Aqui comiença vn vocabulario en la lengua castellana y mexicana,
The first Spanish-to-Nahuatl dictionary was also the earliest work of lexicography printed in the Americas. Its author, Alonso de Molina, arrived in New Spain as a child and quickly learned the most common language of Central Mexico. As the language of the fallen Mexica empire, Nahuatl was the lingua franca through which missionaries reached other linguistic and ethnic communities. In the prologue, Molina describes Nahuatl as copious and elegant, full of exquisite and artful metaphors. Confessors should learn Nahuatl, says Molina, because a doctor who can’t understand his patient is ill-equipped to find a cure. Molina later published a two-way dictionary (Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana, 1571), which served as a model for similar linguistic works printed in the colonial period.