An interesting japanese sentence

haru to wa na bakari de mada kibishii samusa ga tsuzuite imasu.

my (literal) attempt: winter is continuing still severe cold continues.
(I know it sounds poetic/sophisticated in Japanese but I’m trying to get an actual/ nonpoetic translation)

what does the " to wa na" do/mean?

" de mada kibishii "- is that “while it’s still cold”?

Why you always write in romaji?.. I can’t read romaji.

I can’t read hiragana/katakana atm- deal with it.

I am just only a native speaker of Japanese, not a teacher of the Japanese language, however I’d like to explain as hard as possible. I hope it would be helpful.

In my understanding, the sentence is roughly divided into two parts and divided into some parts.

  1. Haru / to wa / nabakari de
  2. mada / kibishii samusa ga / tzuite imasu

In English

  1. It is nominal Spring or It is Spring only in name
  2. It is still severely cold or the severe coldness has still continued

It is Spring only in name and it is still severely cold.
Or more directly
“Spring” is nominal and the severely coldness has still continued.

Sorry for the poetic expression being lost!

When I hear the sentence above in Japanese I imagine the following scene.

The time is late in March or early in April. The cherry blossom is starting blossoming out but still far from being in full bloom. According to the calendar the season is supposed to be already Spring, however when I go out, it is still very cold and I have to wear gloves or scarf.
The timing of full bloom of cherry blossoms differs year by year. When cherry blossoms are in full bloom, it may be already warm in one year but it may be still cold in another year.

春とは 名ばかりで、まだ 厳しい 寒さが 続いて います。
ハルトハ ナバカリデ、マダ キビシイ サムサガ ツヅイテ イマス。
はるとは なばかりで、まだ きびしい さむさが つづいて います。

I hope more detailed, exact, understandable explanation from other Japanese LingQ members!

thanks hirohide-sama! can you explain what “to wa na” means?

also, where did you get the "only in name " part from?

Wow! It’s very difficult to explain the Japanese language despite I am a native speaker of Japanese for more than 30 years!
When I try to divide the sentence into parts and explain them respectively I feel it very difficult. I know and understand them and I can always use them, however there’s a totally big difference between being able to use them as a native and explaining them to non-natives!
This is like I can use my personal computer but I don’t know the detailed mechanism how the PC is made or is working.
OK, I’ll try to explain as far as I understand.
“to wa na” is not a set of words. In this sentence, in my opinion, the groups of words are as follows.
Haru / towa / nabakari / de / mada / kibishii / samusa / ga / tuzuite / imasu

Haru = Spring,
“nabakari “ means “nominal” and “in name only”
“mada” = still
“kibiishii” = very, severe
“tuzuite” = continue
I’m afraid I don’t have enough grammatical knowledge of “towa”, “de”, “ga” and “imasu”.
I can use them freely but I don’t know the grammatical name or how the Japanese language teacher and book teach them to non-native speakers.

There are the following example sentences in my Japanese-English dictionary (Kenkyuusya’s new Japanese-English dictionary).
nabakari no gakusya = a scholar only in name
nabakari no syachou = a nominal president
nabakari no jiyuu = freedom in name alone
haru towa nabakari de samui hi ga tuzuite iru = The days remain cold, so spring has arrived in name only.

Yuriythebest, I’m sorry I cannot explain fully for you to understand.
This time I realized how I usually use Japanese without thinking about any grammatical things!
I think there are many non-native learners of Japanese who know more grammatical explanation about this topic better than me.
I just know only how I say and how things are expressed by other native speakers. I think this is thanks to a long time exposure of myself to Japanese.
In my case, my current target language is English and I try to read and listen to more and more English.
Help me, other Japanese LingQ members!

We would say in colloquial English: it’s / this is supposed to be spring but it’s still really cold.

cool thanks for the detailed info hirohide! that must’ve taken a lot of time!
I think I understand it better now.

haru (spring) to (is also?) wa ( about spring) nabakari(in name only) de (is/about) mada kibishii (still severe) samusa ga tsuzuite imasu. (coldness continues).

oooh can you make up 1-2 sentences with (towa) in them?

I find Japanese much easier to read in Kanji, by the way. I run it all through Google translate in any case to get the romaji, and with the Kanji it’s easier to see where words start and end.


sorry tora3 my browser doesn’t display kana and even if I configured it to I still wouldn’t be able to read it yet- romanji pretty please!


Shuppansha towa nabakari de, tukue to denwa shika nakatta.

Doubutsuen towa nabakari de, kitsune to tanuki shika inakatta.

Kawa towa nabakaride, mizu wa nagarete inakatta.


春は名のみの 風の寒さや
谷の鶯(うぐいす) 歌は思えど
時にあらずと 声も立てず
時にあらずと 声も立てず

Thank you for presenting many example sentences. It is very difficult for me to explain my native language to non-natives. In my opinion, some degree of explanation and understandable example sentences are helpful and it is important for learners to come across more and more usages of the expression in their reading, listening and conversation.