This paper studies the distinction between subordinating and coordinating discourse relations, a distinction that governs the hierarchical structure of discourse. We provide linguistic tests to clarify which discourse relations are subordinating and which are coordinating. We argue that some relations are classified as subordinating or coordinating by default, a default that can be overridden in specific contexts. The distinction between subordinating and coordinating relations thus belongs to the level of information packaging in discourse and not to the level of information content or the semantics of the relations themselves. © 2003 Published by Elsevier B.V.
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