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What is the difference between Ш and Щ?

Is it just pronunciation or does it serve an actual purpose?

August 31, 2016



"sh" in English "ship" in phonetic terms is a voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant

If you start pronouncing "ship" but hold at the "sh" for a while, you will feel that the front part of your tongue is up near the top of your mouth. With reference to that sound getting to ш and щ represent two distinct changes.

ш is a voiceless retroflex sibilant That means it's a sound a lot like "sh" but with only the tip of the tongue near the top of the mouth, not the whole front of the tongue like in "sh." Basically, just try to produce the "sh" sound just by pointing the tip of your tongue toward the top of your mouth [as if you were going to pronounce an American English "r": h/t va-diim], and I think you'll get close.

щ is a voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant Again, what that means isn't really the point here. But I'm putting the names just to give an idea of how closely they are related. The only difference between "sh" and щ is that the first is "palato-alveolar" and the second is "alveolo-palatal." Basically all that means is that you get even more of your tongue up near the top of your mouth than with "sh."

You might have heard of "palatalized" sounds in Russian. Well, the palate is the top of your mouth, "palatalized" just means the tongue is up by the palate. щ is the "palatalized" version of ш because the whole tongue is up by the palate, whereas for ш it's just the tip.

Obviously I don't write this as a native Russian speaker with an inherent understanding of these sound differences. Nor am I somebody who actually has any linguistics background. I've just read Wikipedia articles and have found them immensely helpful in learning to understand how to pronounce sounds outside my native English. So all those better informed, please correct me!


Spot on. Although 'sheep' would be my example of choice. : )


Basically, it only differs in pronunciation, for example, “борщ” and “машина”. Щ sounds soft, or rather hiss :D


This was helpful ! For me it has been really useful to know the position of the tongue in the mouth pronouncing different sounds.


The most helpful thing for me is to compare ш to the sh sound in shoe whereas щ is like the sh sound in shrimp. They are different for me anyhow.


This is wrong and misleading. The pronunciation of "sh" in ship, shoe and shrimp is the same: /ʃ/ .


I mean I kinda pronounce them a little differently... I live on the west coast of the United States and I’ve been told that I kinda have an accent.... also in some areas people pronounce pin and pen the same while in others it’s different. I dunno tho


that helped a lot thanks


When you say "tip of the tongue near the top of the mouth" in the pronunciation of ш, I understand the position of the tip of the tongue in the vertical axis, but should it be in the front (in the alveolar ridge, near the upper teeth) or in the back (between the alveolar ridge and the hard palate)? If it should be in the back, I suppose the only way to put it there is curling the tongue?

Should my lips be rounded (as when pronouncing /u/) or unrounded (as when pronouncing /i/) ? I get a lower pitch sound with the former and a higher pitch sound with the latter.


Old comment, but I'm replying to say that "way in the back" is correct. This is precisely what is meant by "retroflex" - the tongue is bent back on itself


Check out this to see how to pronounce ш and щ.


There is also an alternative tongue position for ш and щ which is probably less common but some native speakers, including me stick to it.


Here is how I pronounce ш and щ. The tip of the tongue is in the same position for both ш and щ. The tip of the tongue rests in the bottom of the mouth, below the bottom teeth. The middle part of the tongue is raised but doesn't touch the alveolar ridge or palate. The sound is made by forcing air through the narrow opening between the middle part of the tongue and the alveolar ridge. Щ is different in that the opening for it is more narrow and the blade of the tongue is closer to the alveolar ridge (as compared to ш). This gives щ a more "palatalised" sound.


Hm. Do you get the correct sound with the tip at the bottom teeth? I tried the other position... I manged to get sort of close but it still does not sound the same.


I have been meaning for a long time to say thank you for posting this, it was very useful!

[deactivated user]

    Thank you! That helped!


    dear god this is helpful. thank you.


    This video tutorial was very usefull for me.


    At about 5:25 they explain the pronounciation of ш and щ


    Thank you for the link. It makes sense now - ш is the weird one not щ.


