The historical roots of British lexicography go back to 7th-8th centuries when Latin was a means of international communication in Europe and the most important texts, first and foremost biblical ones, were written in this language. All religious texts were supplemented with such lists of Latin-English equivalents Ч glossaries. One of the first glossaries is the "Leiden Glossary" in which the pairs of equivalents are arranged in the order of their occurrence in the text.compilers of "Medulla Gramatice" Ч the first Latin-English dictionary which appeared in the 15th century. Later on "Medulla Gramatice" served the basis for the first printed bilingual dictionary "Ortus (Hortus) Voca-bulorum".Among the most well-known bilingual and polylingual dictionaries of this period are "A World of Words, or Most copious, and exact Dictionarie in Italian and English" by John Florio (1598), "A Dictionarie French and English" by Claudius Hollyband (1593), "Alvearic or Tripple Dictionarie, English, Latin, French" by J. Baret (1573).
It should be mentioned in this connection that dictionary-making methodology was gradually evolving over the period of nine centuries, and various lexicographic conventions were adopted. The structure of the entry became fairly complex and the reader could extract more and more information about the lexis of the target language. Lexicographers commented on the morphological structure of the word (derivational affixes were singled out in 1538), its origin and field of usage, took into account synonymy and dialectal differences, used different modes of definition, examples, usage notes and even illustrations to make their dictionaries user-friendly.
One of the aims of scholarly works and also smaller didactic volumes was to help their readers to master West-European languages. It follows that bilingual lexicography has always been pedagogically orientated and the use of the general bilingual dictionary seems to stay as long as translation plays a dominant role in foreign language education.
3. American Lexicography
The first American dictionaries of English were based on British dictionaries of the 18th century. Curiously enough, the first American dictionary was made by a Connecticut schoolmaster whose name was Samuel Johnson in 1798. "A School Dictionary" by S.Johnson .A truly American dictionary was compiled by Noah Webster. His two volume "American Dictionary of the English Language" was published in 1828 and had 70,000 entries. Noah Webster's dictionary contained many Americanisms, that is words borrowed from Indian languages and Spanish which became part and parcel of the American variant of English in the 19th century. Webster's definitions were more precise and scientific than those in S.Johnson's Dictionary oriented at the language of the best British writers. Webster also tried to simplify the spelling and pronunciation that were current in American English of the periodAfter Webster's death in 1843 George and Charles Merriam, publishers from the state of Massachusetts, bought the copyright for his famous dictionary, and now its shorter versions are published under the name of Merriam-Wehster