Does the rule that "ш" cannot be soft (unpalatalized) apply when it is followed by a soft sign "шь"?

In the famous song "Никого не Будет в Доме" from "Ирнония Судьбы", there's a line "...из которых хлопья шьют." Beautiful imagery, but how do you pronounce "шьют"?

In the movie, I distinctly hear "шълют" (unpalatalized ш, then л): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n24BCHXB9V0

I've also always wondered how the 2nd person verb endings are supposed to be pronounced: представлаешь, говоришь, etc.


3 Answers 3


There's only one 'Ш' in Russian (except rare dialects), and it's hard. It doesn't matter if it's followed by 'Ь' or not.

On the word "шьют", it is said like 'ШЙУТ'. 'Ь' here denotes that 'Ю' is iotized.

Singers sometimes intentionally make phonetic errors but I don't seem it's true in this particular case.

UPD. Having listened this song one more time, I should say, the pronounce is very clear from the beginning to the end.

  • I agree that the pronunciation is flawless in this song, which is why the "л" sound stuck out at me. However, the fact that others are not hearing that indicates that I'm just mishearing it somehow.
    – supergra
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 18:40

I'm not sure about rules, but usually 'ь' after, uh, hissing consonants (not sure if it's a proper name, but hope you understand) does not alter their pronunciation.

In case of "шьют" 'ь' denotes that 'ю' should be pronounced as 'йу', not as just 'у' (English 'u'). Actually, I can't hear any 'л' in the song, it's 'й'.

In case of "представляешь" and other verbs... I actually don't remember why we need soft sign, but there should be some grammatical rule

And finally, in case of nouns (мышь, ночь...), as far as I remember, soft sign after hissing consonants indicates the word is feminine.

  • 1
    "hissing" -> hushing
    – Matt
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 17:17
  • Correct about "hushing", although I find hissing a better description.
    – supergra
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 18:36
  • I assume the "шь" is present at the end of those words as a vestigial reflection of old Slavic forms which I think were spelled like "представляеши". The fact that they chose to retain the soft sign suggests to me that "ш" was once allowed to be soft.
    – supergra
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 18:39
  • 1
    @supergra the soft sign suggests to me that "ш" was once allowed to be soft wiki says that it was about XIV century or so.
    – Matt
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 18:42

Шлют and шьют are two different words. As it has been noted before, ь in the middle of a word means that the consonant before it and the vowel after it are pronounced separately. Compare: шут and шьют

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