Listening to Spaniards, what I sometimes hear is that they pronounce:

  • "exacto" as "esacto" o "ejsacto",
  • "fascinante" as "facinante",
  • "excepción" as "ecepción" (or "ekcepción", I don't really know).

Am I correct to hear that?

Is this way of pronouncing words correct? It really appeals to me, but I don't want to get corrected pronouncing words this way.

Is it a specific accent which has got these features?

Does it happen outside of Spain?

  • 1
    I've heard that many times in spoken Spanish, it's very common the intrusive j or "eh"(uh-ə-ɛ-ɪ) and not "es" in unstressed positions as in exacto->eh-sahk-taw, ehk-sahk-taw, ej-sahk-taw // excepción->eh-sep-syawn , ek-sep-syawn , ej-sep-syawn even between educated people.
    – cocteau
    Jul 23, 2021 at 2:31

1 Answer 1


Oh, the mess you've stumbled upon. Basically, you're right. There's a lot of people who say what you heard. And lots of other people who say it differently.

In theory, the "x" between vowels should sound as /ks/ (like the x in the English taxi) and, although it's a fact that many people just say "esacto", that's not the proper way.

In fact taxi being pronounced "tasi" can be seen as vulgar but is totally understandable and used.

About "fascinante", the "sc" is indeed mostly pronounced as "c" by everybody who uses the /z/ sound for the "c" and as "s" by the people who uses the /s/ sound for the "c" ("seseo"), and sometimes the /s/ sound wins even among those who don't do "seseo". The combination /sz/ tends to be seen as too complicated. But, again, the proper way is to do the /s/ sound followed by /z/ - I haven't heard (in the 15 years I've lived in Spain) anyone say it like that other than facetiously, except maybe on the daily news or similar.

Finally, "excepción" is a mix between the first case and the second, it's hard to do the whole /ksz/ sound so most people just do /kz/ (or /ks/ in the "seseo" zones). The full /ksz/ sound would be seen as facetious, but just reducing it to /z/ would be seen as vulgar/uneducated.

And there's another school of using the /j/ sound for the "x" so you might even hear /jz/ or /js/ on "excepción" - especially near Madrid (they are famous for their j) - but the /j/ sound is not used for every "x", you will never hear "taji", for example. On the first link there's also an explanation about how and when "x" should sound as "j".

Strangely, the "taxi" to "tasi" and similar deformations just don't happen in the parts of Latin America I'm familiar with (Chile, Argentina, Perú, Bolivia, Costa Rica) where they do "seseo". The other two cases also apply on their "seseo" versions for these countries too.

  • If I were you, I would give concrete examples, with the "sounds like" x and then the IPA sound. Most learners can't just follow the phonemes.
    – Lambie
    Jul 23, 2021 at 22:53
  • I don't deem it worth it in this case as the phonemes in this case are self explanatory, and were the ones that the OP used in their examples.
    – user29577
    Jul 26, 2021 at 4:45
  • Generally, we ask for examples if potential posters ask for them.
    – Lambie
    Jul 26, 2021 at 13:34
  • The OP did not use phonemes.
    – Lambie
    Jul 27, 2021 at 17:05
  • Yes, they didn't use the IPA notation. But they said: "exacto" as "esacto" o "ejsacto", "fascinante" as "facinante", "excepción" as "ecepción" (or "ekcepción", I don't really know). I said: "fascinante", the "sc" is indeed mostly pronounced as "c" by everybody who uses the /z/ sound for the "c" and as "s" by the people who uses the /s/ sound for the "c" ("seseo") I personally find that explanation enough. Happy to explain more and amend the answer if there's an actual doubt about the answer. Also, if you have concrete suggestions for improvement, they are most welcome!
    – user29577
    Jul 27, 2021 at 19:26

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