How do you say "a sign that" as in "That is a sign that your rabbit loves you."?

Would it be "Id est signum quod tuus cuniculus te amet."? Or "Id est signum ut tuus cuniculus te amet."? Or "Id est signum tui cuniculi te amandi." (the gerund going in the genitive case)? Or something else?


1 Answer 1


Lewis & Short list in their dictionary under signum this example from Cicero:

neque enim id facerem, nisi necesse esset, et id erit signi me invitum facere, quod non persequar longius quam salus huius et mea fides postulabit.

And I would not do even that if it were not necessary, and it shall be a sign that I am doing it against my will, that I will not pursue the point further than the safety of Roscius and my own good faith requires. translation: C. D. Yonge).

So a possible formula is here given: id est signi + acc+inf.

Also, in Exodus 3:12 we can have another example ("And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you") which the Vulgate renders with quod:

et hoc habebis signum, quod miserim te: cum eduxeri ...

[So quod was indeed used; however, it might be little "annoying" as signum is already of neutral gender so in signum quod, quod can open also a relative clause (Cf. Cicero: Signum est quod sub sensum aliquem cadit et quiddam significat quod ex ipso profectum videtur - "A sign is which ..."]

Alternative translation by Sebastian Castellio which is known in its Ciceronian style - indeed mimics Cicero here:

atque hoc erit signi, a me te esse missum, quod ...

I would avoid using signum ut here, as using ut will naturally and reasonably imply the purpose of a sign (not its meaning). We have example for this purposintial sense usage of ut in Genesis 4:15 Posuitque Dominus Cain signum, ut non interficeret eum omnis qui invenisset eum.

I'm not sure about the genitive usage. There are examples the genitive was also used as purpose (Signum proelii committendi Caesar dedit) or more accurately and simply it answer which sign? (e.g., sign of the singing roosters (dicere deos gallis signum dedisse cantandi); it describes the sign itself - which sign is it; and not quite what a sign signifies. But maybe there are other examples as well.

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