Vol. 1 (2024)
Papers and essays

Prohibitive clauses in some Indo-European languages

Eystein Dahl
Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań

Published 2024-04-09


  • clause types,
  • deontic modality,
  • typology,
  • Indo-European languages


This paper explores prohibitive clauses in a selection of languages belonging to some branches of the Indo-European family. Prohibitive clauses are defined as negative directive clauses and express deontic modality. Unlike positive directive clauses, which characteristically select the imperative mood, prohibitive clauses have a variety of forms even across genetically closely related languages, differing along two dimensions: negation and verb form. In some languages, prohibitive clauses of the latter type select the same mood form as neutral assertive clauses, while other languages consistently show other mood categories in this clause type. Moreover, it is not uncommon that languages have more than one type of prohibitive clause. In such cases, one often finds a tendency to distinguish so-called inhibitive and preventive clauses.