1

What is the implied meaning of using the past tense だった before ように?

This is an example sentence in the 完全マスターN3 grammar book:

母親が明るい人だったように、その娘たちも性格が明るい。

My attempt at translation is:

Those girls have a bright personality like their mother did when she was young.

Since it's in the past tense I assume it is talking about when their mother was a girl.

If it was talking about their mother's personality now, I would say something like:

その娘たちは母親のように性格が明るい。

Is this a correct interpretation of the implied meaning of the two sentences?

2

母親が明るい人だったように、その娘たちも性格が明るい。

This sentence probably implies their mother is a deceased person.

Technically speaking, it could mean their mother is alive but has grown to be a non-cheerful person, but I wouldn't say that's the common interpretation.

  • This is actually what I originally thought! But I figured the implication that their mother was dead seemed very specific to use as an example sentence in a grammar book. – landonepps Jun 8 '17 at 8:06
0

Both of your translations are perfect!

  • Thanks, I was worried there might be an implication that the mother died or is no longer cheerful. – landonepps Jun 8 '17 at 6:46
  • @landonepps: By the way, I have a question. I'm a native Japanese. As for your first attempt, you translated "娘たち" into girls, not into daughters. Is it natural or something to do so in English in this context? – mackygoo Jun 8 '17 at 6:54
  • @landonepps: You said that the given sentence is from the 完全マスターN3 grammar book. I searched for N3 level on the Internet, and I found that the level is Intermediate Level: The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations to a certain degree. So, I answered your attempts perfect. But in Naruto's answer I noticed there is something relating the N2 or N1 Level : The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations, and in a variety of circumstances to a certain degree. <to be continued> – mackygoo Jun 8 '17 at 7:28
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    @landonepps: If you want an answer of higher level than N3, your first attempt should be like Those girls have a bright personality like their deceased mother did, because there might be an implication that the mother died, but not that she is no longer cheerful. – mackygoo Jun 8 '17 at 7:28
  • Thanks for the expanded explanation. In English you would say "Those girls" not "Those daughters". If you want to use the word daughters, you need to say whose daughters they are: "Her daughters", "That woman's daughters", "My friend's daughters" etc. I cant think of a natural way to translate that particular sentence using daughters. – landonepps Jun 8 '17 at 8:17

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