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