Please skip to 3:37 and take a look at how the s at the end of estamos(h) and entendais(h) are little bit different from the English s. It seems like in-between s and sh sound. I do not know if this is common in Spain or if this person is exaggerating. Is this the standard Castilian Spanish?

If anyone could also give me a link to a good website that clearly explains anything related specifically to this stuff, I'd be appreciated because I could not find much about this 'sh' in the Castilian Spanish.

  • 3
    It's an apical version commonly known as the ese castellana (although you can hear it outside of Castille and even outside of Spain). See my answer (not the accepted answer) at spanish.stackexchange.com/questions/1/… May 20, 2017 at 16:54
  • @guifa - Could you either post your answer again here (great answer) or else vote or flag to close as duplicate? May 20, 2017 at 20:33
  • I'm native Spanish speaker living in Castilla León and I've never ever in my life have heard this 'apical version'. Not even to older people. It sounds more like a portuguese trying to speak Spanish.
    – Trap
    Apr 26, 2018 at 0:47

1 Answer 1


The phonetic realization of /s/ that you're hearing is the apical S that is common in central and northern Spain (as per the answer by @guifa already cited in the comments), although it can also be found in some places in America (Bolivia and Peru). Apical refers to the apex, or tip, of the tongue, which goes near the alveoli (the spaces in the mouth right behind the teeth) as the sound is being produced.

In most other places, /s/ is laminal or dorsal: it's the blade, the upper part of the main body of the tongue which closes in on the alveoli.

The difference between apical and dorsal /s/ is a matter of dialectal phonetics. People who use the different versions will understand each other without a problem.

Another common realization of /s/, usually found when /s/ ends a syllable and another consonant follows, is as an aspirated sound, [h] as in English, or some other guttural realization such as [χ] (uvular fricative). This is a totally different matter, though.

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