Translation:A niece is the daughter of your brother or sister.
It changes to whichever comes first. Meanining had "sorella" come before "fratello" in this sentence, it would be "tua."
Nay. It defaults to simply whichever comes first. If "sorella" had come first, it would have used "tua" in stead.
Not at all; gender invariant means that the word doesn't change with gender, not that it can only have one gender. So "un insegnante" is a male teacher, and "un'insegnante" a female one. For some nouns there is actually a distinct feminine form (e.g. un leone / una leonessa), but those are the exception, like the masculine or invariant nouns in -a (e.g. un artista / un'artista).
My question is on the use of tuo rather than tua. I am pretty sure the objects are brother and sister but is the distinction of which gender to use based of of what you list first or is it when there are both genders listed you go with the masculine or is it choice? long question but I wish to understand not just memorize.
Look at it this way: you can only unequivocally say "my nephew" or "my grandchild" when you only have one, which wasn't such a common case, as families used to be large. The Middle English "neve" had the same ambiguity as Italian and the Latin "nepos", and in current Dutch "neef" means both cousin and nephew.
P.S. You normally don't need an article before "mia nipote".
If the first comment has to do with english, i disagree my friend..when you only have one, you use apparently the word "only"..e.g My only son/child etc..Appart from this, i still cannot understand (in Italian) how somenone can clarify to whom exactly is referring...For example, is there something else to be added before the word "nipote"?
You missed my point :) If you say "my son is coming to pick me up", the listener has to interpret it as "one of my sons" unless they know you only have one son: thus it is still not clear who you are referring to. In rural societies a family could easily have one hundred members (in China there are still many villages where everyone shares the same surname); in those times the only important relationships were those to the head of the family and first-degree relations (with their spouses). So, in many languages, English included, the rest of the family were just generically "relatives". Nephews, cousins and grandsons indicated a second-degree relationship who had some chance to inherit, and thus were somehow more noteworthy, but not enough to be picky about it. Many languages have evolved some distinction, but in Italian the only way to avoid the ambiguity is still to go the long way and say "my brother/sister/son/daughter's son".
Impressed with your anthropological/historical knowledge. Well done.
In Maltese, we have the same issue: nephews/nieces/grandchildren are referred to with the same words: "neputi" (m) or "neputija" (f), which, I'm very sure, have been inherited from the Italian (we are neighbours after all).
And, yes, there are languages that make distinctions between nieces/nephews/grandchildren depending on which side of the family they are, that is, whether they are paternal or maternal relations. This largely depends on the lineage 'system' of the society in question.
Languages have lots of different ways to distinguish or group family member terms. Italian's is close to English, but not perfectly so.
Consider that your mother's brother and your father's sister's husband are both "uncle" in English, but they're pretty distinct relationships: you share genes with only one of them. Surely it would be reasonable in some language to make this distinction.
Here's a cool video describing how Kinship Systems in a few different languages work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOi2c2d3_Lk
If you though Nipote was confusing, we have it easy!
In Cantonese there are specific names for family relationships depending exclusively on whether the relationship is on the paternal or maternal side (for the most part).
Grandfather: Gung gung (maternal) / Yah yeh (paternal)
Grandmother: Ngoi poh (maternal) / Poh poh (paternal)
Aunt: Ah yee (maternal) / Gu jeh (paternal)
Uncle: Kou fu (maternal) / Ah sook (paternal)
No distinction between maternal/paternal lines
Nephew: Zhat jai (maternal) / Zhat jai (paternal)
Neice: Zhat lui (maternal) / Zhat lui (paternal)
SAME BUT AGE AND GENDER RELEVANCE
No distinction between maternal/paternal lines. You will call them different things depending on whether they are older or younger than you and depending on their gender.
Cousin (Female): Piu mui (younger) / Piu joh (older)
Cousin (male): Piu dai (younger) / Piu gor (older)
And you don't even want me to get into siblings, which are named by gender, by age relevance and by order of birth!
The children of your cousins are your 2nd cousins, and their children are 3rd cousins. Cousins remain cousins never elevated to any other category, but only change their degree. Sometimes also refered to by such terms as "My cousin once removed" or "twice removed" as the generations pass
Nephews and nieces have the same identification as grandchildren in Italian, nipotes.The term "removed" refers to the number of generations separating the cousins themselves. So your first cousin once removed is the child (or parent) of your first cousin. Your second cousin once removed is the child (or parent) of your second cousin. And your first cousin twice removed is the grandchild (or grandparent) of your first cousin.