Translation:He said that we had lost a friend.
"that" is optional in English (unlike Spanish) so "He said we had lost a friend." should be fine.
True, but the word "that" often clarifies meaning in sentences like this.
Correct, "that" is frequently optional in English as a conjunction, but sometimes it is certainly required as in, That book is high up on the shelf. Just a reminder. In this lesson, "...that we had..." it is optional, but be careful, "that" is not always optional in English. :)
Why don't we use a personal "A" in this example? Why is it "el dijo que habiamos perdido un amigo" en vez de "el dijo que habiamos perdido a un amigo?"
"un amigo" is not specific enough for the personal a, so it is not used in this sentence. In a different sentence, "a el amigo" would work or "a Pablo". http://spanish.about.com/od/prepositions/a/not_personal_a.htm
Because it's not correct English. "Told" requires a personal object, that is to say, someone to tell. "He told me that we had lost a friend." But this still might not be accepted since the "me" element is not in the original Spanish.
I agree that it is not correct British or American English. However, 'told' is commonly used in this context in Indian English.
If someone knows: The speaker 'habíamos' (accent on I) pronounce as 'habiámos'. Accent is moved one syllable forward. Is it correct?