On the grammar of kinship
The semantic category of <i>kinship</i> is reflected in the pronominal system of Italian and its dialects. Standard usage prefers the form <i>mio padre</i> over *<i>il mio padre</i>. Among south Italian dialects, the possessive appears in enclisis on the head noun, as in <i>patreme</i> (Molise). Possessive enclisis is exclusively attested with kinship nouns and the construction is subject to a restriction on definiteness, since speakers reject the definite article as in *<i>il patreme</i>. This paper gives an overview of the grammatical and semantic properties of such constructions in two Italian dialects of the south. Moreover, a brief comparison is made with Scandinavian dialects that to some extent exhibit similar phenomena. It is argued that the grammatical phenomena have a universal origin related to the notion of uniqueness.