    I recommend the video about Russian consonants of the same Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/zltpo15toe0. Ш and щ are better explained there, at 7:58.


    to terrorize poor students of Russian.


    > . . . or does it serve an actual purpose?

    Actual purpose: correct spelling and pronunciation.


    Щ written in IPA is /ɕ/ which means it is the same sound as "kj" in Swedish or "x" in Mandarin Pinyin, if you know any of those two languages.

    In Ukrainian and Belarussian it is pronounced as "shch" and in Bulgarian as "sht", the Russian veraion used to be pronounced like the UKR/BLR version but changed over the last 30 years or so. But try and not confuse them. :)


    Er, it didn't change over the last 30 years or so :) It was more like 130 years. In the mid 20th century there were still some old (educated) speakers who used the shch pronunciation, which, most likely, kept the "shch" in the dictionaries for a while (as an acceptable variation, of course).

    It is hard to blame them, though. The pronunciation was common or even prevalent in St.Petersburg in the 19th century. So, of course, very old people still spoke like that. It is just that they were few in the 1940s and 50s, and almost extinct in the 70s.


    I just found out the pronunciation is different now, when I started to refresh my Russian skills. My generation of Polish students in the sixties and seventies (Russian was mandatory from the fifth grade throughout all schooling) was taught to pronounce it shch and my Russian grand aunt definitely pronounced it this way (she tutored me for a while). However, she was from Moscow and left as an adult in 1919, like my grandmother - they both married Poles.


    This words has different meaning смешать – смещать помешать – помещать


    I want to cry.... :D


    Not an expert myself, but a Russian speaking friend suggested grinning with Щ helps distinguish it from Ш.


    I finally learned how to pronounce Щ after this video – https://youtu.be/ZqghdqzQs_A

    she also has vids about Ш, Ы, Р and other sounds


    Except for the difference in pronunciation, these sounds have different origins. They both have arisen from palatalization of certain consonants - ш (sh) comes from the proto-sounds *sj and *hj, and щ (shch) comes from *tj, *skj, *ktj / *gtj. Strictly speaking, these palatalization rules apply only for Church Slavonic and Bulgarian, but since Standard Russian was constructed by mixing Church Slavonic with Moscovity Russian, щ has remained in modern Russian. The native Russian equivalent of щ (shch) is ч (tsh) - e.g. свечa = 'candle' /of Russian origin/, освещенность = 'illumination' /of Church Slavonic origin/, светлый (m.) = 'bright' /non-palatalized root/. An example for a ш-word is шить (inf) = 'to sew', both coming from the ancient root *syuH- ;)


    Thank you for you historical explanation! I studied Indoeuropean historical linguistics many many years ago, mostly Germanic, but also Sanskrit, and I had a year or so each of Russian and Lithuanian to balance things out - but not the historical part.


    It would be interesting if they did a Sanskrit course on here. I'd definitely take it.


    So would I. It would be nice to see a Latin course, as well.


    that would be very interesting.


    Do you know if the modern distinction of shsh and shch is a dialect thing? Someone further down - a native speaker - says she says chsh.


    I thought the difference in old щ as šč vs. št. was the difference between northern and southern Slavic branches. Old Czech used also šč, but that was changed to šť later.

    Like Rus. щербина, Old Czech ščerbina (modern štěrbina), Polish szczerbina, but Slovak štrbina (southslavism?), Serbocroatian штрбина, coming from *skj.

    Did native Russian change to č later? How should I read др.-русск. щьрбъ in the etymological dictionary?


    I think, "shchir-buh" is about how you would pronounce it.


    So the yers were still pronounced then? I was interested mainly in the щ, but this is interested as well.

    I must confess that I was mispronouncing modern Russian щ all the time. One of the reasons is its transcription, which is šč, both scientific (at least slavistic) and in my native Czech.


    I wonder what is so downvote-worthy here. What have I written wrong? So what is the real difference between those the branches' *skj reflexes?


    I think this thread got hit by downvote trolls (for instance several top-level comments dropped from dozens of upvotes to zero to three), so I wouldn't assume any given vote count has anything to do with substance.


    Спасибо товарищ.


