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Home » Language Resources » Spanish Alphabet » Letter S

The Letter S

The Letter S in Spanish

ESE. Unvoiced alveolar fricative consonant

Origen of the letter:
From the Latin S

Example of usage:

The S in Spanish

S” is the twentieth letter of the Spanish alphabet. In its modern form the letter first appeared in the Roman alphabet as an adaptation of the Greek letter sigma, which originated from an Egyptian hieroglyph that represented a flooded garden.

The sound /s/, technically known as a sibilant consonant, can be voiced and unvoiced. In Spanish the letter “S” represents a consonant sound with two basic varieties of pronunciation: One is produced by placing the tip of your tongue almost on the alveolus and leaving an air passage without vibrating the vocal cords. Due to the position of the tongue, this sound has the name “apico-alveolar S”. This pronouncation is predominant in Spain and some parts of America. The other variety, called predorsal, is pronounced by placing the bottom side of the slightly curved tongue so that it is almost resting on the back of the incisors, which lets air pass through this channel. This is the most frequent “S” sound among Spanish speakers, given that it exists in most parts of Latin America and some parts of Spain. The letter “S” may be pronounced like a “Z” in certain dialects such as in Andalusia. The voiced “S” is used in Spanish when the letter is next to another voiced consonant, such as in “desde”. In other languages the letter “S” has other phonetic values, like in English or in Portuguese, where the letter may sound like “SH”, like in “sure” and “portugués”.