Starting to understand some phrases watching anime

Recently I was watching TONARI NO TOTORO. I had some hard time trying to understand a passage in which the girl says:
MEI NO BOUSHI GA ATTA.
They translated as: I found Mei’s hat
Which is the most logical translation.
But isn’t ATTA the past form of the verb ARU?
It’s a strange way to say that you found something.
I’d be grateful if anybody could explain this for me!

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This is how I think of it:
It more literally translates to “Mei’s hat was here”, but that could be interpreted as “The hat was here, we were searching for it and here it was, I found it” within the context. Think of it as:
“Where’s the hat/May?”
“Ah, the hat was here! Found it!”

Edit: go with what Leebo says, it’s almost assuredly more correct :joy:

4 Likes

It’s normal to use the た form for finding things. If you see a person you were looking for, you can say いた!

I’m not sure that it’s actually meant to be past tense or not, since た has other meanings as well beyond just that.

EDIT: Meaning 4 on Weblio for た is 物事や事態の確認を表す (expresses the confirmation of a state or event). I believe that’s the meaning here.

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Saying あった would be something like “it was there/here” or “here it is” and implies you were looking for it.
「僕の鍵見ていない?」
「見ていないと思う」
「あった!」

Wow! Thank you guys!
In the context of the Anime, Mei was missing. Her sister, Satsuki, and her father was searching for Mei. The speech is when Satsuki finds Mei’s hat near some bushes.

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