"My boyfriend loves cats."
You drop the 'de' when the relationship is close like family and good friends.
Yes, I remember 朋友 as two people 朋 holding hands. This indicates friendship in my opinion. Some of these characters have a visual meaning to it that help me, and yes, 男 means boy. I don't have a reasonable answer for that, but I do know that if you learn Korean, 'nam' (남), means boy, which sounds similar to 'nan' (男). However, 'nam' is an adaption to 'nan'.
The 男 has radicals for 'field' and 'blade/knife', which is pretty manly. That's how I remember that.
Using 的 with close relationships is not only optional, but also very unnatural.
Maybe she is not close with her boyfriend...
jk, thanks for the info, I was taught it didn't matter, but my teacher was probably just trying to make things easier.
How does one tell if they are talking about one or several cats? Whats the plural indicator?
You have similar sentences in English. For example, the giant panda was endangered. You don't need 's' to imply "every giant panda" or "the giant panda as a species"
There are ways to say "many dogs" "these dogs" or "all dogs" if you want to emphasize it's plural.
After all, the only good in plural/singular markers is that you can indicate if there are only one thing or more than one thing. You can't separate between two things or more than two things, which would be nice in case of shoes, for example.
Also, you usually can't apply plural to uncountable objects like air or water even in English, but you can count a glass of water or three glasses of water in both languages. In Chinese the plurality is just irrelevant until you know how many. You can always put emphasis on singularity by adding yi2 ge4 (or whatever the proper measure word may be) if you think it is necessary.
For all Korean speakers, an easy way to remember 'boyfriend' is to remember that the first character sounds like 남 as in boy. The most reasonable reason is probably because 男 originated in China, and 남 is just an adjustment or an adaption to the original word, as I'm guessing. The character 朋 can be visualized as two people holding hands, which is what friends do.
Yes, 남자 is a Sino-Korean word, so it literally came from Chinese. 남자 is 男子 in Hanja.