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Unit 1

1.1 Unit 1: Families in Different Societies

5 min readoctober 29, 2020

emilyguo

Emily Guo


AP Chinese  🇨🇳

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Unit 1 Overview

Unit 1 is all about exploring the idea 💡of family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 in communities that speak Chinese 🇨🇳. Other themes discussed are identities 🆔, life in the current world 🌏, and global challenges !
As you work through this unit, think about these questions❓ :
  1. How do families influence values, beliefs, and traditions in Chinese communities? (在华人社区,家庭是怎么影响到价值观,信仰和传统?)
  2. What does a typical Chinese family look like? (一个普通的中国家庭是什么样子?)
  3. What are some challenges that families face? (家庭要面对哪些挑战?)

1.1: Typical Chinese Family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Family Structure 👪

Traditionally, family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 (家庭jiātíng) is extremely important to the Chinese 🇨🇳 Much of life 🧬 is centralized around family. A mother🤰will be referred to by her child as 妈妈(māma), while the father 👱‍♂️ will be called 爸爸(bàba). Historically, there have been other names to refer to parents, although the only ones commonly used formally will be 母亲(mǔqīn) for mother and 父亲(fùqīn) for father. There are specific names to refer to each member of your immediate family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 and extended family 👵👴, shown in the table below. It is complicated, but don't be scared 😱! Start with your immediate family members 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 and slowly work your way through the extended family 👵👴! There is a lot, but you can do this! You don't need to memorize the whole list, but being familiar with it is very helpful!) :

Strive for Five Vocab 🔑🔑

Immediate Family

  • Mom👩‍👧—妈妈 (māma) or 母亲 (mǔqīn)
  • Dad👨‍👦—爸爸 (bàba) or 父亲 (fùqīn)
  • Wife 👩—老婆 (lǎopó) or 妻子 (qīzi)
  • Husband 👨—老公 (lǎogōng) or 丈夫 (zhàngfū)
  • Older Sister 💁‍♀️—姐姐 (jiějiě)
  • Older Brother 💁‍♂️— 哥哥 (gēgē)
  • Younger Sister 🙋‍♀️—妹妹 (mèimei)
  • Younger Brother 🙋‍♂️—弟弟 (dìdì)
  • Daughter 👧—女儿 (nǚ'ér)
  • Son 👦—儿子 (érzi)

Extended Family

  • Grandparents 👵👴 :
    • Maternal Grandmother—外婆 (wàipó) or 姥姥 (lǎolao)
    • Paternal Grandmother—奶奶 (nǎinai)
    • Maternal Grandfather—外公 (wàigōng) or 姥爷 (lǎoyé)
    • Paternal Grandfather—爷爷 (yéyé)
  • Aunts 👱‍♀️& Uncles 🧓:
    • Mom's Brother—舅舅 (jiùjiu)
    • Dad's Older Brother—伯伯 (bóbo)
    • Dad's Younger Brother—叔叔 (shūshu)
    • Dad's Sister's Husband—姑父 (gūfu)
    • Mom's Older Sister—姨妈 (yímā)
    • Mom's Younger Sister—阿姨 (āyí)
    • Mom's Brother's Wife—舅母 (jiùmā)
    • Dad's Older Sister—姑妈 (gūmā)
    • Dad's Younger Sister—姑姑 (gūgū)
    • Dad's Older Brother's Wife—伯母 (bómǔ)
    • Dad's Younger Brother's Wife—婶婶 (shěnshen)
  • Cousins 🙆‍♀️🙆‍♂️ (based off if they have the same last name as you):
    • Dad's Brother's Son (older than you) (same last name)—堂哥 (táng gē)
    • Dad's Brother's Son (younger than you) (same last name)—堂弟 (táng dì)
    • Dad's Brother's Daughter (older than you) (same last name)—堂姐 (táng jiě)
    • Dad's Brother's Daughter (younger than you) (same last name)—堂妹 (táng mèi)
    • Dad's Sister's or Mom's Sibling's Son (older than you) (different last name)—表哥 (biǎo gē)
    • Dad's Sister's or Mom's Sibling's Son (younger than you) (different last name)—表弟 (biǎo dì)
    • Dad's Sister's or Mom's Sibling's Daughter (older than you) (different last name)—表姐 (biǎo jiě)
    • Dad's Sister's or Mom's Sibling's Daughter (younger than you) (different last name)—表妹 (biǎo mèi)
  • Nephews & Nieces 👶 :
    • Sister's daughter—外甥女 (wàishēngnǚ)
    • Brother's daughter—侄女 (zhínǚ)
    • Sister's son—外甥 (wàishēng)
    • Brother's son—侄子 (zhízi)
  • In-Laws 🙅 :
    • Wife's mother—岳母 (yuèmǔ)
    • Husband's mother—婆婆 (pópo)
    • Wife's father—岳父 (yuèfù)
    • Husband's father—公公 (gōnggong)
    • Older Sister's Husband—姐夫 (jiěfū)
    • Older Brother's Wife—嫂子 (sǎo zi)
    • Younger Sister's Husband—妹夫 (mèifū))
    • Younger Brother's Wife—弟妇 (dìfù)
    • Daughter-in-Law—儿媳妇 (ér xífù)
    • Son-in-Law—女婿 (nǚxù)
  • Grandchildren 🧒 :
    • Granddaughter (through your son)—孙女 (sūnnǚ)
    • Granddaughter (through your daughter)—外孙女 (wàisūnnǚ)
    • Grandson (through your son)—孙子 (sūnzi)
    • Grandson (through your daughter)—外孙子 (wàisūnzi)
AND THAT ⬆️ wraps up the extremely complicated family tree in Chinese-speaking societies. Any questions? 👀
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-HBYZDULvrIZQ.png?alt=media&token=754c1a07-39a9-4094-92bb-fc61861d2292

