Corpus Pragmatics

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 285–301 | Cite as

Subordinating Conjunctions as Discourse Markers in Lithuanian

  • Erika Jasionytė-MikučionienėEmail author
Original Paper


Over the last decades the development of conjunctions into discourse markers has been researched by a number of scholars. In Lithuanian, studies on discourse markers are fragmented and lack the application of efficient qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis. The paper focuses on the Lithuanian discourse markers kad ‘that’ and net ‘until, even’ as well as their combinations with other particles and/or conjunctions (such as tai kad; bet kad; kad ir; taip kad; net ir etc.), which have not received an in-depth analysis so far. In Old Lithuanian, both kad and net mainly function as temporal conjunctions, which, over time, developed discourse functions and came to serve as discourse markers. Adopting both a synchronic and diachronic perspective and applying corpus-driven methodology, the present study aims at investigating the semantic functional potential of kad and net as well as their position and structural status in discourse. The data set analyzed includes written and spoken Present-day Lithuanian as well as Old Lithuanian texts (the 16th century). In the earliest Lithuanian texts, kad is most often used in different types of adverbial clauses, including time, purpose and condition; net, in its turn, functions as a conjunction marking time or contrast or as a particle. However, in Present-day Lithuanian, kad and net are multifunctional: kad can be used either as a conjunction or a discourse marker with a clear discourse function—to signal a discourse shift and to preface a response or reaction of the speaker. Net, as a discourse marker, is positionally mobile and primarily marks the speaker’s surprise or functions as a hedging device.


Subordinating conjunction Discourse marker Discourse marker cluster (Inter)subjectification 



“Postilė” by Jonas Bretkūnas (1595)


Corpus of Contemporary Lithuanian


Fiction sub-corpus


Sub-corpus of spoken Lithuanian


Discourse marker


“Postilė” by Mikalojus Daukša (1599)






Noun phrase





I am very grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their comments that helped to improve the paper. The research has been funded by the Research Council of Lithuania within the framework of Project S-MIP-17-44 (“Discourse markers in Lithuanian: a synchronic and diachronic study”).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania

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