A Translation and Analysis of the Latin Motto of the University of Kansas
The University of Kansas offers the following official translation to its Latin motto “Videbo visionem hanc magnam quare non comburatur rubus": I will see this great sight, how the bush does not burn.
Let’s take a look at this Latin motto and see how close it comes to the official translation. “Videbo" is the first-person singular future tense active voice indicative form of the second-conjugation verb “video" which means “I see." In its present form, “videbo" can be translated as “I will see."
“Visionem" is the accusative singular form of the feminine third-declension noun “visio" which means “seeing," “view," or “appearance." As a noun in the accusative case, it is acting as the direct object of the mottos verb “videbo." “Magnam," meaning “great," is the accusative singular form of the adjective “magnus" in its feminine form and is being used to modify the noun “visionem." “Hanc" is the accusative singular feminine form of the demonstrative “hic" and means “this." It is used to further modify the noun “visionem." Notice that both “magnam" and “hanc" agree with the noun they modify “visionem" in case, number, and gender.
“Rubus" is the nominative singular form of the masculine noun “rubus" and means “bramble-bush" or “blackberry." In its nominative form, “rubus" is serving as the subject of the verb “comburatur," the third-person singular present tense passive voice indicative form of the second-conjugation verb “comburo" which means “to burn up" or, figuratively, “to ruin."
“Quare" is an indeclinable adverb meaning “wherefore" and “non" is equivalent to “not" in English.
Taken all together, a literal translation of the University of Kansas’ Latin motto is “I will see this great view, wherefore the bramble-bush is not being burned." The official translation offered by the university is very close although its translation of “comburatur" as “is burning" does not quite capture the verb in its passive voice of which an accurate translation should be “is being burned." Still, the sentiment is still present in the official translation.
The official translation of “quare" as “how" is similar to “wherefore" and “view" and “sight" mean about the same thing. Overall, the official translation of the Latin motto is quite accurate.