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A student is (informally) introducing himself:

先週からこのシェアハウスにやってきた大学3年生。

IIUC, やってきた (just like 来た) is an instantaneous verb, i.e., it expresses an instantaneous change from one state to another. On the other hand, I thought <time>+から+<verb> can only be used to describe something happening over a period of time.

So I expected that the above sentence is incorrect, and must be rewritten as:

先週このシェアハウスにやってきた大学3年生。 (drop から)

or

先週からこのシェアハウスに泊まっている大学3年生。 (use a stative verb)

However, the original sentence is from a Japanese textbook, so I'm sure it's correct. What am I misunderstanding?

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Your understanding is correct. から marks the beginning of a period and should not be used with an instantaneous verb like (やって)くる. I would say that sentence is grammatically incorrect.

Having said that, though, a sentence like that is not uncommon in everyday conversation. The meaning of いる is inferred from やってきた and いる is compatible with から.

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  • Interesting! So would you say it's a mistake to include it in the textbook? Or is it so common that it's actually a good representation of natural spoken Japanese? (The textbook is specifically dedicated to natural / very casual Japanese.)
    – max
    Jul 7 at 1:20
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    @max: I wouldn’t say it’s a mistake. They might have included it on purpose to familiarize advanced learners with casual speech. It is pretty common with 行く and 来る when the speaker’s focus is on the continuous state of いる that follows the movement. Strictly speaking, 〜から始める may not be completely correct, but it’s pretty common for a similar reason. People expects whatever is started to continue for some time and から is good to mark its beginning. I’m not sure if it’s considered grammatically correct or not. Compered to this, 〜から行く and 〜から来る still sound slightly more awkward to me.
    – aguijonazo
    Jul 7 at 8:29
  • I'm not sure about formal rules, but logically this actually seems perfectly grammatically reasonable to me, so I'm not sure it's necessarily "incorrect". When くる is used as a helper ("verb + きた", etc), it actually describes something having come about, which means it is actually (usually) implicitly talking about a present condition that has developed as a result, and is therefore essentially stative (the 〜ている form is not required), and using から with stative constructions actually makes perfect sense, IMHO..
    – Foogod
    Jul 13 at 16:39
  • @Foogod: If you are saying using やってくる with から is reasonable because of its compound form, I disagree. This やってくる essentially means the same as 来る. It refers to an instant act. It’s different from other compound verbs with くる that describe a process of change and therefore durative. However, even it or 来る alone implies the resulting state of いる as I said in my answer as well as in an earlier comment. If you are saying the use of から seems reasonable because of this implicit meaning (regardless of the formation of the verb), I agree.
    – aguijonazo
    Jul 14 at 0:20
  • Actually, what I was saying is that (in my experience), 〜てくる often has much the same implications as 〜ている does in terms of describing a state resulting from an action instead of the action itself. This is not the same as using 来る by itself (which is always an instantaneous action). It is therefore not durative, but it is a stative construction (at least in many usages), and therefore から does make sense with it (in those cases).
    – Foogod
    Jul 15 at 16:36

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