Image Courtesy of Flickr

Families in Chinese Society

In the past, as reflected through some of the family terms listed above (notice the use of the word 外 (wài), meaning outside ↙️↘️, to describe those related through females 👩‍💼 in the family). Once a woman got married 💑, she lived with her husband's family (depicted in the image above is a bride 👰 being carried to her future husband before the historically traditional wedding 💒). This brings her "closer" to the family she married into, therefore the relatives onher side are considered 外 ↙️↘️.
In addition to this, traditionally, Chinese societies are patriarchal 👬 and men are seen as carrying down the lineage ↕️ Compared to other countries, when a woman in a Chinese-speaking society gets married 👰, she does not take her husband's last name ❕ This stresses the fact that the woman is seen as 外 ↙️↘️, once again tying back to how her relatives are also considered 外 ↙️↘️
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-QBuKZ3wRdeiW.png?alt=media&token=9b0969e9-c1ee-480d-ac40-02f8df32dc4f

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The role of women in families 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 was to continue the family line and bear sons 🤱 They were then expected to be taking care of the home🏡 for the family. Men typically were the money makers 🤑 and supported the family in public 📢 The image above is from 1904, where a Chinese immigrant is with his 3 wives and 14 children. This depicts the historical traditions and how a woman was expected to be submissive to her husband. Fast forwarding in time 🔁, equality among genders is supported, showing a stark difference 📈 from the past.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-Q8EPSDAMOZgD.png?alt=media&token=36d31f97-6256-4a5f-8fd1-b693b268cfa0

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

That brings it to the present ⏳, where there have been changes📈 slowly made to the traditional culture, but since it has been such a large part of Chinese culture, the change is progressively slow. In comparison to the West ⬅️, relying on family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 and being dependent 👫 on one another is an important part of Chinese society, while independence 🙋‍♀️ is strongly supported in the West ⬅️ This can be reflected through the living habits of Chinese-speaking communities. Many households have three 3️⃣ generations living under one 1️⃣ roof, leading to the grandparents having a larger say in the youngest generations' life through influence.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-bYMZ6SGs177I.png?alt=media&token=8f608a18-1bda-4492-b739-59c0ba398f3a

Image Courtesy of Pikist

Strive for Five Vocab! 🔑🔑

  • 家庭(jiātíng)—Family
  • 屋子(wūzi)or 房子(fángzi)—House
  • 父权制(fùquánzhì)—Patriarchal
  • 父系的(fùxì de)—Patrilineal
  • 传统(chuántǒng)—Traditional
  • 现代(xiàndài)—Modern
  • 洋气(yángqì)—Western Style
  • 城市(chéngshì)—City
  • 乡下(xiāngxià)or 农村(nóngcūn)—Countryside/Rural
  • 结婚(jiéhūn)—Marry
  • 离婚(líhūn)—Divorce
  • 单身妈妈(dānshēn māmā)/单亲妈妈(dānqīn māmā)—Single mother
  • 单身爸爸(dānshēn bàba)/单亲爸爸(dānqīn bàba)—Single father

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