The article presented focuses on a linguistic unit rarely studied by authors: the paragraph. This is a solid reason to make us contribute to cast light on this matter, and that is the cause for the research we are informing on these pages. It starts with the inventory of definitions that, about this unit, some linguists propose, as well as those collected in linguistic dictionaries, current Spanish and other language dictionaries, and also far-off time Spanish dictionaries. As a result of these consultations, we may conclude that, except for the linguists' proposals, there is no accuracy in the presented definitions, which are based on merely formal aspects. The problem the previous statement brings is that the marks that today help to identify the different paragraphs of a text have not always existed, as the old manuscripts display its writing in compact blocks. Nevertheless, it is not acceptable the view of the paragraph as a modern invention, since there is a reach repertoire of arguments which support the idea that the paragraph is a linguistic unit with a psychological correlate. It seems as if in old language the paragraphs were marked by linguistic rather than graphic devices, and this leads to a less noticeable division into paragraphs than in our days. Our article finishes with the defense of a hypothesis according to which the present procedures about the marking of the paragraphs would have been born to make the changes of the paragraph more visible and, on this way, avoid making a greater effort to decode and interpret texts.
Párrafo; Conceptos teóricos; Definición lexicográfica; Terminología lingüística
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