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I know hardly any Spanish, however I was wondering if there was any difference between sci and si, as in si versus piscina. I know that they could just be artifacts from Latin, but I feel as if there should be some subtle pronunciation difference.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

In theory, it's different: the "s" in piscina is part of the previous syllable (pis-ci-na). In practice, the difference in pronounciation is almost null in regions with seseo (most Latin America), where "s" is pronounced the same as "c". In these regions piscina sounds very similar to pisina, especially in informal conversation. Other examples: ascenso, descendiente. In Spain, it would be different.

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I'm from México and the only thing I can say is that here and all the spanish speaking cuntries in América s and c sound the same so "piscina" sounds as an s. Maybe, the only different thing is that maybe in slow speech could sound as a long s.

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There is a lot of difference. On 'piscina' you have three well differentiated syllables, that of 'pis', 'ci' and 'na', thus having differentiated terminal -s and starting z- sounds.

It is of very poor quality speakers to forget the terminal -s in front of the immediate starting z- and pronounce 'picina' or 'pisina'. It sounds horrible.

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I don't really think it is "of very poor quality speakers" to pronounce it like "pisina" where "c" is pronounced like "s". I would say it is the standard in those places. Don't forget that Spanish is spoken in many countries, with a huge variability of pronounciations. – MikMik Nov 25 '13 at 8:57
On "seseante" or "cecenate" zones it may be true, but for them does not sound horrible because it sounds tha same as their other usual words. I was (of course) talking of standard Spanish, that one which has not "seseo" nor "ceceo". – Envite Nov 26 '13 at 9:46
Right, but that doesn't make non-standard Spanish speakers "poor quality speakers". – MikMik Nov 26 '13 at 10:03
You missed me. Stadandard zone speakers who does not properly pronounce 'sci' are poor quality speakers. I meant nothing about non-standard zone speakers. I myself are from a non-standard zone (a "seseante" one) so I pronounce something like 'pissina', and when somebody with my own accent pronounces so it sounds normal to me, but when somebody from a standard zone pronounces 'pisina' or 'pizina' it sounds very awful to me as well. – Envite Nov 26 '13 at 10:40
Besides, calling standard Spanish the variation that only 10-15% of speakers hold... – Carlos Eugenio Thompson Pinzón Nov 26 '13 at 10:51

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