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.
Like most people who write dictionaries for a living, I became a lexicographer by accident. My first loves were Italian and history, and after doing two degrees in various aspects of those subjects I spent several happy years working in Florence as an ELT teacher and translator, first in a flat with no bathroom but a fresco on the ceiling, then in one with a bathroom but no fresco. Back in the UK and working as an ELT 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 I have contributed to a huge number of monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, including the Macmillan range of dictionaries, both in print and now online. Meanwhile I have continued to do some translating, materials writing and copy editing. For several years I wrote a weekly web article about English and am currently editing the Macmillan Dictionary Blog.
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 30 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 the University of Szeged in Hungary and also trained and worked 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 Reference Publisher at Macmillan Education where I am almost exclusively involved in digital projects.
My interests in language include bi- and multilingualism, 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 four+ languages and cultures (Dutch, Flemish, Hungarian, English and French) 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.