    Well, I'm Russian, sorry for my English, I translate to Yandex.Translator, and try to explain the difference between "ш" and "щ". When you pronounce the "ш" sound, your tongue is about in the middle of your mouth, but when you pronounce "щ" it moves forward along with your jaw. The jaw moves forward literally by millimeters, but it affects the sound. In General, the "щ" sound is softer than the "ш"sound. In Russian, the sound "ш" is always considered to be hard, and "щ" is always soft.


    The question has been asked quite a few times. Unfortunately, Duolingo's forum search leaves much to be desired. Therefore I expect it to be asked over and over again. Anyway . . .

    I posted one explanation here. A few years ago I recorded the pair шуба / щука to illustrate the difference.

    Here and here I tried to explain the difference in pronunciation to an English speaker who was familiar with German.


    So when i come across the шь-ending in say ''ты живё/шь/ в России'' do I actually just pronounce it as живёщ? or do you lift the tongue for palatalization after you made the ''Ш'' ? Do Russians make and or hear a difference or am I thinking too much about this?


    No, -шь is actually pronounced as -ш, without any additional palatalization, "ь" must be here for some historical reasons.


    the other guys responded on your question, but i recommend for you Memrise website, it explains the difference between the Russian letters in a simple way. good luck :)


    RomanDrozd is correct. To clarify further:

    Ш - sounds like "sh" in ship, crush but with the tongue farther back in the mouth

    Щ - sounds like "shsh" in rush-ship. When pronouncing it, try to place your tongue higher and more forward in the mouth than in English.


    Щ in Bulgarian makes the sht sound, in Ukrainian it makes the shch sound, and in Russian it makes the sh sound like in "mushy". The lips are a bit more rounded and more air is pushed through. It's a sharper sound than that of sh as in "ship".


    What is that language that you're level 3 in? The red/white/blue striped flag with the red dot in the middle?


    Guarani! It's an official language of Paraguay alongside Spanish. It's a native South American language! It borrowed some words from Spanish though (like manzana and pan). I'm learning from Spanish, as I am English. It just went into beta today


    jeez, you've learned so many languages D: O


    If you don't mind me asking; with so many languages under your belt, how many of them can you speak conversationally and how many can you kind of just recognize bits and pieces of in a news article?


    I can't wait until this is available for English speakers!

    I know we can take it from Spanish (along with Catalan, which I also can't wait for), but it would be so much easier to go from native to new. I'm not sure my Spanish is good enough for me to trust for use in learning another.


    Yes, definitely having more languages available to English speakers would benefit the website/app. I think having Arabic and/or Mandarin on here would certainly be helpful!


    Both would be great to have, agree! Arabic and Mandarin +1 +1!


    AMEN!!! I was hopin' for some mandarin. I already speak some tho! Arabic will also be cool!!! Nice ideas!xD


    Mandarin would be so cool! i started learning it on an exchange in china, but now i´m back home and of course i want to keep learning it


    Chinese skill it's a great app for Mandarin


    That is so many languages. . So how do you practise them daily?


    That's a lot of languages, man. I envy your ambition.


    The original post is right. In fact, I find it funny how I actually use especially Wikipedia (such as at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA_for_Russian ) since I cannot find a place on this website that officially gives us the IPA.

    So, apparently, Wikipedia taught me how to talk right in different languages since listening to audio on Duolingo is not enough, sadly.


    bien dicho hermano . bien dicho


    I GAVE YOU LINGOT SO BE HAPPY BECAUSE YOUR SMART... whoever you are dont judge me plz


    interesting thanks for the support pal !!!!!


    Thx, i had that question too!


    Great man! thanks for the info!


    They are two different letters that make different sounds and therefore yes, they serve a purpose. It is kind of like the v and w in English. They also are two letters for two very similar sounds (to non-English speakers) that lots of people often confuse.


    Ш makes a hard 'sh' sound Щ makes a soft 'sh' sound


    i guess many English speakers will not get it :-)


    Or we could be honest and say "I don't know".


