Today I heard from my friend "Э оборотное". I still do not understand why he called it "оборотное". Is there a secret letter "э", which only Russian native speakers know about, which is turned the other way, or could it be written both ways? Maybe, even, there was a reversed letter "э" in old Russian? I am not sure, since the only thing I get in Google, when I type in "э оборотное", are articles about the normal letter "э".

1 Answer 1


"Э оборотное" is just other name for "э". The reason why it's called "оборотное" (sort of reversed) is that modern Russian "е" initially was written as "є" - well, more strictly among other form this one was used as well. Buy the way, this is how it is still written in Ukrainian.

  • Doesn't Ukrainian have both letters "є" and "е"? Apr 6, 2021 at 20:18
  • @OmarL they have both, correct. What they don't have is "э".
    – shabunc
    Apr 7, 2021 at 10:34

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