The Greek prefix “para” expresses the idea of “together with”, in the same way that it happens with the words paranormal, paramilitary, paramedic, among others. Thus, the term paratext refers to everything that relates to a text. Thus, when talking about the content of a book, it means that you are talking about the text itself, which has a series of associated elements, such as the title of a book, the cover and back cover, the dedication, the index, the glossary and the prologue. All these elements form the paratext of a text. The paratext concept can be applied to journalistic articles, novels or any format that has some written content.
The role of paratextual elements and some examples
The set of paratextual elements allows the reader to have relevant information to better understand the reading of a text. Paratext
Reading the paratextual elements allows the reader to have a kind of guide over a text. For example, an author’s dedication expresses the main idea of a novel. Reading the back cover – which presents a brief summary of the book – is a key element for the reader to decide whether or not to read the book.
The paratextual information, which at first glance seems irrelevant, has the edition number, the year of publication, the translator’s name, the city that was printed, among others. Although these data seem secondary, they have their importance, as each one makes a contribution to the textual content. For example, let’s think about the difference in the translation of a work depending on the quality of the translator. Paratext
The paratextual elements of a newspaper
The newspaper is meant to be read throughout the day. To make it easier to read, there are a series of paratextual elements that should be considered. When we think of news, there is a series of paratextual information, such as the news title, subheads, highlighted words, frames, images, etc.
Each element fulfills a certain function . Thus, the headline of the newspaper must be suggestive and clear so that the reader is willing to read the entire news. The role of images is fundamental and for this reason the written press uses photography as a complementary element. The font and readability is a determining factor. The distribution of information also conditions the reader’s attitude. Paratext