Shta (Щ щ; italics: Щ щ), Shcha or Sha with descender 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/. 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) or occasionally as ⟨sch⟩, all reflecting the historical Russian pronunciation of the letter (as a combined Ш and Ч). English-speaking learners of Russian are often instructed to pronounce it in this way although it is no longer the standard pronunciation in Russian (it still is in Ukrainian and Rusyn, as above). 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 ().
Related letters and other similar characters
|Unicode name||CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER SHCHA||CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER SHCHA|
|UTF-8||208 169||D0 A9||209 137||D1 89|
|Numeric character reference||Щ
|Named character reference||Щ||щ|
|KOI8-R and KOI8-U||253||FD||221||DD|
|Code page 855||250||FA||249||F9|
|Code page 866||153||99||233||E9|