Digital history & historiography

On the diachrony of giusto? (right?) in Italian: A new discoursivization

In Italian, the adjective giusto (‘right’) has performed the discourse function of response marker since at least 1613 (DELI 2008: 671). In this paper, I argue that the adjective has recently undertaken a new process of discoursivization, defined as the diachronic process that ends in discourse (Ocampo 2006: 317). In particular, I maintain that giusto may also serve the function of invariant tag (Andersen 2001), a linguistic item appended to a statement for the purpose of seeking mutual agreement, verification or corroboration of a claim (Millar and Brown 1979). Through diachronic lexicographic, quantitative and qualitative analyses carried out over a range of historical and contemporary dictionaries and language corpora of different varieties, the results will show that, although the use of giusto? as invariant tag is currently undocumented, records of such a use are in fact found since 1990. I explore whether there are positive correlations between the use of right? in English and the use of giusto? in real use Italian and AV dialogues.

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