Specializations > Semantics and Pragmatics

"mind", v. -- negative polarity item?

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Daniel:

* I don't mind spaghetti.
* ?*I mind broccoli.
As far as I can tell, mind needs to be negated or in other negative polarity contexts.

I just went to write the following sentence and it sounded all wrong:
"There were some things that I wondered about or minded."

Any thoughts on this? Any other verbs like this?

MalFet:
It works fine in questions without a negative polarity, as well as in answers to questions.

Do you mind if I smoke?
Yes, I mind.

Trompette:
In his (1980s) Grammaire linguistique de l'anglais, Henri Adamczewski tells the modal need can't be used in a plain assertion (you'd have to use it as a verb, wouldn't you?), but you can use it in questions and in negative sentences. So:
Need you leave us so soon?
You needn't be afraid.
Tell her she needn't write all those letters tonight.</i>
? You need go to the dentist's tomorrow. (this one is by me)

According to him, modal need can be used in presuppotisional contexts only. Could it be the same for your mind?
In

--- Quote ---Do you mind if I smoke?
Yes, I mind.
--- End quote ---
, woud you say that the second mind comes in such a context?

Daniel:

--- Quote ---It works fine in questions without a negative polarity, as well as in answers to questions.

Do you mind if I smoke?
Yes, I mind.
--- End quote ---
True. But isn't that a sort of echo question?
You certainly can't say out of context:
"I mind you smoking! Please don't!"

Questions themselves are negative polarity contexts. It would seem that at least in this case a very literal reply maintains the negative polarity in discourse. But that question is still needed.



--- Quote ---In his (1980s) Grammaire linguistique de l'anglais, Henri Adamczewski tells the modal need can't be used in a plain assertion (you'd have to use it as a verb, wouldn't you?)
--- End quote ---
I was actually thinking about that earlier, but that's a more developed thought and better phrased than what I was thinking. Yes, good point!


--- Quote ---According to him, modal need can be used in presuppotisional contexts only. Could it be the same for your mind?
--- End quote ---
Maybe!
Would this explain NPIs in general? Is the similarity just coincidental?




Note that NPIs have fairly complicated distributions. An interesting one is with "every":
Everyone who read any books was happy.
*Everyone read any books.

The same seems to apply for 'mind':
Everyone who minded the disruption left.
*Everyone minded the disruption.

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