I want to say "people continue to study Latin", and I came up with lingua Latina studenda pergit. Is such a combination gerundive and pergere grammatical? It must be understandable, but I do not recall ever seeing it used or discussed. Another option would be lingua Latina studeri pergit, but I want to know if the gerundive works, too.

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    It's hard to prove a negative, but I don't think I've ever seen a gerundive construction (as distinct from a future passive participle) used in the nominative. – TKR Jul 27 '16 at 22:51

I don't think so. First, are you sure that pergit can be used in this sense? I would use pergo to indicate a sense of progression, and I would have an agent in mind as its subject, someone who continues to move in a certain direction. Perhaps permanet or perstat would fit?

As to the gerundive construction, i.e. a gerundive that is used dominantly, I believe it cannot be used in the nominative, nor in the accusative without a preposition. The same applies a to gerunds, mutatis mutandis. In its non-dominant use, a gerundive has a sense of obligation or prediction, which, as you say, is not what we want in this example: "the Latin language continues to be compulsory to be studied"; or as an ablative: "it continues while studying the Latin language".

But the passivity of the gerund is also problematic here, because studeo is normally intransitive: it goes with the dative and cannot normally be passivised with a subject. A gerundive is also passive, but studendus and linga Latina could not agree in case. Then what would the gerundive agree with?

In the nominative, one would use a simple noun or an infinitive rather than a gerundive, to express "doing something" as a subject or direct object. In this case, a noun comes first to mind:

Studium lingae Latinae permanet.

An infinitive is possible in theory:

? Studere linguae Latinae permanet.

Somehow, I don't like this very much, but it's hard to explain why not. Perhaps verbs that mean "continue" are not often used with infinitive constructions? At least I don't think permanet is constructed with an infinitive; and perstat with an infinitive means something else, as does pergit.

Linguae Latinae adhuc studemus / semper studebimus.

This has a slightly different meaning, but it could be appropriate.

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  • I think the problem with ?Studere linguae Latinae permanet is that infinitive subjects rarely take any verb other than esse and its compounds. – TKR Jul 31 '16 at 17:16
  • @TKR: Hmm you may be right; I can't think of any counter-examples. But how about as a subject complement?: ? lingua Latina permanet legi. I don't think that works either. That construction only works with copulae, I suppose, and permaneo isn't a proper copula. – Cerberus Jul 31 '16 at 17:35
  • I think you're right -- that doesn't sound correct to me either. The issue there seems to be that permaneo doesn't take an infinitive complement, active or passive. – TKR Jul 31 '16 at 22:50
  • @TKR: Yes, I think so too. And, while some other verbs do take an infinitive as a complement, like persto, it won't be in the proper thematic role. – Cerberus Jul 31 '16 at 23:18
  • Thanks! I mistook studere for a transitive verb. It's good to have this misconception corrected, but the main question is about using gerundive with pergere. I have seen pergere with infinitive to mean "to continue to do something", and my dictionary also gives this use. You have convinced me that I shouldn't use gerundive even if I change to a transitive verb. – Joonas Ilmavirta Aug 1 '16 at 5:20

I'll expand this later (I'm on my phone), but I'd offer Etiamnunc linguae Latinae studetur. ("People are still studying Latin," or, more literally, "Study is still given to Latin.")

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    I would like that, but I've tried to find passive finite forms of studeo in the HP corpus, and there are hardly any. Studetur gives one result, from Iustianiaus, and studentur zero results. The word doesn't seem to be used in the passive in the classical age? Still, I think you can make a case for it, as a late form. – Cerberus Jul 31 '16 at 17:27
  • @Cerberus Yeah, my position on such matters seems to be in a state of constant flux, but at the moment I don't find a lack of attestation in such a case persuasive as a guide to modern usage. – Joel Derfner Aug 1 '16 at 3:05

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