I’m a linguist and lexicographer, now mostly retired. As a dictionary editor since 1980, I designed and managed numerous dictionary projects, and was a leader in the field of English pedagogical dictionaries. I was Managing Editor at Longman Dictionaries for many years, and subsequently Editor-in-Chief of macmillandictionary.com, having started a dictionary development programme at Macmillan in the late 1990s. In the course of my career, I’ve been at the forefront of applying computational techniques to the analysis of corpus data and (more recently) to the automation of lexicographic tasks. I am currently Chief Lexicographic Officer of Lexical Computing Ltd, the company responsible for the Sketch Engine and the Lexicom training workshops.
In the early days of corpus linguistics, I was involved in the creation of several language corpora, including the BNC. I have published widely in the field of corpus-based lexicography, and I’m co-author (with the late Sue Atkins) of the Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography (2008). My current interests include the implications for lexicography of the transfer of reference resources from print to digital media. I also work as a trainer and consultant. I am one of the leaders of the annual Lexicom workshops, which I started in 2001 with Sue Atkins and Adam Kilgarriff.
The three of us developed an MSc programme in Lexicography and Lexical Computing at the University of Brighton, which we taught from 2001-2002. For over a decade we worked together as Lexicography MasterClass, offering training in lexicography and lexical computing, and providing project-management for several dictionary developers. Together with Hilary Nesi, Barbara McGillivray, and Sharon Creese, I created and taught the first dictionary-related MOOC, “Understanding English Dictionaries”, which was hosted by FutureLearn and ran for several iterations between 2019 and 2021.
In the course of my career, I have seen (and been involved in) two major revolutions in lexicography: the arrival of corpora in the early 1980s, and the migration of reference resources from print to digital media from around 2010. A third revolution — the automation of the processes involved in creating a dictionary — has been brewing over the past decade or so, and may now be accelerating, as AI resources become more mature. This is now my primary interest, as the dictionary business undergoes yet another transformation
I am a founder member of EURALEX, and was a member of its Executive Board from 2006-2010. In 2022, I was awarded Honorary Membership of EURALEX. I’m also on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Lexicography.
In 2013, I was awarded an honorary doctorate (D.Litt) by Coventry University for my “contribution to the description of the English language and to the field of pedagogical lexicography”.