I have noticed some people from Andalusia pronouncing the combination "st" in reverse in a word, as "ch" (for example "donde está" will sound like "donde echá"). Is it a particularity of the local accent of some kind of slang? In what areas, if any, can this pronunciation be heard?

  • 1
    What you're hearing is actually [ts], which is phonetically very close to "ch" [tʃ]. I remember being puzzled by this same sound when I spent a few days in Andalusia.
    – pablodf76
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 21:04
  • Related question: Is there a rule for s-aspiration?.
    – pablodf76
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 1:08

1 Answer 1


This affrication of /st/ is indeed particular to Western Andalusian:

An affricated dentoalveolar stop [ts] (listo [ˈlitso]) has been described as a variant of /st/-clusters. This sound is perceptually and acoustically similar to [th], another /st/-allophone in Seville Spanish.

The study reports that it more often occurs in younger, educated speakers, and in informal speech:

The frequency of occurrence of [ts] was negatively correlated with age and speech formality level, and positively correlated with the level of education. The social distribution of [ts] suggests a sound change in progress in Seville Spanish.

The study posits the novel sound change: [ht] ⟶ [th] ⟶ [ts] (noting that this affricate has not been described in the traditional dialectological studies).

Also note the distinction between Eastern and Western realization of /s/ aspiration when it occurs before consonants (pre- and post- respectively):

In Eastern Andalusian Spanish, /sp, st, sk/ clusters are usually realized with preaspiration [hp, ht, hk], whereas in Western Andalusian Spanish, postaspiration [ph, th, kh] is much more frequent, at least among younger speakers...

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