After keeping busy at school doing sport in preference to anything academic, I became a window cleaner in the French city of Nantes, where I spent a gap year. Returning to France after taking a degree in Russian, I taught English to employees of a major oil company and reached the semi-final of the French darts championship.
Back in the UK, I stumbled across an ad for trainee lexicographers on the COBUILD project at the University of Birmingham, which led to a 14-year stint writing dictionary entries and playing cricket for the English department. I then spent eight years at Longman Dictionaries, and finally joined Macmillan as Dictionary Publisher towards the end of 2007.
Away from the office, I spend as much time as possible in Sussex, walking in the country, growing vegetables, and enjoying the changing seasons.
Stan is a freelance writer and editor from the west of Ireland. A former scientist and TEFL teacher, he writes about language, words, books and more on his blog, Sentence first, and elsewhere. You can also find him on Twitter.
I have a strong editorial background having worked as a journalist, technical writer and editor in fields ranging from the automotive and engineering industries, to finance, healthcare and education. As part of my Latin American Studies degree, I lived for a year in Colombia, working with a local children’s charity. I recently completed an Applied Linguistics Masters degree at the University of Newcastle, focusing on bilingualism among Spanish/indigenous-language speakers in Latin America.
After graduating from Girton College, Cambridge, I spent a year in Greece and the next fifteen living in the Arab world, apart from a two-year period studying Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, which I financed by teaching at a tiny language school in a Carnaby Street attic. During my wanderings, I taught at various institutes of learning in Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and finally Tunisia, where I lived in a series of crumbling beachfront houses in the suburbs of Tunis. Whilst there I met John Sinclair, discovered a bit about the delights of corpus linguistics, and acquired an M.A in Applied Linguistics from Birmingham. This led to my first proper job: seven years as a lecturer in the National University of Singapore. Then in 1991 I joined the COBUILD team in Birmingham as ‘senior grammarian’, and worked on projects including the three volumes of the Pattern Grammar series. Since leaving COBUILD I have worked freelance, moved to Bristol, got married, finally started gardening. My more recent publications have been in corpus linguistics (e.g Pattern Grammar, with Susan Hunston) and corpus-based resources (e.g Chambers Language Builder, 2008). My current project is Skylight, an easy-to-use online corpus access tool designed for teachers and learners (co-developed with Andrew Dickinson).
Having graduated with a B.Ed degree in Literature and Drama, I became a primary teacher in Manchester and later an outreach worker for an inner-city young people’s project, with a focus on improving literacy and communication skills. I moved to Oxford in 1995 with my husband and qualified as a human resources manager, specializing in recruitment and training.
I had the first of two little girls in 2003 and spent a couple of years being a full-time mum. When the boredom became too much and the charm of smelling of sick wore off I started work at Macmillan as P. A. to our director, and am now training in the dark arts of all things editorial.
My hobbies are reading, exercising, cars and chasing small children around ball pools.
Laine Redpath Cole
Raised in Africa, South … East; peaked in Asia, South East; maturing in England, South East. I was trained for journalism and drama (not of the ‘melo’ variety), but came out the other side of a student loan pay-off with six years of English language teaching in Taiwan under my sash. I have worked as a set-dresser in South Africa and a freelance editor in the UK. I have dabbled in playwrighting and VJ’ing, event organising and shop running. Right now I am a marketeer for the marvellous Macmillan Dictionary team. At night I dream of writing a rock-opera for puppets like that guy did in that movie. And living one day South West.
I have been a lexicographer since 1980, after a not very brilliant career as an academic then English language teacher. I got into the dictionary business by accident, but I have been lucky enough to be involved in all the major developments over the last 25 years or so – and, as Macmillan Dictionary Online shows, this field is still developing in new directions. I worked for a time at COBUILD during the earliest days of corpus lexicography, then for over ten years at Longman. These days I divide my time between being chief editor of the Macmillan dictionaries and a director of Lexicography MasterClass, a company that runs dictionary projects and training courses in lexicography and lexical computing. I am the co-author (with Sue Atkins) of the Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography (2008).