    First thing first, the letters Ш and Щ -- are not interchangeable. Like in English, one cannot substitute the letter "i" by "e", even sometimes they may be sound-alike.

    There are no equivalents in English alphabet (26 letters) to imitate such sounds, but in Russian alphabet there are 33 letters all together, and some "special" letters for "special" sounds.

    I noticed, that Americans pronounce "SHE" as "ШЫ", but CHICAGO as "ЩИКАГО".

    Try to use translate.google.com, put words "щука, щи, щека, борщ" , select RUSSIAN. Check how it sounds (click on speaker icon), than experiment with "шайка, шуба, шалаш, шея". Hear the difference.


    I agree that the American pronunciation of CHICAGO is another good approximation of Щ. If you pronounce "She" as "ШЫ" in English, you will sound unmistakably Russian. Try Щи as a substitute for "She" when speaking English, instead.


    These are two different letters that look and sound somewhat similar but they are used in different words and never interchangeably.


    Правильно ))


    Спасибо! :)


    They are definitely different, but I haven't fully grasped the distinction yet.

    I have a question if anyone else knows these languages. I know Mandarin Chinese and some Japanese as well and I have been told my pronunciation in both these languages is quite good, but I'm still struggling with Russian pronunciation, probably because I haven't worked on it as hard.

    Is Ш a little like what is written "sh" in Mandarin Pinyin, and Щ like "x" and like the Japanese "shi" as in "し"?


    It sure seems so, though it may depend on a speaker. Note that Щ is a long consonant, so it is like っし in Japanese.

    I can confirm that the pronunciation of ざっし in Japanese here by male speakers has a consonant that sounds amazingly similar to the Russian Щ. I still think that they use the blade of their tongues a bit more than we do—at least when they start their "sshi". However, it is very close.


    As an English/Mandarin Chinese biligual, the difference between sh and x ([ʂ] versus [ɕ] for those familiar with IPA) is what I use to remember ш and щ. I'm not an authority on Japanese, but seeing that し is indeed an aveolopalatal fricative, pronounced very similar to the x of pinyin, I would imagine it's about the same. As others have pointed out, most native English speakers are not sensitive to the subtle difference between “should” and “sheep” until after exposure to languages that do differentiate between the two (and sometimes not even then). Since the two pronunciations within the phoneme do not affect meaning, there is no reason to notice the difference in the first place––until they do affect it, as in Russian, Polish, Mandarin etc!


    I am a native speaker in both Japanese and Russian. "し" can be pronounced either "shi" or "si" ? Depends on people, region or word. Ш to me sounds close to "ch" in French. The two sounds are much more apart from should and sheep. Ш is definitely does not sound like should (if you pronounce should with Ш, you will really sound like a Russian speaking English; so maybe listen to Russian speaking in English and saying should).


    I haven't used duolingo until recently and I'm mainly using it as my mum's family is russian and I'd like to speak with them.

    Naturally they've taught me a little bit and I've caught some very bare basics from ear.

    If you know what ь (Myerkiznak) is, It's basically like that.

    ш is your standard "sh" sound, while щ is sort of like ш that has a ь after it.

    Aka it's basically the same but more muffled and soft at the end, Kind of like you whisper it away with your breath.

    I'm not the best at describing so sorry if this didn't really help you. But in summary, щ = шь.


    Hi All, Ш and Щ are just different sounds. Learn the difference by listening to a real, human native Russian speaker. Please do not try to map it to a combination of letters and other sounds. Both Ш and Щ are single, continuous sounds. I am Russian, BTW.


    Couldn’t agree more!


    Hi All, Please do not waste your time trying to map the sounds to any Latin letter combinations as it makes no sense and will never help you. Ш and Щ are just different sounds. Learn the difference by listening to a real, human native Russian speaker. There are some videos which can help. Both Ш and Щ are single, continuous sounds (as in the accent-neutral St Petersburg Russian) and cannot be learned via English sounds.


