Shcha (Щ щ; italics: Щ щ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. In Russian, it represents the voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative /ɕ(ː)/, like 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/. In Kurdish, it represents the consonant /d͡ʒ/. Other non-Slavic languages written in Cyrillic use this letter to spell the few loanwords that use it or foreign names; it is usually pronounced /ʃ/ and is often omitted when teaching those languages.
In English, Shcha is romanized as ⟨shch⟩ or ⟨šč⟩ (with hačeks) (occasionally ⟨sch⟩, all reflecting the historical Russian pronunciation of the letter. That 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 true in Ukrainian but not Russian, where this sound is always more softened. 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 in the Early Cyrillic alphabet was шта (šta) and is preserved in modern Bulgarian; it is pronounced "штъ".
This letter was also used in Komi language for the consonant /t͡ʃ/ (harder than ч), currently represented by digraph тш.
- The dictionary definition of Щ at Wiktionary
- The dictionary definition of щ at Wiktionary