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Question he was truly seeing a multicultural country

hirashin

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Hello, native English speakers,
I have a question about the usage of "see" in the last sentence.
What does it mean? Is this text written in natural English?

Takuya, Jane, and Daniel were cycling along a beautiful seaside path in Stanley Park. Cyclists, in-line skaters, and joggers were all enjoying themselves.
Takuya thought that many of them were probably tourists because they seemed to be from different countries. However, Jane said, “You can’t tell whether they are Canadians or not just by their looks.”
Daniel said to Takuya, “Canada is a very multicultural country. There are immigrants from many different places and people from different indigenous groups too. For example, our family’s ancestors came from England, but First Nations peoples were living here long before Europeans came. Inuit and Metis peoples also have their own cultures.”
In Stanley Park, Takuya felt he was truly seeing a multicultural country.

Hirashin
 

mdchachi

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Yes it’s natural English.

Merriam-Webster's definition of "see"
Definition of SEE

I think 2a or 2d is the meaning here.To understand or recognize something
 

hirashin

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Thanks, mdchachi. Then does "Takuya felt he was truly seeing a multicultural country" mean " Takuya felt he was truly understanding a multicultural country"? I had thought this "see" could be replaced by "experience".
 

Michael2

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I think you are over-thinking this Hirashin. It's just the simple idea of "see", plus all the other ideas that are connected with it, like experience, realise, understand, etc. Takuya literally sees lots of different races and cultures, and understands/realises this is a true example of a multi-cultural society.
 

hirashin

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I thought that if this "see" were a usual one, it couldn't be the "-ing" form. Can you say, "I'm seeing a tall building now" or something? Don't you say, "I (can) see a tall building now" instead?
 

mdchachi

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I thought that if this "see" were a usual one, it couldn't be the "-ing" form. Can you say, "I'm seeing a tall building now" or something? Don't you say, "I (can) see a tall building now" instead?
It’s unusual but I’m not sure if it’s wrong. There’s a discussion about this here.
 

Michael2

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I thought that if this "see" were a usual one, it couldn't be the "-ing" form. Can you say, "I'm seeing a tall building now" or something? Don't you say, "I (can) see a tall building now" instead?
Ah right, it's more of a grammatical issue. Yes, as mdchachi said it's not really wrong. Just like any verb in the -ing form the meaning is one of an incomplete or continuous action. Of course "see" is usually a state, of passive inaction, but sometimes it is something continuous you are witnessing, like I might say about my students, "I'm seeing large improvements in Takashi's writing", or "I'm not seeing much evidence of editing in your work". It's probably becoming more common recently.
 
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