Bulgarian adversative connectives: Conjunctions or discourse markers?

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This paper examines three adversative connectives in Bulgarian, /no/, /ama/, and /ami/, all of which correspond to English “but”, and are described as conjunctions, particles, and/or discourse markers. Rather than homonymous lexical items that reflect a binary opposition between conjunctions and discourse markers, these connectives are better conceptualized as operating along a continuum. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of corpora shows that they operate on multiple levels of linguistic structure: syntactic, semantic, and discourse-pragmatic. Systematic correlations are found between the function of connectives and a variety of factors such as initial versus medial position, genre, and register, as well as interactional factors such as politeness and power relations.


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