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だった for discovery?

zuotengdazuo

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廃ビルの中はひっそりと薄暗く、じっとりと湿った空気に満ちていた。あちこちの穴から日光が筋になって射し込み、床や壁に明暗の複雑な模様を作っている。僕は屋上を目指し、内階段を駆け上がっていく。何階か昇ったところでしかし、踊り場の天井が崩れて階段を塞いでいた。内階段からはそれ以上は昇れず、僕は非常階段に出ようと、その階の部屋に飛び込んだ。
その時だった
「帆高!」
目の前に、大きな人影があった。こちらに近づいてくる。光の筋にその顔が照らされる。
「ーー須賀さん?」
それは須賀さんだった。須賀さんは僕を睨む。
「探したぜ、帆高」

Hi. Are both だったs in red used for discovery? For example,
プレゼントは指ゆび輪わ(だった / でした)。
[I’ve noticed] the present is a ring.

If not, how should I understand the だったs?
Thank you.
 

Toritoribe

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Hmm, I don't think だった has such a specific meaning. It seems to me that that's usual だ/だった for description.
 

zuotengdazuo

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Hmm, I don't think だった has such a specific meaning. It seems to me that that's usual だ/だった for description.
Thank you, toritoribe-san.
I learned that だった had such a function in this site:

It kind of explains why the second だった is used if the protagonist looked at 須賀さん for some time before recognizing him (?). According to the explanation in that site, we can’t use だった if you notice something at the first sight.
But I’ve come across many examples where だった is used when the speaker notices something at the first sight, which seems to break this rule.
For instance, その時だった。and 目を開くと、そこは濃紺の空だった。
If these だったs are just for description, then what is the difference between だ and だった? だった is more past than だ?
 

Toritoribe

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There is no problem with その時だ. It's the same as other "present form vs. past form". However, それは須賀さんだ doesn't work well, probably because それは shows that the subject already recognized the person (the past form is used because the action is completed).
 

zuotengdazuo

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However, それは須賀さんだ doesn't work well, probably because それは shows that the subject already recognized the person (the past form is used because the action is completed).
Thank you. Sorry I got a bit confused. The version それは須賀さんだ shows that the action of the subject’s recognizing 須賀さん is not completed? Or do you mean それは須賀さんだ means the subject immediately recognized 須賀さん while それは須賀さんだった means it takes some time before the subject recognized 須賀さん?
And in 目を開くと、そこは濃紺の空だった。we have to use だった because of それは?
 

zuotengdazuo

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Hi. I have just read an explanation in another forum. According to it, if a sentence is written from the author's perspective, we use past tense/form to "move the story forward"; if the sentence is written from the perspective of a character in the story, we use present tense/form to “describe the current scene vividly". Does it make sense?
But this explanation still doesn’t allow for cases where only one of the two form works well (rather than either form work well, as in それは須賀さんだった/??だ。)
 

Toritoribe

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It might be better to say 「ーー須賀さん?」 and それは show it. There is no problem with;

目の前に、大きな人影があった。こちらに近づいてくる。光の筋にその顔が照らされる。
須賀さんだ。須賀さんは僕を睨む。.

The writer wrote it in the character's viewpoint in the whole paragraph, or maybe in the whole novel. 僕は clearly shows it.
 

zuotengdazuo

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Thank you again. So do you suggest that その〜/それ〜/そこ〜 often requires/signals the past form?
 

bentenmusume

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I think you're reading a bit too much in this, or trying to extrapolate a rule a bit too far.

In this particular instance, as Toritoribe-san pointed out, the それは signals that the recognition on the part of the speaker has already occurred, hence だった being natural here.

There is nothing about その/それ/そこ that universally requires them to take the past (technically, perfect) tense.

その洋服、似合ってるよ。
それはそうでしょう。
そこには壁があります。

...and so on, and so forth. There is nothing about sentences like these in a vacuum that require the past (perfect) tense simply because of the presence of その/それ/そこ.
 

zuotengdazuo

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Thank you, benten-san.
So the だった in それは須賀さんだった。is different from the following だったs, right?

目を開くと、そこは濃紺の空だった。青はどこまでも濃く、もはや黒に近かった
……
目覚めたまま夢を見ているような奇妙な感覚だった
These three だったs are just past tense?
 

bentenmusume

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I'm still not entirely sure why you're finding a need to distinguish between these as "different" だったs.

だった is the past (technically, perfect) tense of the copula だ. The specific nuance the perfect tense might have, or why the author may choose to write in the perfect tense may vary slightly based on the context, but they all carry a sense of completion and, by definition, are the same だった. (Note that one of your examples isn't even a だった, but rather the perfect of the -い adjective 近い. But again, the nuance is the same.)
 

zuotengdazuo

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Thank you again. Sorry I misunderstood you. You say only だった is natural in それは須賀さんだった。but not say only だった is natural in other cases, so I think それは須賀さんだった。is special.
 

bentenmusume

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Toritoribe-san initially pointed that out, not me. I was simply reiterating what he said.

