Ronichi tangoshu is a Russian-Japanese vocabulary, which is said to be written by Gonza, a man from Satsuma who drifted to Russia by boat in the 18th century. In the vocabulary, two letters were used to represent the vowels which correspond to /e/ in the present-day Satsugu Dialect : 'e' and 'Б', for example, eдa (eda 'branch'), Бкаки (ekaki 'painter'). In this paper, by examining the use of these two letters in Ronichi tangoshu, the Russian orthographical system at that time and the phonological system in the present-day Satsugu Dialect, I conclude that there were phonological distinctions between /e^1/ and /e^2/ in the syllables e (at word-initial position), ke, ge, se, ze, te, de, ne, be and me in the Satsugu Dialect in the 18th century, and one or both of /e^1/ and /e^2/ were palatalized. This conclusion is significant for the reconstruction of the history of the Japanese phonological system.
国語学 = Studies in the Japanese language / 日本語学会 編 55 (2), 45-58, 2004-04
The Society of Japanese Linguistics