I am a native speaker of Portuguese and for a long time I've wanted to know why some of the rules of the language are the way they are. I am very fond of linguistics and of learning languages, but I am not of the field: it's only an interest of mine. So, there is something I'd like to understand better about Portuguese:
Why does the letter "s" sound like /z/ between vowels? I know the same happens in other Romance languages such as Italian and French, but the opposite happens in Spanish, where "z" sounds like /s/ between vowels (Spanish, in general, sounds a lot more "soft/lose-tongued" then its siblings). I believe there is a name for this phenomenon.