Catholics, cathedrals and boundaries

I just want to ask a question that has been bugging me for a while now and after watching the tutorial of <clothes> I think it is time to ask.  It is crucial to determine the morphological boundaries of words first in order to correctly determine its grapheme-phoneme correspondences since neither graphemes nor phonemes straddle morphological boundaries. Thus we have: shep + herd --> shepherd /'ʃɛpərd/ as expected, there is no /f/ phoneme since there is no <ph> grapheme. My question is why is there a /θ/ in <catholic, cathedral> and a few other words with <t + h> which are of Greek origin when <t> and <h> are within separate morphemes?

Etymonline has the following entry for <catholic>

c.1350, "of the doctrines of the ancient Church," lit. "universally accepted," from L.L. catholicus "universal, general," from Gk. katholikos, from phrase kath' holou, from kata "about" + gen. of holos "whole" (see safe (adj.)). Applied to the Church in Rome c.1554, after the Reformation.

I was expecting <catholic> to have a word sum like <cat + hole + ic> but from its phonology I can peel off only the <-ic> suffix since the <th> is a phonological grapheme -->/ˈkæθəlɪk, ˈkæθlɪk/

I was pretty sure that <cathedral> would have a word sum such as the following <cat + hedr + al> with <t + h> clearly contained in two separate morphemes, but that does not appear to be the case according to its phonology --> /kəˈθidrəl/

Why do the letters <t> and <h> appear to be straddling morpheme boundaries.

Thank for your help.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet