The History of Spelling Prefi xes with -z, -s in the Pre-reform Period

2023. № 1, 88-102

Ul’yana I. Turko, Bunin Yelets State University (Russia, Yelets),, ORCID ID 0000-0001-8604-0457


The article examines the spelling of the words with prefixes ending in -z, -s. Based on the texts of fi ction and scientifi c literature of the late XVIII — early XX centuries, the author analyzes the spelling of words and identifi es trends in spelling norms. The paper reveals that at the end of the XVIII century, during the formation of the book style, lexicographic sources took into account the Church Slavonic tradition and recommended writing prefi xes with -z, however, there were deviations from spelling norms in written speech practice. Lexicographic publications of the middle of the XIX century refl ect the change in the spelling norm. However, whereas the spelling of prefi xes voz-, iz-, niz-, raz- that were in front of the voiceless consonants was changed during the historical period from the end of the XVIII century to the beginning of the XX century, the spelling of prefi xes bez-, chrez-/cherez- remained stable. The spelling of prefixes was quite stable when the fi nal consonant was in the position before the letter s. In most cases, there is adherence to the rule and the use of the letter z before the root s. The preservation of the fi nal z in the prefi x is correct from the point of view of tradition, and its spelling, taking into account the subsequent letter, is correct in regards to phonetics. In the competition of etymological and phonetic principles applied to spelling prefi xes on -z, -s, the phonetic principle turned out to be the most resilient.


For citation:

Turko U. I. The History of Spelling Prefi xes with -z, -s in the Prereform Period. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2023. No. 1. Pp. 88–102.


The author is grateful to the anonymous reviewer, whose valuable comments made it possible to clarify some of the provisions of this work.