Translation:I saw my girlfriend last weekend.
I'm not clear on how we know from this sentence that 'I saw MY girlfriend last weekend' as opposed to simply 'I saw A girlfriend last weekend.'
Saying “girlfriend” only makes sense in the context of a relation with somebody else. Otherwise it would be just a “woman” or a “girl” (similar to how the word “mother” only makes sense in relation to a child). So actually I can’t imagine any situation where I would say “I saw a girlfriend” without mention of whose girlfriend it is. But that other person is not stated here, so we have to infer it from context. And that defaults to the speaker themselves being that other person (compare English: “I saw mom today”. You infer from context that it’s “my mom”).
The only other possibility I can think of is if there is a context where the speaker is already talking about a certain couple but doesn’t refer to them by name. Then they might say the above sentence and mean “I saw the girlfriend [i.e. the one I have been talking about]”. But outside of such special contexts, my interpretation would be that the speaker is talking about their girlfriend.
I wouldn't say that is a special context, for me it is the first thing that comes to mind: "Does your friend have a girlfriend now?" - "Yes, I met the girlfriend last weekend."
In Chinese, 男朋友 and 女朋友 usually means the beloved ones.
You can also say 女性 朋友 (nǚ xìng + péng you) for female friends.
Or add the quantifier 位 before 女朋友, i.e. 一位女朋友 (a female friend), in the case that everyone usually has at most one lover. And better 一位女性朋友.
"Last weekend I met my girlfriend." is a correct solution for this sentence! It is a problem that now arbitrally the Duolingo accepts or "saw" or "meet" for "ren", but both are correct ...
I agree. In fact when you move the cursor to check the meaning of jian, the 1st definition is meet, 2nd definition is see. But the 1st meaning is wrong?
Think of it this way: "jian" in "zai jian" is like saying "see you later." See would be "jian" in this case, and zai jian is a very common term, so I think that see should be the first definition.
I was a little confused on the use of 了 as it came up as a new character for me. In reading up on what a perfective does to a verb I'm still a little hazy, but it seems to modify the verb 见 to indicate that it happened in the past. Is that correct?
You are close. "了" indicates completion of an action, or aspect, but not tense. It can be used to talk about action that will happen in the future, too. For example, "你到了告诉我" meaning "tell me when you have arrived." In this sentence, "了" talks about an future action.
Yep! Can modify any verb to mean it has been completed. Not technically a tense though.
'le' is used indicate that an action has been completed. So yes you are correct. (Apologies for using roman script, I don't have the Chinese keyboard set up)
I think "le" is a past tense particle, so yeah, it does make "jian" saw instead of see.
obviously the person is talking about his girlfriend， if he was talking about someone else's girlfriend he would've said：我上个周末见了他的女朋友 - I saw his girlfriend (or 他女朋友，both are correct)
It is not necessary, just like you would say 'I saw mom yesterday', you would refer to that it's 'my mom'
I'm confused as to why '了' would be needed when other sentences in Chinese seem to do just fine without tense indicators. Can you (for example) explain the difference between the exercise's use of 了 and: 昨天我去医院 Doesn't "yesterday" imply past tense?
Without "me" it'd only say I see my girlfriend last weekend. So to indicate that an action (in this case 'seeing my girlfriend') completed and therefore in past tense, you've got to add "le". Hope this helps!
Is there a way to know that the sentence does not mean "I saw my girlfriends last weekend."?
Yes, there is. If you wanted to say girlfriends, it would mostly be 女朋友们。 The 'men' makes the singular word plural.
I did a pretty funny mistake, I wrote :
"I saw my grilfriend last week-end"
Is a girlfriend also a gril-friend ?
上个 is last, and 下个 is next. Something I'm not sure of though, is that it seems once combined with time periods instead of days/dates "last year" is 去年， and next year 明年 - but this interpretation breaks down. Some advice on this would be nice.