I think "copine" can be interpreted as a friend who happens to be female.
I think "girlfriend" would be more appropriately be translated as "petite amie."
Part of the problem is that Americans will also say girlfriend to mean a buddy - especially between two women.
Right! I wrote, "She's my pal". Meaning a girl who is a buddy, not just and acquaintance or any old friend. Funny these subtleties. We get the sense, but sometimes doesn't translate well.
I think "copine" and "petite amie" can both mean "girlfriend". In fact if you click on "copine" in the exercise, "girlfriend" is given as one of the translations. But if you include "girlfriend" in your answer it is marked wrong. Strange, but Duolingo seems to be a work in progress!
It depends on what else you put as your answer or if they have changed it since, but I put "She is my girlfriend." and it is marked as correct.
Other translation option for copine include 'matey' and 'pally'. I just wrote this out so I could laugh at them again.
I reckon that must be a mistake in DL... mate or pal I can see as a substitute for copin/e in British English, but "matey" and "pally" don't mean the same at all...
I should probably clarify. Matey and Pally mean the same as each other - basically, friendly. "mate" and "matey" correspond to "friend" and "friendly", e.g. "He's quite matey with his boss".
You might sometimes use the word "matey" under certain circumstances, colloquially if addressing a friend - e.g. "Can you do this for me?" - "ok matey!", but you wouldn't just use it as a noun in a sentence like this.
So you couldn't use an expression like "she is my matey" or "she is my pally", as it would correspond to "she is my friendly".
Good point. You might also use matey if you are a pirate. But there's a whole language for pirates, so let's not go there :-)
Ah, so you wouldn't want to use an adjective as a noun. Yes, that's only good for slang; to my ears "matey" and "pally" do sound like nouns… like "sissy" for "sister". And it would sound odd to me to say, "Oh, he's real matey," like, "he's real friendly". But I'm not british/aussie. I get what you mean. :)
In British-English "sissy" is a derogatory term for a male who is camp/ has traditionally female hobbies/ is considered cowardly. "He's a sissy; he dances Ballroom and wears pink shirts and doesn't want to join the army". It is not at all acceptable to use. (I'm referring to myself by the way).
ah in my part of the USA (the West) and generation (over 50), "sissy" means what you are saying flint72, but it can also be used for girls and boys, meaning "cowardly" or "'fraidy cat"...however, the underlying theme is be rugged, not sensitive. In any case, it's mean.
Wow, late reply, but just want to affirm that the derogatory meaning of "sissy" is the first definition for me too, and I would think the whole English-speaking world, but among women I've heard it used occasionally as "sister" as well. In context the meaning is always clear.
there is a huge difference between friend and girlfriend, is it really usual to use copine for one or other and rely on context to differentiate?
I don't think it makes a difference at all, it's basically the same thing to say "she is my girlfriend" and "this is my girlfriend". Although in English in some cases it might sound slightly more awkward to use one than the other, you really could use each in any case and be correct.
"C'est" instead of "elle est", because it's followed by a possessive pronoun?
"Copine" is a noun and "ma" is a modifier. "Il est" cannot be followed by a modified noun; you must use "c'est". http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm
My Larousse directs me to "copain" for "copine" - "copain - friend, mate, boyfriend (girlfriend). Duolingo didn't accept "companion".
That is because "companion" is le compagnon or la compagne and doesn't quite carry the same meaning. Copain/copine are used informally to refer to a close friend: the masculine form may be interpreted as pal/buddy/made/chum/friend/boyfriend depending on what version of English you're using. The feminine form may be interpreted as friend or girlfriend. I don't know if women/girls refer to female friends as "pals", "buddies", "chums", or "mates". Use of the term only refers to a close relationship and is an informal term.
So how do you say "girlfriend" in French when referring to a romantic relationship?
"ma petite amie", also in Québec "ma blonde"
"ma copine" could be a close female friend or a girlfriend.
I would say that mate is an exclusively masculine and mostly british term if you want to mean friend - when used with a female, it reminds me of animal mating. US english.
In the Commonwealth countries, a female can be referred to as a man's "mate" as well (in the sense of a friend), but less commonly. Females will call each other "mate" as well sometimes.
Not in all commonwealth countries (and I'll admit i don't know about 50 of them). We don't use "mate" in Canada in this context either for men or women. a "mate" is a romantic life partner (not used commonly), you can find your "soul mate", you can have "class mates", but your friends are not mates, they're buddies or pals (the last used to be more common than it is now). ;)
« Amie » and « ami » mean friend (female and male forms), you would need « petite amie » to mean “girlfriend” and « petit ami » to mean “boyfriend.”