Translation:She likes him as a personal friend.
I think this would really only make sense in a corporate environment. I think stating that someone has a "personal friend" would distinguish the relationship from a "work friend", or "colleague", where the friendship only exists at work. Also, the phrase "close personal friend" is fairly common in English.
For example, my coworkers are all friends of mine, but the few that I see outside of work frequently are more of personal friends.
As a native English speaker, it doesn't sound awkward. Instead, it sounds like someone trying to draw attention to just how much of a friend the person is and how proud they are of the relationship. For example, "I know the mayor. He's a personal friend."
I'm not sure I've ever trusted a person who uses the term "personal friend" on a regular basis.
Okay, I'll try, but I'll probably not cover the whole of it, and might be incorrect in some parts.
The difference in german is basically that als is used in comparisons with the comparative degree is used:
Dieser Winter ist kälter als der [Winter] letztes Jahr (this winter is colder than the one [/winter] last year)
while wie is used, the comparison describes an equality:
Dieser Winter ist genau so kalt wie der [Winter] letztes Jahr (this winter is as cold as the one [/winter] last year)
This is the part where accents quite often use it "wrong".
Now, having understood this, the thing is that this sentence doesn't really match any of these cases. In this case the als is used to describe, in what form you like the previously named subject. Here:
Sie mag ihn als einen persöhnlichen Freund
So, she likes him in the form of a personal friend (which sounds ugly, but kinda gets the point). another example would be
Ich bevorzuge Bücher als eBook (I prefer books as ebook)
which could be rewritten as Ich bevorzuge Bücher in eBook/digitaler Form (I prefer books in ebook/digital form).
This case is always translated to english using only the word as.
So, summarised, I guess a general rule would be something like:
- than -- als (comparative)
- as much as -- wie (positive)
- as - als (detailing)
Native speaker - At least where I live (California, land of overused "like"), I say that "as" is certainly used in this situation. One can use a tool AS a weapon or like someone AS a friend, but "like"(nonverb) is used for declaring similarity or a simile.
Declaring similarity: That tool is LIKE (similar to) a weapon.
Simile: Batman, LIKE a shadow in the night, foiled the Joker's evil plot.
The difference between a declaring similarity sentence and simile is slight and unimportant, however. They are different constructions of the same idea. In California, I often hear things LIKE " OMG he is like, so like, cute <3" It makes your sentences undecisive/wishy-washy. Don't cause this annoyance to the community. :)
I agree with you. The long form of the sentence (as I came to understand from elsewhere) would be:
Sie mag ihn als (sie mag) einen personlichen Freund.
As mentioned in the link given before: "Comparisons are in their essence always comparisons of activities. In other words, the words that "manage" the comparison coordinate verbs. In German, these words are (mainly) "wie" and "als" and they function as subordinating conjunctions. Only that the clause they introduce is stripped off the verb because it would be super redundant."
I am not a native but from what I have heard it would sound more like lover or boyfriend if it was simply put as "als einen Freund"
In other words Freund can stand for boyfriend if you don't put some effort in betterly explaining what kind of friend u are talking about.
I've heard from native speakers that "als einen Freund" is the sort of sentence you'd get when someone has gone out of their way to explain that he's not her boyfriend - e.g. "er ist mein Freund" vs "er ist einen Freund von mir."
Generally, "mein Freund" will be understood as "my boyfriend" (if you're a woman or a man known to date men), while "ein[en?] Freund von mir" will be understood as "my friend" (literally "a friend of mine", obviously) — as far as I can tell, that makes this sentence far likelier to mean "friend" than "boyfriend". See this video for an explanation.