    Wow, huge thread, huh? Here is what I feel about it -strictly subjectively - as a random native. Those are 2 different characters ,they sound differently and form different words. On other hand they are a sort of sister letters with Ш to be basic, more fundamental, and Щ as something of secondary value , kinda 'soft Ш". That is how it came to my mind when I was a kid and I don t see it changes Very speculatively - since Ш can not get soft itself , for unknown reasons ( unlike other consonants) we probably needed something to get the system balanced


    The point is there are at least 2 ways щ can be pronounced and there is no difference in the pronunciation between шь and ш . First, let us have a look at ш . This sound is different from the English "sh" in the word "ship" in that respect, that it is non-palatalized, it is always 'hard' (Russian 'твёрдый') (Use website https://russian.stackexchange.com/.../difference-in-pronunciation-between-щ-and-шь to know it aswell)


    Щ soft and Ш hard


    Bloody hell is this discussion still ongoing? I laugh every time I get yet another email. LOL.


    If you do Chinese, “ш” is like “sh” and “щ” is like “x”.


    Suggestion to the moderator, if there is any - please delete all posts of obvious ignorance and nuisance when people share their 'knowledge' while actually having no clue. Also delete all posts related to Ш and Щ in the languages other than Russian (the topic is Ш and Щ in Russian). Then close the topic for further comments. That would make the topic useful. Right now, no one would go through 500+ posts, mostly repetitive and not useful.


    Oh my... OK, I'll try going over this extremely long discussion tomorrow.


    I think it is just the pronunciation. One is pronounced hard but the other is soft.


    For those of you that are still struggling to find the difference : ш is like “tr” in the word “tree” - see how the tr sounds like sh but your tounge up to the roof? щ is like the “sh” in “sheep” or “shoe”, its the one you’re used to


    Ш is pronounced in the middle of your mouth, while щ is pronounced closer to the teeth on your palate. щ should result in a higher pitch than ш.


    I believe the Penguin book on Russian describes щ as the sound in Welsh sheep. To me the щ sounds higher pitched than ш


    Is this thread still going? Hahaha. Eventually I had to decide how I was going to pronounce these two letters. I couldn't wait for you lot to reach some sort of consensus! So here's how I pronounce them:

    ш — the sound made when saying "shh" to one person, as in "shh, it's a secret". There's even an emoji for this (which duolingo won't let me post). Laminar airflow.

    щ — the sound people make at the cinema when trying to shut up someone who is making too much noise. There is no emoji for this sound (because you don't put your finger in front of your lips; can't see it in the dark anyway). Louder. Turbulent airflow.


    thanks helped a lot,.


    What a crazy heated debate!


    I do щ by putting the tip of my tongue down and raising the middle to my palate, then the sound is made by forcing the air through the gap between the palate and the tongue while making the "sh" sound.

    Then for ш I raise the tip of my tongue up slightly, which flattens out the middle and back of my tongue. Then make the "sh" sound.

    The щ sound is higher pitched and a little longer than the ш sound.

    It's difficult to tell the difference at first but keep listening to words with these sounds in and it will become clearer.


    Native Russian speaker here. I do ш and щ similarly -- in the way you've described ш. I do щ not as you said, but in the same way as ш, just more whistling and higher pitched.


    I wanted to write something like the sound of ш has much more resonance, sounds more hollow, because of the gap you make between your tongue and you palate being much bigger. You describe it much better :)


    Some questions about ш:

    • I assume that "raising the tip of the tongue" is not curling it, but rather raising the entire tongue in the Y axis, right? I don't understand how one could raise only the tip of the tongue without raising the middle and back too. I thought that sound was done by curling the tongue to the back of the mouth, between the alveolar ridge and hard palate. Am I mistaken?

    • How raising the tip of the tongue flattens out the middle and back of the tongue?

    • Does the tip of the tongue or its middle touch the soft or hard palate?


