Contextual neutralization

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In phonology, contextual neutralization is the loss of phonological distinctions in a specific environment.


In Dutch, word-final obstruents neutralize: both /t/ and /d/ are realized as voiceless [t] as in /bad/ [bat] and /kat/ [kat].


When an opposition is neutralized in all environments we speak of absolute neutralization.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Kiparsky, P. 1968. Linguistic Universals and Linguistic Change. Reprinted in Explanation in Phonology. Kiparsky, P. 1982, Dordrecht: Foris.