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私はローマに住んでいた時に子供でした。

I didn't understand "住んでいた時". I would like a explanation about this structure and a translation.

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    私はローマに住んでいた時に子供でした。 <- This sentence sounds a bit unnatural... (I'd rather say something like ローマに住んでいたとき、私はまだ子供でした or 私は、ローマに住んでいたとき(に)はまだ子供でした) Did you find it in your book/textbook? – Chocolate Sep 27 '16 at 0:30
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    Without は after 時に, it sounds like "It's when I lived in Rome that I was a child". – user4092 Sep 27 '16 at 11:25
  • Thank you for the answers, they helped me a lot! Your example sentences were very helpful, chocolate. – Dav7n Sep 27 '16 at 19:16
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私はローマに住んでいた時に子供でした。
When I was in Rome, I was a child.

とき(に) means "when ~". See this article.

As you can see in the link, とき here is just a noun that means "time". So once you have learned how to modify a noun (e.g., using an adjective or a relative clause), you can use various ways to say "when ~".

As pointed out in the comment section, this sentence is a bit unnatural because the main subject (私は) and the main predicate (子供でした) are far apart.

  • This is exactly what I needed, thank you for your answer, the link and your remarks, they are really useful! – Dav7n Sep 27 '16 at 18:52
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As others have pointed out, the sentence sounds weird. To answer your question:

住む is the verb "to live".

= > 住んで is the "te" form of the verb — a verb form used in many ways.

= > 住んでいる is the "te-iru" form of the verb. This means "living".

= > 住んでいた is the past tense of the "te-iru" form of the verb. This means "was living".

時 is simply "time".

Therefore 住んでいた時 means "the time when I was living".

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