    Ш is a harder and Щ is softer. for example ЩУКА (a pike) is pronounced like ЩЮКА
    ШУБA (a fur coat) is pronounced ШУБA but ЩИТ (a shield) - ЩИТ ШИП (a spike) -ШЫП


    AlexeyGolo4, as a native Slavic Speaker i can hear very easy the difference between the two letters, in my lanuage they exist as well. I would like to say to be careful with your Statements. In russian ЩУКА (a pike) is NOT pronounced like ЩЮКА, the correct pronunciation would be more like ШЮКА (exept for that Ш is almost like double pronounced). It is really difficult sometimes to explain a sounds from one to another language. Still, it is always a good thing to check your infromation with a native before you announce it as a correct solution. Anyways, good luck and have a nice time while learning! =)


    Good luck with pronunciation of something like "ШЮка". Even the word парашют is in fact pronounced with "у" instead of "ю".

    At the same time "ЩУ" does sound as non existent "щю", otherwise this simple rule for Russian children wouldn't be necessary: ЧУ-ЩУ – пиши с буквой У.


    ЖИ-ШИ, ЧУ-ЩУ, ЧА-ЩА )


    Щ is a lighter sound and is used for different words. Ш is a harder sound and you can't use ы after it. You have to use и instead.


    You'll find that the second one is softer


    I would add, verbs with 'C' like писать conjugate to: Я пишу.

    Where as words with CT often go to щ like Чистить to Я чищу.

    Your question could be answered additionally just like how in English we had C and S. Cents or sense, pronounced the same but used differently.

    By this I do not mean they are pronounced the same,

    I think it's obvious that щ= Shch and ш= Sh.

    I was explaining in terms of grammar and root knowledge. A root with C is to ш and CT to щ.


    I just realized an English word that contains a sound very close to the Russian Щ: "sexuality"

    Since it's said like sek-shyoo-a-lit-ee", that "shyoo" becomes very close to Щ.


    Hey y'all, I'm learning Russian and I'm wondering if anyone knows a good way to start reading books in Russian to help speed this along. I can get books in Russian but of course there's no real space to write translations. I'm guessing there's some kind of program/app for this?


    Children's books!


    this one has plagued me even while taking Russian in college. And having a native speaker as a spouse has helped way more than what was taught.

    We all understand the "Ш" sound as "shh" , but the Щ doesn't actually sound that much different to our ear -but does to a native (we have our own examples of that in english, for example, "bath" and "bass"(the fish) sound very similar to my wife).

    What I do for Щ, is I protrude my lower jaw out a little bit, and try to push the "sh" sound down and out from my lower jaw. So think of Ш as a "sh" that is being release from your mouth when you open the gate (upper and lower teeth)...and Щ is a "sh" that is released from under the upper gate (upper teeth); this is done by moving the tip of your tongue higher (toward the roof of your mouth). The "shch" and "shsh" I was taught, just makes my wife laugh - as she says i'm "just saying it wrong twice, instead of once." :)


    because Ш is hard , and Щ is soft . thats the difference .


    Ш - [sh] Щ - [sh']


    I had a problem teaching my students this because they can't tell the difference. (They are American) I am having trouble explaining it.


    depending on the language: If you're talking about Russian I don't really see any Ukrainian щ is pronounced shch Bulgarian щ is pronouced sht...


    My teacher told me that ш is spellen as shs and щ is spellen shhh :)


    the first is a sh- sound and the second is hard to explain but it sounds the something sizzling.


    They are pronounced differently. The words don't sound quite right to a native speaker if you don't differentiate them. It would the same if someone pronounced the words "man" and "men" the same.

    They have been very troublesome letters for me, personally - trying to hear the difference, let alone pronounce them correctly. After literally hours spent on the subject, here is my two cents.

    First, I really like the explanation from the first lesson in Duolingo:

    "For ш and ж your tongue is lower than in English and slightly bent back. Щ has all your tongue raised—it is a longer and more hissy sound."

    Then, another time, a light bulb went off for me when I was told that ш is the non-vocalized version of ж. So practice saying ж, and then keep your tongue in that position and just force air over your tongue. That is a ш. It feels as though you are just using the back sides of your tongue to make the sound. Your mouth opens sideways a little.

    Then contrast that with Щ which is still a sound made by forcing air over the tongue, but now your whole tongue is used (kind of like the sh in shoe). Your mouth makes more of a round shape, with slightly pursed lips, which helps create the hissy sound.

