I’ve always loved playing with language, although I didn’t particularly shine in English at school. I did my first degree in Applied Linguistics at Bangor University, North Wales, with options in French and Russian. I then started a Master’s course in Computer Speech and Language Processing at Cambridge University. I couldn’t get my head around all the coding though so I left after the first term and ran off abroad!
After six months as an au pair in Switzerland, where I was impressed by how my German teacher handled a multilingual class of students, I became an EFL teacher in Greece. I spent three happy years there teaching children and teens at private language schools, before moving to Prague, where I taught adults, mainly in-company business English classes. Whilst there, I also became Assistant Director of Studies. By this time though, I was realizing that the teaching lifestyle wasn’t really for me.
I returned to the UK in 1997 to do an MA in Special Applications of Linguistics at Birmingham University. I focused especially on corpus linguistics and lexicography and when I finished, went on to a job as an ELT lexicographer at Cambridge University Press. From there I went freelance in 2000 working initially mainly on lexicography projects, then branching out into corpus research for other projects, then writing and editing.
In 2005, I decided I needed some time back in the classroom, but having got through my teaching career to that point without a qualification, I realized I’d need some paperwork to teach in the UK. So I did my CELTA at Bristol University and stayed on to teach on their EAP pre-sessional summer courses for the next 10 years.
I now work from my home in Bristol and I love the variety of my work; writing, editing and researching all kinds of teaching materials, teacher training and speaking at events and conferences, and working in a voluntary capacity with the Hornby Trust. Please explore the links at the top of the page to find out more about my work in each of these areas or keep up-to-date with what I’ve been up to via social media on Facebook, Twitter or my blog.
You can contact me on: julie at juleswords dot co dot uk