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そこで、マッカーサーが自分で作って見たのが地図Aである。 https://www.docdroid.net/847v2dg/img-20170413-0001-new.pdf.html The sentence is from Line 5 in the above linked text.

the problem lies with のが. I don't really understand why it is there. I usually would expect the sentence to be like this: そこで、マッカーサーが自分で作って見た地図Aである => "Therefore, the map A is there, which McArthur tried to craft by himself." or "Therefore the McArthur tried to craft by himself map A is there" in a more literal way.

In this very chapter, my textbook taught me that a sentence element further determining another sentence element can be marked through both が and の, like here: 留学生 が/の 描いた絵を見ました。

But nowhere has it been said that both can be used at the same time xD So, apart from the fact that I really don't see why が or の have to be there at all, I understand even less why both of them are there...^^

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This type of sentence is called a cleft sentence. This の works as a placeholder just like "it" in English cleft sentences. This is a very common pattern. See the link for details and lots of similar examples (linked under "Related" section).

マッカーサーは地図Aを作ってみた。
McArthur tried making Map A.

マッカーサーが作ってみたのは地図Aである。
It is Map A that McArthur tried making.

マッカーサーが作ってみたの地図Aである。 (exhaustive-listing ga)
It is Map A (among others) that McArthur tried making.

  • Thanks a lot! Provided a superb explanation together with the link :) About の: Aside from it's function as a placeholder, it technically works as a nominalizer too, right? Otherwise I couldn't see how the preceding sentence element shall interact with は/が ^^ – Narktor Apr 14 '17 at 8:42
  • Yes の also works as a nomilanizer, but in this construction, の does not represent a preceding verb (="creating") itself. It represents anything that's focused and related to the verb. In this case, it represents not 作ってみる but 地図A. – naruto Apr 14 '17 at 8:50
  • @Narktor If you call it "norminalizer" or not depends on grammar theories. – user4092 Apr 14 '17 at 8:51
  • Can one say that the two parts/sides マッカーサーが作ってみたの (が) 地図Aである form a predicative construction then? what I mean becomes more clear when one replaces "it" with "the thing", although I don't know wether that's still legitimate or goes too far: "The thing (,that) McArthur tried making, is map A" This came to my mind when I reiterated on my translation of the full sentence and found that "Thereupon, the thing (that) McArthur tried making is Map A" sounds a bit better than "Thereupon, it is Map A (that) McArthur tried making." But my preferences might mean nothing here ^^ – Narktor Apr 14 '17 at 10:44
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This の is an "empty" noun - a noun in form and function but with no content/meaning. It is always modified by a sentence (of theoretically any length, from a single word up) and takes on the meaning of that modifying word or sentence. To put it another way it turns what modifies it into a noun, which can then serve as a subject, an object etc. Here, the sentence マッカーサーが自分で作って見た, "MacArthur tried making one himself" or "MacArthur made it himself as an experiment", becomes a noun, which can be rendered into English as "The thing MacArthur tried making himself", or "What MacArthur tried making himself". This noun phrase is marked with が as the subject of the verb である. The whole therefore means, in an over-literal translation, "What MacArthur tried making himself is Map A". In this sentence it is the first part that the writer regards as new information for the reader. The reader clearly knows there is a Map A because it is (presumably) there on the page, and the writer is supplying the new information that what this map represents is MacArthur's own effort at making a map of whatever-it-is. I would render this straightforwardly as "Map A represents MacArthur's own draft" or "MacArthur's own draft is shown as Map A".

Consider:

バスに乗る [Somebody] gets on a bus

バスに乗るのを見た I saw [somebody] get on a bus

きのう、駅の前で田中さんがバスに乗るのを見た I saw Tanaka-San get on a bus in front of the station yesterday

きのう、駅の前でむかし英語を習った田中先生がバスに乗るのを見た I saw my old English teacher Tanaka-San get on a bus in front of the station yesterday

And so on.

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    +1 but shouldn't it be written 作ってみた rather than 作って見た? – user3856370 Apr 13 '17 at 18:46
  • True, as it's an auxiliary, not a full verb. I stuck to the orthography in the question in order to avoid distracting attention from the salient point, but you're right - not a good decision. – Graham Healey Apr 13 '17 at 21:42
  • Not sure I quite get the point of Chocolate's edit. I presume it means "Tanaka-sense I, from whom I used to learn Em – Graham Healey Apr 14 '17 at 7:45
  • Sorry, sent accidentally. I presume it means "Tanaka-sense I, from whom I use to learn English". Is this an improvement on むかしの英語の先生の田中さん?(Genui – Graham Healey Apr 14 '17 at 7:48
  • That puzzles me too. Not quite sure how SE works, but don't you need to put @Chocolate in front of your comment? Your comments went to me. – user3856370 Apr 14 '17 at 9:00

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