Apart from writing dictionaries, I train regularly in T’ai Chi, am learning Spanish when I get the time, and am active in local politics (as a member of an environmental group promoting sustainable development in Canterbury, where I live). I also like movies, walking, and watching cricket, and I’m the author of The Wisden Dictionary of Cricket (2007).
I studied English Language and Literature at Szeged University in Hungary and also trained and practised as an EFL teacher. In 1998 my husband and I moved to the UK and when the opportunity presented itself I decided to start a career in publishing. These days I work as Publishing Manager in the Dictionaries Department at Macmillan Education where I am involved in both print and, increasingly so, digital projects.
My interests in language include bi- and tri-lingualism, language acquisition and the influence of English on other languages around the world. I spend most of my free time admiring my two daughters’ seemingly effortless ability to cope with three languages and cultures (Dutch, Hungarian and English) and when I am not doing that, I try and do my best to pick up and read a book from the pile on my bedside table.
Lindsay Clandfield is an English teacher and author of books for language learners and teachers. He has a blog called Six Things, in which he collects lists relating to the English language and English language teaching. He lives in Spain.
After studying Classical Civilisation and European Literature in South Africa, I came to the UK to study archaeology at Oxford University. I then became director of Oxford University’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology. After a few years of excavating sunken, ancient cities (Alexandria and Heracleion) in Egypt, I came to question the daily drudge of diving and sunburn, and yearned for a computer screen and fluorescent light.
So, I am currently a stay-at-home dad, looking after my relatively new twins. In between nursery and building blocks I am co-authoring a volume on the sunken city of Alexandria and working as a freelance SEO consultant. I love history and literature and expect I will be the mispelling, bad grammor plebianne in this iminent lineup of heavywait lexicografers.
Gwyneth Fox started her career as an EFL teacher in Rome. She returned to UK, where she lectured in Applied Linguistics at Birmingham Polytechnic, and ran teacher-training courses. She then returned to the classroom, and taught ESL at all levels in Birmingham schools, whilst continuing to train teachers. She was recruited to the COBUILD project at the University of Birmingham as a part-time researcher when it began in 1981. She continued to work with the project, taking over as Publishing Director in 1993, being responsible for all the dictionaries, grammars, and other EFL materials that were produced. During that time and since then she has travelled extensively, and has run courses, given seminars, and attended conferences around the world. She left COBUILD in 1997, but stayed at the University and lectured in linguistics and applied linguistics. From 1999 she worked as a consultant for Macmillan Education, with the title of Publisher, Dictionaries. She was the Associate Editor for the dictionaries, being involved with the planning of the projects and focusing on the quality of text. In January 2008 she withdrew from day-to-day involvement with the dictionaries but stayed involved as a consultant. She retired at the end of 2009.
After studying French at Wadham College, Oxford, I started out in lexicography in 1990, working on the first edition of the Oxford Hachette French Dictionary. A couple of years later I went to Manchester to do an MSc in Machine Translation, then moved here to Glasgow where I was a lexicographer at Collins Dictionaries until 2006, working mainly on the Collins Robert titles, but also on the Cobuild series, and some more experimental projects such as Benedict.
I currently stay in Kirkintilloch, a place-name that for some reason many Sassenachs have difficulty pronouncing! and work as a freelance lexicographer/editor.
I’m a freelance editor, lexicographer and writer, and have worked on a range of learner, native speaker and specialist subject dictionaries for various publishers. Although my degrees are in languages and linguistics, I worked in biosciences publishing for many years in the early part of my career and now often advise on science for dictionaries, as well as writing specialist glossaries.
