Shcha (Щ щ; italics: Щ щ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. In Russian, it represents the voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative /ɕ(ː)/, similar to the pronunciation of ⟨sh⟩ in sheep (but longer); in Ukrainian and Rusyn it represents the consonant cluster /ʃt͡ʃ/; in Bulgarian, it represents the consonant cluster /ʃt/ and in Kurdish, it represents the consonant /d͡ʒ/.
In English, Shcha is romanized as ⟨shch⟩ or ⟨šč⟩ (with hačeks), both reflecting the historical Russian pronunciation of the letter. This can lead to some confusion, as the ⟨ch⟩ in the transcription may seem to indicate that Щ is a combination of Ш and a strong Ч, which is not true of Russian, though it is in Ukrainian. The letter Щ in Russian and Ukrainian corresponds to ШЧ in related words in Belarusian.
The Cyrillic letter Shcha was derived from the Glagolitic letter Shta Ⱋ ().
The name of Shcha in the Early Cyrillic alphabet was шта (šta). This name is preserved in the modern Bulgarian language - it is pronounced "штъ".
Historically in Russian, Shcha represented the consonant cluster /ɕt͡ɕ/, like in the phrase "fresh cheese." Some Russian language primers still prescribe /ɕtɕ/.
The form of the letter Shcha is the letter Cyrillic Sha (Ш ш) with a descender (cf. the Cyrillic letters De (Д д), Tse (Ц ц), Ka with descender (Қ қ), and En with descender (Ң ң).
Related letters and other similar characters
- The dictionary definition of Щ at Wiktionary
- The dictionary definition of щ at Wiktionary