Whenever I see a quotation from the medieval chronicles (or even later sources like the time of Tsar Alexey), ч is followed by ю every single time. When and how did the rule change?

1 Answer 1


Orthography of Russian recension of Church Slavonic uses у and а instead of ю and я after sibilants.

This rule had been mechanically copied into Russian orthography by early Russian grammarians like Lomonosov:

В окончаниях единственного первого лица глаголы с предыдущею согласною имеют всегда у, а ю принимают токмо согласные л, н и р: молю, храню, орю. Итак, неправильно пишут: хочю, лѣчю вместо хочу и лѣчу.

and Vostokov:

Гласные я, ю после ц, ж, ч, ш, щ сами заменяются гласными а, у… Таким образом производится вижу вместо вижю.

So this rule, as well as preserving the ъ at the end of words and making the letter ё a variant of е, not о, is only to make Russian orthography to be more consistent with that of Church Slavonic.

  • It is 100% definite that in Old Church Slavonic the sounds denoted with the letters s, ц, ч, ж, ш, щ were always palatalized.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 8:28
  • @YellowSky: you're right, brain fault on my end.
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 16:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.