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The process by which two phonemes, which by definition have the power to distinguish minimal pairs, can become indistinguishable. For example, in English /p/ and /b/ are different phonemes, as can be seen in the different meanings of pan and ban or cap and cab, but following /s/ this opposition is neutralized, and from a phonetic point of view span could just as well be written sban. See also acoustic cue (1).

Subjects: Psychology.

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