Definitely exists a difference between the three S
So I have been seeing some posts about this question and the responses that were given were not satisfactory at all. First of all the alphabets of Hindi and sañskrit are almost same and there are three types of s. The dental स् s sounds like s in 'sin' The celebral ष् is like sh in shun While the palatal श् is pronounced midway between the two, being the sibilant pronounced in the same place as the German 'ich'.
Ahhh, that helps because DuoLingo pronunciation makes श् and ष् sound identical! (At least I cannot hear the difference)
I have a couple questions if you could indulge me:
I have come to understand ष् is hardly used in modern Hindi, is this correct? When might I encounter it?
What about क्ष? The linguistic description on DuoLingo is 'ksh' but sounds very similar to ष् to me. Is their a difference? (This did not come up in the original alphabet lessons, but has been introduced in the course after learning basic words and phrases)
Well ष is still very much present in hindi and in use for example वर्षा. About modern hindi, one may say that because of one's inability to pronounce it but it is in use.
क्ष is not type of s rather a compound consonant made of क् + ष.
In Sanskrit they represented different sounds but I have read that nowadays most (?) Hindi speakers pronounce them the same way.
That is the point the 'hindi speakers' don't know how to pronounce sanskrit.
I have listened to the sound byte of śa and ṣa on my headphones, using Duolingo, over and over again, and the sound byte sounds exactly the same. Do I have bad hearing or has Duolingo made a mistake in this particular recording?
well the difference is there but not easy to differentiate, many are not able to and it sounds the same to them. About duolingo since I am not using it to learn hindi I would not be able to tell if it pronounces it right or wrong.
well, even if the sound files sound identical it would not change the fact that they are pronounced differently.