https://www.duolingo.com/dain_

Ш and Щ

Hi!

I'm having trouble understanding the difference between these two letters. I've read that Ш is like an English "sh" and that Щ is like "shch" as in "fresh cheese", but I've also read things that contradict that and say it's more like a longer "shhh".

On top of that, I've watched videos purporting to explain it (like this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClELyKZYSPE) and I just can't hear the difference. They sound the exact same to me :(

2 years ago

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/JeffA2
JeffA2
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I'm told that the "fresh cheese" pronunciation of щ is Ukrainian. It used to be pronounced that way in Russian as well, but not for a long time.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Norrius
Norrius
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This is correct. Pronunciation of щ as шч became obsolete in standard Russian around the 20th century. To a modern speaker it would probably register as simply wrong and not even outdated.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

Ш is always hard and further back in the mouth, and Щ is always soft and in the front of the mouth. Try smiling when you say Щ. It helps.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kpagcha
kpagcha
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But isn't Щ like pronouncing "sh" + "ch" in a quick, condensed sound? Like Polish "szcz" but softer.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Norrius
Norrius
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No, szcz is definitely something different. If you know Polish, Щ is similar to Ś.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kpagcha
kpagcha
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I don't. And I never figured out the difference between sz and ś, only that maybe ś sounds a bit harder?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Norrius
Norrius
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The other way round: sz is hard (well... actually it's “hardened”, but let's just say it's hard) and ś is its soft counterpart. However, щ and ś are not exactly the same from what I read, and neither are ш and sz, but these would've been good approximations if you had background in Polish.

Well, that was the only shortcut I can offer.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TseDanylo
TseDanylo
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Say "Fish church" really fast. It the sh and ch sounds merged.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brzohn
brzohn
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I was taught that "щ" is pronounced like "sh" with the tip of your tongue behind your bottom teeth.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sple00

This helped me: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_palato-alveolar_sibilant https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_alveolo-palatal_sibilant

The "shch" thing I never understood. I rarely hear two consonant sounds. Once I read it was St Petersburg dialect and not teached anymore, but I never been able to get any confirmation so it might be wrong.

Compare the sounds on Forvo: 

http://sv.forvo.com/word/Ш/

http://sv.forvo.com/word/щ/

(By the way Ukrainian has two sequential consonant sounds on forvo)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Shady_arc
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shch is its historical pronunciation. No, it is not pronounced that way in St. Petersburg anymore, though you can hear this pronunciation in the old recordings of Lenin's wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya (who was born in 1869, by the way).

I recorded шуба / щука on Forvo to illustrate the difference between the sounds.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sple00

Still you you often find the instruction to pronounce щ shch. By the way - you have pronounced many of my words at forvo. Thanks a lot.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
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2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JeffLanam
JeffLanamPlus
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Thanks, that did help by displaying the tongue positions.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
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Her other videos are also worth watching.

2 years ago
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