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I am aware that the Iberian pronunciation of S is different from the Latin American one – it is sometimes likened to the English “sh” – but I do not know how to pronounce it myself.

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  • It all depends on where in the word the s is. They are not all different.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 18:39

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The pronunciation of the letter S is unique and universal and responds to the position of the tongue contacting the lower teeth and the opening of the mouth:

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Images from logopediayeducacion.blogspot.com


The difference between different accents, not only between the Iberian Peninsula but also between regions of Spain itself and between Latin American countries is the position of the mouth and the extension of the sound when pronouncing it.

For example, in the Spanish of Rio de La Plata, the mouth does not usually half-close when pronouncing the S (the second image above), which causes an aspirated sound, like the "H" in English: Ehpañol. The same happens in areas of southern Spain and mainly in the Canary Islands. On the other side, in the rest of Spain, the "S" is pronounced with the tongue contacting the lower front teeth and the mouth half closed, which when stretching the sound, is sometimes heard as a double "S" giving the sensation of being a "SH" sound when it actually is "SS".

As an exercise, try to pronounce the "S" as it shows in image one, contacting the upper and lower teeth (image 2) and not contacting them, this makes the different "S".

The difference in accents increases it:

  • South-South America and the Canary Islands: Ehhpañol
  • Iberian Peninsula: Esspañol

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