From TAM to discourse
This study investigates some discursive uses of the North-Western Italian adverb <i>già</i> ‘already’, which cumulates the Italian interjectional function with the interrogative use typical of the French cognate <i>déjà</i>. While as an interjection <i>già</i> acquires the metadiscursive functions of a proper discourse marker, the interrogative use shares formal and functional properties with modal particles. The analysis will show that, apart from their morphosyntactic differences, these uses are interconnected by their common functional interpretation as pragmatic markers of ‘given’ information (‘backchecking’ in the interrogative use and ‘confirmativity’ in interjections). A comparative assessment of Italian and French data contributes to clarifying what features modal particles and discourse markers have in common but also where they morphosyntactically diverge.