The palochka or palotchka (Ӏ ӏ; italics: Ӏ ӏ) (Russian: палочка, tr. palochka, IPA: [ˈpaɫətɕkə], literally "a stick") is a letter in the Cyrillic script. The letter usually has only a capital form, which is also used in lowercase text. The capital form of the palochka often looks like the capital form of the Cyrillic letter soft-dotted I (І і), the capital form of the Latin letter I (I i), and the lowercase form of the Latin letter L (L l). The letter was introduced in the late 1930s.
In the early times of the Soviet Union, many of the non-Russian Cyrillic alphabets contained only letters found in the Russian alphabet to keep them compatible with Russian typewriters. Sounds absent from Russian were marked with digraphs and other letter combinations. The palochka was the only exception because the numerical digit 1 was used instead of the letter. In fact, on many Russian typewriters, the character looked not like the digit 1 but like the Roman numeral I with serifs. That is still common because the palochka is not present in most standard keyboard layouts (and, for some of them, not even the soft-dotted I) or common fonts and so it cannot be easily entered or reliably displayed on many computer systems. For example, as of 4 February 2023, even the official site of the People's Assembly of the Republic of Ingushetia uses the digit 1 instead of the palochka.
In the alphabets of Abaza, Avar, Chechen, Dargwa, Ingush, Lak, Lezgian, and Tabassaran, it is a modifier letter which signals the preceding consonant as an ejective or pharyngeal consonant; this letter has no phonetic value on its own.
- Example from Kabardian Adyghe dialect: елъэӏуащ [jaɬaˈʔʷaːɕ], "he asked her for something"
- Example from Avar: кӏалъазе [kʼaˈɬaze], "to speak"
In Chechen, the palochka makes a preceding stop or affricate ejective if voiceless, or pharyngealized if voiced, but also represents the voiced pharyngeal fricative /ʕ/ when it does not follow a stop or affricate. As an exception, in the digraph ⟨хӏ⟩, it produces the voiceless pharyngeal fricative /ħ/. Ingush is similar.
- Examples from Chechen: йоӏ [joːʕ], "girl" and хӏорд [ħoːrd], "sea"
Exceptionally among the Caucasian languages, Abkhaz does not use the palochka, but instead uses a series of special letters to distinguish ejective and non-ejective (aspirated) consonants.
|Unicode name||CYRILLIC LETTER PALOCHKA||CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER PALOCHKA|
|UTF-8||211 128||D3 80||211 143||D3 8F|
|Numeric character reference||Ӏ
- The lowercase form of palochka was added to Unicode 5.0 in July 2006.