The point is (I hope I'm not putting words in Toritoribe-san's mouth, but I trust that he'll correct me if I'm misinterpreting his explanation) that in that particular context (not always or universally) the それは suggests that the realization has already happened in the speaker's mind, which leads naturally to the perfect tense だった, showing that the realization is complete.

It doesn't mean that this is a "special" だった that somehow functions in a different way from other instances of it. It's still the perfective copula. Toritoribe-san was explaining why it is natural to find the perfect だった here, not implying that somehow this is a special use of it.
 

Toritoribe

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Yes, bentenmusume-san explained completely exactly what I wanted to say. I have nothing to add.:)
 

zuotengdazuo

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Thank you both for your explanations.
だった is the past (technically, perfect) tense of the copula だ. The specific nuance the perfect tense might have, or why the author may choose to write in the perfect tense may vary slightly based on the context, but they all carry a sense of completion and, by definition, are the same だった. (Note that one of your examples isn't even a だった, but rather the perfect of the -い adjective 近い. But again, the nuance is the same.)
So this means all だった or かった at the end of a sentence in the narrative in a novel are just perfect tense with the same nuance and there is no exception, right? (I know だった can have a different function if it appears in the subordinate clause)
 

bentenmusume

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No, we didn't say "with the same nuance." Please look again at the exact section of my post that you quoted. The nuance and why specifically the writer might use the perfect tense can differ slightly depending on the situation, as both Toritoribe-san and I already explained, but that does not mean that these are somehow "different functions" of だった that need to be understood in a completely different way. If you understand the basic function of the perfect to express an action or process being completed, you should be able to process these in some way.

I'm honestly a bit mystified why you feel the need to over-complicate this, and can only imagine that you're still associating だった/かった with the past tense as it functions in English rather than the perfect as it functions in Japanese. If you are able to grasp the latter, there really should be no need to think of these as "different functions" of だった (I don't know what you mean about it having a "different function" in subordinate clauses either. It's still the perfect tense.)
 

zuotengdazuo

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Thanks for the response.
but that does not mean that these are somehow "different functions" of だった that need to be understood in a completely different way
I'm honestly a bit mystified why you feel the need to over-complicate this,
Why do you think I try to over-complicate it? :eek:You’ve wronged me. I over-simplified it, not the reverse. That’s why I said, though mistakenly, they had the same nuance, because I don’t want to differentiate between them. I should have said all だった or かった have same function of expressing an action or process being completed, not they all have the same nuance. Hope you can understand me now.:)
But again, the nuance is the same.)
I may be misled by this this.
 

bentenmusume

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I apologize if I misspoke. Perhaps rather than "over-complicate", I should have said "over-analyze."

Sometimes it strikes me that you are obsessing over very minute details in nuance and interpreting them if as if they are completely different things, or going the opposite way and trying to come up with an overarching, one-size-fits-all rule. Neither is really the right approach in analyzing Japanese (or any language, I would imagine). You want to be able to understand the fundamental role of a grammatical structure, but also stay mentally flexible enough to allow yourself to understand how it might carry different nuances in different situations. You seem to be doing that with だった, now, so all's well that ends well. ;)

(Though I am still a bit curious what you meant when you said that "だった can have a different function if it appears in a subordinate clause"...)
 

zuotengdazuo

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Sometimes it strikes me that you are obsessing over very minute details in nuance and interpreting them if as if they are completely different things, or going the opposite way and trying to come up with an overarching, one-size-fits-all rule. Neither is really the right approach in analyzing Japanese (or any language, I would imagine). You want to be able to understand the fundamental role of a grammatical structure, but also stay mentally flexible enough to allow yourself to understand how it might carry different nuances in different situations. You seem to be doing that with だった, now, so all's well that ends well. ;)
I know neither is the right way of analyzing language. I realized that when I studied English as my first foreign language. I do focus on very minute details. But if I give you the impression of treating them as if they are completely different things, that may be because I don’t know if they are somehow related or may be because I misunderstand/misrepresent your ideas. Likewise, I don’t really want to over-generalize a grammar phenomenon. I just try to rephrase your idea in my own words so that you can check it because I don’t think I have completely understood your ideas in this thread (i.e. I previously think it’s you who are giving me a one-size-fits-all rule in post #11 because you say they all are the same だったs by definition and carry the same sense of completion. I’m a bit surprised at that so I rephrase this idea in the following posts. Maybe my ability to understand is low or I have confused “sense/function” with “nuance”. Sorry.)
(Though I am still a bit curious what you meant when you said that "だった can have a different function if it appears in a subordinate clause"...)
I will show you two examples.
1. 先生は確か柊しずかさんのファンだったはずでは?
2. すこし前まではかちかちと肌を叩くような冷たさだった潮風が、いつのまにか柔らかな温度を帯びていた。
Are the above two だったs different from those in the previous posts?
 
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