    I hope this helps someone. Because I know it was a very frustrating aspect of Russian pronunciation for me.


    The term is "voiced", not "vocalized". And the difference between voiced and unvoiced sounds is that your vocal cords are vibrating in voiced sounds - its not really about "forcing air over your tongue".

    As for tongue position: Start with an S sound. Then pull your tongue back a bit, and point the tip up towards the roof of your mouth. This is, roughly, the position for ш and ж. As for Щ, starting with an S and then folding the tip of your tongue down behind your lower teeth should get you in the ballpark.


    I am a native speaker of Russian - just will try to answer from this point of view..... :-) Щ is "softer" if that makes sense.. The purpose is to "work together" with soft vowels, I believe. But there is really not a huge difference, I would say, just pronounce Ш - like "sh" in shower and Щ imagine adding a really quick "y" or "i" after it - like "sh'y" with a really quick Y. I hope this helps a little! I really don't know how you guys do it, some Russian letters are just weird!


    They sound slightly different. Read "Щ" like "ШЬ" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_sign )


    Ш-hard sound Щ- soft sound for instance: ШЬ = Щ (if you did't undertand)


    Is there a consensus yet on how to pronounce these two sounds? I'd like to get it right, LOL.


    ask a chinese person to read shi and xia you will understand the difference perfectly!


    Yes, just look for the most upvoted comments.


    The russian Щ is different from the bulgarian Щ ??? Russian Щ is more like "sh" + "ye" , I saw "sh' " Is it like "t' "?


    I wonder how they pronounce Ш and Щ in Belarusia? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUZK1yXmneM


    Hi! Actually , we use Щ as a softer version of Ш and there is no special orphographical rule of using Ш/Щ, we just lean on the pronounciation. For example: Щука, Шапка. In щука you just use softer version of Ш and it creates Щ. How it sounds?Well. Try to pronounce the word "Sheep"-sh sounds softer than in ,for instance, "Shock", right? :) Have a nice day!


    I'd like to revisit this topic just a a little bit: what is the REAL difference, in speech? When would you EVER run into a situation where it would cause confusion if you mixed them up?

    Compare this to people who think there's a difference in English for sheep, shield, should, ship, ... the list goes on. There's obviously no meaningful difference. You can even mispronounce things like "sheep" instead of "cheap" and you would be understood. It depends MUCH more on what makes sense in the particular context.

    If you were asked "is this car sheep or expensive", would you just stand there being stupid for all eternity because the pronunciation was incorrect... or would you think oh, he must have meant "cheap"? I basically assume the equivalent of this also exists in Russian.


    Hello, I am Russian and I want to add that "щ" is close to the sound you would pronounce in English word "sure".


    Somewhere around here I asked this before, but I can't find it: I saw a word that ended in -шь and wondered why it wasn't spelled -щ


    Oh, it is just a conventional spelling of some endings. In Russian, ш, ж, ч, щ have their palatalisation fixed. They stay the same whether you write ь after them or not . So the soft sign get used for other purposes.

    For example, only feminine nouns are spelt with -шь, -жь, -чь, -щь at the end (e.g., ночь, вещь, мышь, ложь, речь). Masculine nouns can only have -ш, -ж, -ч, -щ (e.g., луч, нож, шалаш, сторож, обруч, борщ).


    The difference between the letters Ш and Щ is that the letter Ш gives a hard sound, such as" Машина", and the letter Щ gives a soft sound, such as "Щавель".


    Check out this to see how to pronounce ш and щ.


    There is also an alternative tongue position for ш and щ which is probably less common but some native speakers, including me stick to it.


    Here is how I pronounce ш and щ. The tip of the tongue is in the same position for both ш and щ. The tip of the tongue rests in the bottom of the mouth, below the bottom teeth. The middle part of the tongue is raised but doesn't touch the alveolar ridge or palate. The sound is made by forcing air through the narrow opening between the middle part of the tongue and the alveolar ridge. Щ is different in that the opening for it is more narrow and the blade of the tongue is closer to the alveolar ridge (as compared to ш). This gives щ a more "palatalised" sound.

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