Working freelance in recent years has given me the chance to take on projects of different kinds, as well as time to complete a diploma in garden history at Birkbeck College, which has led to a different range of writing opportunities. When I’m not at my computer or reading, I’m in a garden, either mine or someone else’s, or I’m indulging my interests in theatre or ballet. That’s when I’m not travelling – apart from having far-flung family and friends, there’s always somewhere new I just have to see.
Jamie Keddie is an English teacher, teacher trainer and writer. He is author of Images, published by Oxford University Press in the Resource Books for Teachers series. He runs TEFLclips.com, a website dedicated to the use of YouTube in teaching. He also writes a blog.
Having grown up in the sun-kissed archipelago of the Orkney Islands, my heart has always been in the north. A post-school year out in Norway strengthened the Nordic bond, leading to a degree in Scandinavian Studies at Edinburgh University, where I graduated in 2000.
On the shocking realisation that this didn’t lead automatically into any particular profession, I spent 18 months in Valladolid, Spain, and a year in Sweden teaching English to a mixture of adults and kids, before joining Macmillan in 2004, initially working as a sales representative for Scandinavia, and, more recently, moving into the role of Business Development Manager.
My interests centre round language and sport, and I’m always keen to try my hand at something new: from learning Maori to playing underwater hockey.
Several years of student bliss in the mid-eighties resulted in my getting a first degree and later an MA in Linguistics from Manchester University. Not quite able to tear myself away from academia, I then became a research assistant based at the universities of Manchester and Essex, where I spent several years among a team of researchers trying to convince the world that we could teach computers how to interpret and translate language as effectively as humans can. In 1993 I finally landed a ‘proper’ job with Cambridge University Press, contributing as a lexicographer and editor to dictionaries and other publications that people were actually likely to read.
Two children later I finally decided I could cope on my own and went freelance, working as a jobbing writer and editor for any publishers who were kind enough to employ me. Somehow I managed to convince Pan Macmillan that I was capable of writing a book (the result is Brave New Words – and hey, every loo should have one!). Since turning freelance I’ve progressed from washing nappies to boxer shorts, but one constant in my life has been Macmillan’s BuzzWord column, which I’ve had the pleasure to write since 2003.
I studied English Language and Literature at the University of Leeds then went on to do a Masters in Eighteenth-Century English Literature at the University of Manchester, specialising in the rise of the novel and the diaries of James Boswell.
I’ve since worked in various book-related roles: as a bookseller, bookshop events promoter and marketing co-ordinator for an independent publisher of non-fiction. After nearly three glorious years living in Italy, where I took my CELTA and discovered the joys of teaching English and learning Italian, I returned to the UK and did another MA – this time in publishing – at Oxford Brookes University. After that I was lucky enough to be accepted on the Macmillan Graduate Programme, where I worked on www.onestopclil.com, dabbled in publications for Italy and provided editorial assistance in the Dictionaries department. I’m currently working as a Commissioning Editor on Macmillan’s secondary ELT courses.
Interests include (not surprisingly) books, wine, the digital revolution, language and linguistics, running (badly) and trying to maintain my Italian.
Like most people who write dictionaries for a living, I became a lexicographer by accident. After several years working as an ELT teacher, course organiser, and as a translator and teacher of Italian, I was looking for a change. A friend spotted a job ad for bilingual lexicographers at Longman. I applied and got the job, and discovered something I had never suspected – that dictionaries are written by people like me. After two years at Longman I moved to COBUILD, where I worked on monolingual learner’s dictionaries. Since going freelance in 1999, I have contributed to a variety of monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, including the Macmillan range of dictionaries, while continuing to do some translating. For several years I wrote a weekly web article about English and I now answer readers’ queries and write book reviews for MED Magazine.
I studied Classics at Oxford University and whilst on work experience I worked on the BuzzWord feature of Macmillan Dictionary Online with the Macmillan Dictionaries team, so I like words old and new. I’m trying to crack the world of publishing so that I can leave my mark on the history of words long after I can only be looked up in the Annals of the Early Internet (Volume I, 21st Century), and possibly take over the world. I’d be happy with either.