Unit 2 Overview: The Influence of Language and Culture on Identity

7 min readjanuary 3, 2023



AP Chinese  🇨🇳

53 resources
See Units

Introduction to Unit 2 Overview: The Influence of Language and Culture on Identity

In AP Chinese Unit 2, we will be exploring the relationship between language and culture and how they shape and influence personal identity. We will delve into the complexities of self-expression and self-identification within the Chinese language and culture, examining topics such as personal pronouns, religion, education, and social norms. Additionally, we will discuss the role of government surveillance and censorship in shaping the online identity of Chinese citizens and the impact of these factors on freedom of expression. Overall, this unit aims to provide a deeper understanding of the ways in which Chinese language and culture intersect and shape people’s sense of self and place in the world.

Unit 2 Essential Questions

STUDY TIP: Use the following essential questions to guide your review of this entire unit. Keep in mind, these are not meant to be practice essay questions. Each question was written to help you summarize the key concept.
This unit focuses on exploring identities, both personal and public, and how Chinese language and culture affects and influences them. As you work through this unit, think about these questions:
  1. How does one’s identity evolve over time? (一个人的自我身份认知随着时间如何改变?)
  2. How does language shape our cultural identity? (语言是如何塑造我们的文化认同?)
  3. How does technology influence the development of personal and public identity? (科学技术是如何影响到个人和地区的成长?)


Past Free-Response Questions from Unit 2: The Influence of Language and Culture on Identity

Note: Many free-response questions draw from information and vocabulary from multiple units and don’t fit neatly into one unit only. You will likely see them in other unit overviews as well.

Presentational Writing: Story Narration

Interpersonal Writing: Email Response

Interpersonal Speaking: Conversation

Presentational Speaking: Cultural Presentation

2.1 Personal and Public Identities in China

  • Personal identity in China is restricted, especially for LGBTQ+ and non-binary individuals
  • The official Communist Party in China is atheist, but five religions are recognized: Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Protestantism, and Islam. Chinese folk religion and atheism are also common.
  • Education is highly valued in China and the government requires all children to receive at least nine years of education. Literacy rates in China are high, especially in Beijing and Shanghai.
  • The Chinese economy is the second largest in the world and working overtime is common, especially in the tech industry
  • Annual leave in China is based on years of employment, and holidays are required to be paid days off
  • The Chinese family structure is typically a nuclear family, but there are also extended families and single parent families
  • The Chinese government controls the media and censors certain information and topics
  • Chinese culture values hierarchy, respect for elders, and saving face
  • Chinese food is diverse and includes many regional cuisines, and rice is a staple food
  • The Chinese language has a complex writing system with characters representing ideas or concepts, and a tonal system with four tones
  • The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar cycle and is used to determine holidays and festivals. Festivals and celebrations in China include traditional holidays such as Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival, as well as Western holidays that have been adopted in China.
  • Personal identity in China is influenced by cultural and societal expectations, including gender roles and expectations for education and career success.
  • Chinese culture places a strong emphasis on working hard and being productive, with a common 996 working hour system in some industries and limited paid leave for employees.
  • Chinese society is hierarchical and respect for authority and elders is important, with a focus on maintaining social harmony.
  • Chinese culture values family and interdependence, with a tradition of filial piety and extended family living together or nearby.
  • Social media and internet use is prevalent in China, although the government censors certain content and platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter are blocked.

2.2 Beauty and Aesthetics in Chinese Architecture and Literature

  • Chinese culture associates beauty with balance, harmony, and the natural world
  • In Chinese architecture, beauty is reflected in the use of symmetry and the incorporation of natural elements such as gardens and water features
  • In Chinese literature, beauty is associated with inner qualities like kindness, intelligence, and moral character
  • Chinese architecture has a long history and a distinct aesthetic characterized by symmetry and the incorporation of natural elements
  • Chinese architecture is influenced by a range of styles and influences, including traditional Chinese, Buddhist, and Western styles
  • Some famous examples of Chinese architecture include the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven
  • In Chinese literature, beauty is often conveyed through the use of vivid and descriptive language, as well as through the depiction of inner qualities in characters
  • Some famous examples of Chinese literature include the works of Confucius and the poems of Li Bai
  • The works of Confucius, a Chinese philosopher and educator, are an important part of Chinese literature and are known for their emphasis on moral principles and character development
  • The poems of Li Bai, a Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty, are known for their use of vivid and descriptive language, as well as their themes of nature, love, and the passage of time
  • Chinese literature also includes a wide range of other genres, including novels, plays, and essays, that explore a variety of themes and subjects.

2.3 Chinese Dining Customs and Chinese Cuisine

  • Food culture is an important part of Chinese culture, and food plays a central role in daily life and social interactions
  • Chinese cuisine is known for its diverse flavors and ingredients, and an emphasis on balance and harmony
  • Rice, noodles, and wheat-based products are staples in the Chinese diet, and a variety of vegetables and meats are used in cooking
  • Eating out is popular in China and there is a wide range of restaurants and street food vendors
  • Dining in China is often a social activity and people often share dishes and eat family-style
  • There is also a range of international cuisines available in China due to the country's multicultural and cosmopolitan nature
  • Food is an important part of Chinese celebrations and festivals, with special dishes often prepared for these occasions
  • There are several dining etiquette taboos in China including starting to eat before everyone has been served, making noise while eating, and leaving food on the plate
  • It is also considered rude to stick chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice, as this is reminiscent of incense sticks used in funeral rituals
  • Tea is an important part of Chinese food culture and is often served with meals or as a standalone refreshment
  • There are many different types of tea in China, including green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and herbal tea, each with its own unique flavor and health benefits
  • In some parts of China, it is customary to offer a small gift or token of appreciation when visiting someone's home for a meal
  • In some parts of China, it is also customary to bring food or other gifts when visiting someone who is sick or in need of support
  • Chinese food culture includes a wide range of food-related customs and traditions, such as the use of food as a symbol of good fortune or as a way to honor ancestors.

2.4 Internet and Healthcare in China

  • In China, there is a system called the Resident Identity Card which includes personal information and a chip that can be scanned
  • The government is implementing a Social Credit System which gives and takes away points from citizens based on their actions and can restrict certain actions, such as travel, if a person's points are too low
  • There is significant internet censorship in China, with the government monitoring and restricting online activity that goes against the government and blocking certain websites and social media platforms
  • The government censors information online using the Great Firewall of China, keyword filters, content monitoring, and arrests and detainments
  • There is limited freedom of the press in China, with controversial events and discussions often censored
  • The Chinese government also censors information in traditional media, such as television and newspapers
  • The government has implemented a campaign against "fake news" which is used to justify censorship and crackdowns on independent journalists and news outlets
  • The Chinese government also engages in propaganda efforts to shape public opinion and promote its own narrative.
  • The Chinese government has a history of suppressing political dissent and cracking down on activists and human rights defenders
  • The government has been criticized for its treatment of ethnic minorities, particularly the Uighur population in Xinjiang province
  • The government has also been criticized for its handling of public health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and for its lack of transparency and accountability
  • The Chinese government has a long history of suppressing freedom of religion and has been criticized for its treatment of religious minorities, such as Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners
  • The government has implemented a number of measures to control and monitor the media, including licensing requirements, censorship, and propaganda campaigns

Stay Connected

© 2023 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.