding.
This process usually takes about thirty seconds. Paired up with other mnemonic processes the word/image connection lasts forever. Most importantly, there is no translation required. You know what the word means in Russian, not what it means in English.
Needless to say other people will find better images in the sense they work for them better than the ones that work for me. My goal is always to avoid overthinking it. If it works, it works. I don't care if it makes some sort of sense or if other people would understand the image or the connection.
In German, the whole issue of remembering gender has disappeared for me.
Both Duo and Forvo disagree with your suggestion that парень sounds like pine.
The English language is full of mnemonic aids. You have used them yourself. Acronyms, rhymes like thirty days hath September..... etc. What you are really saying is that mnemonic aids that you aren't familiar with already are useless. And you are correct. For you, they are useless if you believe that.
Yes, it is very common for "парень" to be translated as "boyfriend". Especially if you say "мой парень". Because, would it really make sense to say something like "my dude" in English? If it's written as just "парень", then it could mean both "dude" or "boyfriend " unless there's context involved that makes one or the other a wrong translation. And if there's a possessive pronoun involved, then "парень" should be translated as "boyfriend".
English does have a pronoun for trans girls. It's she. Source: me, a trans girl
You probably mean for non-binary people who aren't girls or boys, in which case, they use the plural in an attempt to emulate the English "they" (which can be both singular and plural, and is always gender-neutral), but it's clumsy and unpractical. There's no official way to refer to them. Source: my girlfriend who's Russian and knows all the lgbt people in Saint-Petersburg some of whom are non-binary.
Correct, "парень" is a colloquial word for "young man". It works similar to "man"/"my man". But I suggest actually saying "man"(мужчина) in this context if you don't want to sound juvenile. Or you could say "partner"(партнер/партнерша), though it's less common and more ambiguous.
Since when has the word 'парень' been an acceptable translation for a 'boyfriend', when Google refers to 'парень' as a 'guy'? Just for everyone's future reference, a much more accurate, and potentially safer word for "Boyfriend' is, in-fact 'дружок', and a girlfriend for that matter is 'Подруга': Both of which are derived from the root word for friend, 'Друг'.
I am beginning to get the feeling that Duolingo is the 21st century equivalent of Monty Python's Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook, and not to be trusted entirely when engaging in authentic Russian conversation.
Wiktionary clearly disagrees:
A "дружок" seems to be a friend, a "boy friend" (with a space), but not a "boyfriend", which is a different idea. The thing is that there is no Russian word which means precisely "boyfriend" (see how other comments mention young people using "бойфренд" on the internet), and instead the idea of "boyfriend" is expressed by saying "my man" / "my lad" / "my guy" , etc. Similarly there is no specific term for "girlfriend", and instead "my woman" / "my girl" is used.
Similarly, "подруга" means "female friend", which is very different from girlfriend.
Support the fact that, apart from the other meanings, "парень" and "девушка" are used for "boyfriend" and "girlfriend".