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I have a hard time understanding the use of でわかる. I'm guessing that it doesn't just simply mean that "something is understood". Instead I wonder if it means that "something was realized"? I read the following sentence:

京都大学大学院薬学研究科の男性教授が、新薬の研究開発に絡む物品購入などで不正な会計処理をしていた疑いがあることが大学関係者の話で分かった

Would it be correct to say that "this situation was realized due to the person's story"?

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@Hyperworm: Thanks for the edit. I should have known to try using basic tags. –  Chris Harris Jun 28 '12 at 19:19

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Both of your guesses are wrong. You don't have to interpret it as passive. The experiencer (subject) is implicit. means "by" or "from".

(We) came to understand from ... that ...

分かる means "come to understand". Be careful that it does not mean "understand", which is expressed by the perfect form 分かっている.

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Be careful that it does not mean "understand" Really? Because I've seen わかった translated as "understood" or even "I understand". So are you just giving us the literal definition or the colloquial, everyday definition? –  dotnetN00b Jun 28 '12 at 22:55
    
@dotnetN00b 分かった does not mean "understood" or "understand". It means "came to understand". In some contexts, the difference may not outstand, but if the translation is replaced, then that is not accurate. –  sawa Jun 29 '12 at 2:25
    
@dotnetN00b In English, you can say "I understand", but what you really mean is "I came to understand, so that as a result, I now understand". Since English does not have a simple expression for "come to understand", people just say "understand", but in Japanese, you can directly say "分かった", and that is why you see difference in the translation. –  sawa Jun 29 '12 at 2:34
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It seems to me that you are claiming that わかる is a 瞬間動詞, and I agree with you in the case of the example in the question. But I do not think that it is always the case. For example, in a sentence あなたはフランス語がわかりますか, わかる describes a state, not the change of the state, and the change of the state is described as something like わかるようになる. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 29 '12 at 5:13
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@TsuyoshiIto I think that expression is short for もし私がフランス語(の文)を話せばあなたはそれが分かりますか, where the sentence to be understood is not pronounced yet, and the listener needs to "come to understand" the sentence after it is pronounced. If you purely wanted to ask whether the person knows French, I would say フランス語を知っていますか. –  sawa Jun 29 '12 at 5:31

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