The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


With most of the work I do, for reasons of confidentiality, I don't get to talk about it until months after I've finished and it's been published. So I was quite excited this week to find out that a big project I've been doing various bits of work for this year is now "going public" in preparation for its launch in January 2010.

It's a new English coursebook for adult learners from Macmillan, called Global. When I was originally approached last year to write some materials for an eWorkbook to accompany the pre-intermediate level, I have to admit that my first reaction was to say no. I'd been through a phase of writing a lot of companion-type materials for General English coursebooks and was a bit fed up of writing rather standard, formulaic grammar and vocab exercises on the same old topics. The editor gave me the usual spiel about how this book would be 'different', more grown-up, less cliched, and generally much more interesting to work on. But it wasn't until I saw a sample unit that I was sold on it. I'd always found a lot of coursebooks rather 'naff', aimed at a vague 'young adult' audience; not fun enough for children, too square and plodding for teenagers and rather patronising to adults. So it was very refreshing to see an English coursebook with genuinely interesting content, moving away from the usual, predictable topics and contexts. I was even more encouraged when I later discovered that David Crystal, one of my university lecturers as an undergraduate at Bangor University who first inspired me about the English language, was on board. Check out his video about Global English on YouTube.

It was quite challenging to write for - trying to keep the 'Global feel', but staying within the restrictions of the language level. I spent as much of my time online researching interesting information to include as I did actually writing. Inevitably, that meant going down lots of blind alleys, researching ideas that didn't really work out and having to come up with something different, but it was far from boring work.

I'll be really interested to see how the whole Global concept is received once it's launched in full. When you're working as part of a project, you get to be too close up to it and it's difficult to hold it at arm's length and make an objective assessment.

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Blogger Lindsay said...

Hi Julie,

I've just bookmarked your blog! Nice to see you out here, and thanks for the nice words about Global. It is very exciting indeed, and I certainly can appreciate how hard it is to write supplementary material for something like this - what you've done is fantastic, really really good!

9:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree, Julie. I edited your work on one of the levels and found it so refreshing. You'd really managed to come up with something new while maintaining the discipline of sticking with the syllabus. A breath of fresh air! Moving on to the next level, written by a different author, I was nervous. But he too had really 'got' it. I'm excited about Global too.

12:56 pm  

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