Chinese Culture and Language Research Paper

Pages: 10 (2586 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Communication - Language


"Chinese is not only the only civilization whose history goes back five thousand years, but it is the longest surviving and continuing literary tradition in the world." (Gu, 2011, p. 7)

It would be safe to say that China has managed to preserve its culture due to its ability to appreciate ideas related to a monarchy, with Mao's governing being somewhat similar to keeping a kingdom. Regardless of the condition of its peoples, China managed to maintain its literary tradition and this played an important role in shaping its language and the way that it interacts with Chinese-speaking individuals. "This historical accumulation of idioms substantially expanded the horizon of Chinese imagination and elevated its reasoning." (Gu, 2011, p. 7)

The Chinese culture is impressive because of the way it kept its diversity through time and concentrated on a type of fluidity that assisted people to preserve their traditions and values in spite of the numerous ideologies that dominated the culture through time. It is actually impressive to observe how language survived the test of time and, in contrast to other mediums, is currently one of the principal elements that people use with the purpose to express their values.

VI. Language as a cultural barrier

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As previously emphasized, learning a language's background in addition to learning the language itself can be especially problematic. The amount of ideas that a person needs to take in so as for him or her to be able to gain a proper understanding of the language and its culture is much bigger than the amount of information one usually accumulates when learning a language. This is perfectly exemplified by non-Han speaking communities in China. In spite of being minorities that have resided in the territory for hundreds and even thousands of years, these groups have preserved a great deal of traditions and thus make it impossible for the Chinese society to assimilate them. "The number and diversity of languages used by the non-Han peoples of China is a formidable barrier to the popularization of education in China's rural and remote frontier regions." (Postiglione, 1999, p. 95)

TOPIC: Research Paper on Chinese Culture and Language Assignment

While Mandarin Chinese has been widely adopted across the country as the official language, there are numerous communities where people refrain from accepting its role. The fact that there are very little language teachers meant to address these minorities makes matters even more complicated. Conditions in many minority communities are critical because cultural values respected in many of these respective groups have nothing to do with cultural values promoted in China in general. Numerous individuals there feel that they directly act in disagreement with their traditions if they 'yield' and accept to be assimilated by the larger, Mandarin speaking, culture (Postiglione, 1999, p. 95).

While things are confusing when concerning particular minorities and their relationship with the widely appreciated Mandarin culture, matters are especially complex when considering Tibetans. A great deal of people in Tibet considers that learning Mandarin Chinese is the only solution for them to have a normal life and to be able to succeed in achieving their goals. The fact that they have access to a wider range of opportunities as a consequence of knowing Chinese is believed by many to be an advantage. Individuals in urban areas are typically the ones who feel that it would be important for Tibetans to learn Mandarin Chinese (Wang, 2013, p. 51).

In contrast to Tibetans who feel that it would be in their country's best interest to adopt Mandarin Chinese as the official language, the majority of individuals in Tibet actually consider that doing so would lead to their cultural values being destroyed. "This massive use of Mandarin Chinese in Tibet has devastating effects on Tibetan language learning and Tibetan language maintenance." (Wang, 2013, p.51)

The fact that Chinese is strong both because of the way it requires individuals to learn it in order to experience success in a professional life and because it pervades their lives through the cultural ideas it contains is definitely posing a complex question. In some cases it would be essential for Chinese to become an active element in a community, as it can make the difference between individuals who are educated and those who are not. In other cases, it can pervade a culture to the point where it destroys it and individuals who formerly appreciated it simply abandon its teachings in order to adopt Chinese cultural values.

While the situation concerning Tibetans is divisive, matters are less complex when it comes to cultures promoted in other communities. Many minority languages in China have no written form and are spoken by very little people, this representing one of the primary reasons why they gradually become extinct. It would certainly be wrong to say that one should simply accept the fact that his or her language is outdated and should disappear. However, in many instances progress is taking its course -- with a great deal of minority languages having been lost with or without the recent progress experienced by Mandarin Chinese. "In the Manchu ethnic group, with a population of several million, there are only a dozen elderly people who can speak their native language in the remote village in Northeastern China, Helongjiang Province; the Hui group has lost their language and they use Mandarin Chinese." (Wang, 2013, p. 52)


All things considered, the Chinese language plays a significant role in international affairs today. From the early pictographic characters meant to describe ideas to modern Mandarin that contains characters that have nothing to do with physical representation or phonetics, Chinese has experienced a great deal of evolution and managed to preserve important cultural values as it progressed. The fact that present-day Chinese have become an international economic force further contributes to cementing the role that the language plays today, taking into account how it has the tendency to make individuals speaking it interact with Chinese cultural values and identity.

Works cited:

Gu, S. (2011). "A Cultural History of the Chinese Language." McFarland.

He, A.W. & Xiao, Y.(2008). "Chinese as a Heritage Language: Fostering Rooted World Citizenry." Natl Foreign Lg Resource Ctr.

Postiglione, G.A. (1999). "China's National Minority Education: Culture, Schooling, and Development." Psychology Press.

Wang, Y. (2013).… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Chinese Culture and Language.  (2014, March 13).  Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

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"Chinese Culture and Language."  13 March 2014.  Web.  1 December 2021. <>.

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"Chinese Culture and Language."  March 13, 2014.  Accessed December 1, 2021.