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Paul Anthony Jones
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Paul Anthony Jones is a writer, musician, and author of word origins guide Haggard Hawks & Paltry Poltroons . He also runs its popular tie-in Twitter account @HaggardHawks. His lifelong love of words began as a child when he was given a dictionary as a Christmas present - he read it cover to cover in a day. He now lives in Jesmond in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he still reads far too many books and drinks far too much coffee.

Entries by Paul Anthony Jones

You Really Can't Always Believe Your Eyes--And Linguistics Proves It...

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2016 | 5:03 PM

Words and language Twitter account @HaggardHawks recently spread its wings over to YouTube, and this week posted a language experiment explaining one of the most bizarre linguistic phenomena discovered in recent years.

The McGurk Effect was discovered in 1976 by the British psychologist...

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No Excuses! Why And How Writers Should Embrace Twitter

(3) Comments | Posted February 9, 2016 | 11:45 AM

"You should get on Twitter, I think you'd like it." Or so said a friend of mine while we were catching up in our local, four years ago. Frankly, I wasn't convinced. But partly out of curiosity (and partly to allay the constant badgering) I registered an account, picked my...

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Shakespeare

(4) Comments | Posted January 14, 2016 | 2:51 PM

Chances are you could name most -- if not all -- of his plays. You'll doubtless be able to name a fair few of his most famous characters. And perhaps you're even able to recite some of his most famous lines. In fact, Shakespeare's life and work is so well-known...

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50 Fantastic Facts About The English Language

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2015 | 8:28 AM

This month, words and language Twitter account @HaggardHawks celebrated its second year online. Since December 2013, it has been providing a daily dose of rare and unusual words, surprising language facts, peculiar etymological stories, and all manner of other linguistic tidbits and trivia covering everything from

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Gli strani lavori di 20 scrittori famosi

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 12:22 PM

Tutti dobbiamo iniziare da qualche parte, tutti abbiamo l'affitto da pagare. Prima del successo, ecco quali sono stati i primi impieghi e i lavori "normali" di venti autori illustri.

William S. Burroughs
Nel 1942, dopo essere stato congedato dall'esercito degli Stati Uniti per motivi psichiatrici, William...

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7 Famous Novelists ... Who Only Published One Novel

(21) Comments | Posted September 21, 2015 | 9:25 AM

When it was announced earlier this year that Harper Lee was to release a new novel, Go Set A Watchman, in July 2015, her readers and fans were quite rightly astonished. For fifty-five years, since the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird in 1960, Lee had remained one of the...

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7 Novelists Who Only Published One Novel

(2) Comments | Posted September 11, 2015 | 11:40 AM

When it was announced earlier this year that Harper Lee was to release a new novel, Go Set A Watchman, in July 2015, her readers and fans were quite rightly astonished. For fifty-five years, since the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird in 1960, Lee had remained one...

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17 Words Invented By James Joyce

(26) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 9:02 AM

What better way to mark St Patrick's Day on March 17 than by celebrating one of Ireland's greatest writers. James Joyce was born in Rathgar, on the outskirts of Dublin, in 1882. Although he spent much of his life living and working on the continent -- he died in Zurich,...

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100 Random Facts About The English Language

(36) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 7:46 AM

This month, words and trivia Twitter account @HaggardHawks turns one year old. Since December 2013, we've been tweeting obscure words, surprising etymologies and bizarre linguistic facts every day, covering everything from abature (that's the trail of trampled grass an animal leaves behind it) and abligurition (spending to much...

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Gone For Good: The Long Lost Works Of English Literature

(4) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 7:13 AM

Sadly it's not uncommon for writers and authors to leave manuscripts unfinished at the time of their death. Charles Dickens's Mystery of Edwin Drood ends without the mystery ever being solved. The 11 surviving chapters of Jane Austen's final novel Sanditon suggest that, had she lived to finish it, it...

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What's Your Favorite Word?

(82) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 7:22 AM

According to James Joyce, it was cuspidor. Arnold Bennett liked pavement. The great Neil Gaiman prefers ineffable. War Horse author Michael Morpurgo likes supreme. And JRR Tolkien thought that cellar door was "beautiful... especially if dissociated from its sense and from its spelling." You might never have given...

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Say What? The Literal Meanings of 30 English Words

(16) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 8:04 AM

Delving into the origins and etymologies of words often unearths some unexpected stories. Take a word like treadmill, for instance. Depending on what you think of the gym, you might not be too surprised to find that the original treadmill was invented as a hard labor punishment used in Victorian...

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An A to Z of Noah Webster's Finest Forgotten Words

(171) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 8:19 AM

October 16 is World Dictionary Day, marking the birthday of the great American lexicographer Noah Webster. Born in Connecticut in 1758, Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, in 1806, but it was his two-volume American Dictionary of the English Language published in 1828 (when...

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The Inspiring Stories Behind 15 Classic Novels

(8) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 7:14 AM

According to Jack London, "You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club." London himself took the inspiration for The Call of the Wild (1903) from his time spent living in Canada and Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush when high-quality sled dogs -- like...

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The Bizarre Day Jobs Of 20 Famous Authors

(20) Comments | Posted September 1, 2014 | 8:33 AM

Everybody has to start somewhere, and everybody has to pay the rent. Long before the acclaim, here are the first jobs and day jobs of twenty of literature's most famous and distinguished figures.

William S. Burroughs
Discharged from the US Army on psychiatric grounds in 1942, William...

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66 Facts You May Not Have Known About The English Language

(80) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 7:54 AM

The English language is, quite literally, the greatest language in the world. Great in terms of size - the current edition of the Oxford English Dictionary contains 615,000 entries. Great in terms of scope -- it's an official language in seventy-nine countries and territories. And great...

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Celebrate St. Patrick's Day With 15 English Words Derived From Irish Gaelic

(30) Comments | Posted March 17, 2014 | 7:35 AM

With St Patrick's Day upon us today, March 17, here are 15 words the English language owes to Gaelige, better known to English speakers as Irish Gaelic -- and as this list shows, Irish has given us a lot more than just leprechauns and shamrocks.

If you've seen...

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11 Places in Britain You Should Have Heard Of

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 9:00 AM

On March 1, the official flame for the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games was lit ahead of the opening ceremony in Sochi on March 7. But last week's spectacular flame-lighting ceremony wasn't held in Sochi, nor Athens, nor anywhere else you might expect an Olympic flame to be lit....

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British Ghost Towns

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 10:25 AM

It's tempting to think of ghost towns as nothing more than a cliché of horror films or a stereotypical image of the American Wild West, but in fact abandoned towns and villages that have simply dropped off the map can be found much closer to home than that. Adapted from...

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13 Words You Probably Didn't Know Were Coined By Authors

(11) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 7:03 AM

Last month, HuffPost Books put together a list of 13 Words You Probably Didn't Know Were Invented By Shakespeare. Amongst them were such everyday terms as courtship, critical, gloomy, laughable, generous and hurry. Although debate rages about whether Shakespeare actually coined these terms himself or was merely the...

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