A Study on the Underlying Causes Behind the Declining Trend of Chinese Male’s Authority in Families: A Socio-functional Perspective —Taking a Chinese Dialect Episode: Go! The Whole Family as an Example

Meixia Li, Yuan Xie


Males have had greatest authorities in Chinese families since ancient times. However, it can be sensed that their authorities in families are declining in recent decades. Then such questions arise: first, are there any concrete evidences that can show us that Chinese male’s authority in families is declining? Second, what are the underlying causes behind this declining trend? In this article, based on Halliday’s systemic-functional grammar, esp. the idea about the construction of interpersonal meaning through mood structure, and Bakhtin’s dialogue theory, we did quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data selected from a Chinese dialect episode: Go! The Whole Family. The study reveals that the declining of the Chinese male’s authority in the family has become a publicly recognized convention, and this declining trend is not simply a social phenomenon, rather, it also reflects the universal human nature, that is, the pursuit of equality and humanism.



Chinese Male’s authority; Declining; Underlying Causes; Universal Human Nature; Mood Structure; Dialogue Theory

Full Text:



Bakhtin, M.(1988). Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics. Beijing: Joint Publishing Press.

Cai, W,P., Chen, Z.H., Jiang, B.Z., Yu, F., X. P., & Wang, M . (2014). Keratin 13 Mutations Associated with Oral White Sponge Nevus in Two Chinese Families. Meta Gene, 2: 374–383.

Ding, F.Y. (2000). An Understanding on Family. Zhengzhou: Zhengzhou University.

Gao,Q.(2005).The Changes and Developments of Chinese Family Since Its Reform and Openning Up. Ascent,24(6):139-143.

Goel, S, He, X.G., & Karri, R.J.,(2011). Family Involvement in A Hierarchical Culture: Effect of Dispersion of Family Ownership Control and Family Member Tenure on Firm Performance in Chinese Family Owned Firms. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 2: 199–206.

Halliday, M, A. K. (1994/2008). An Introduction to Functional Grammar. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching & Research Press.

Hyytinen, H. et al (2015). Problematising the equivalence of the test results of performance-based critical thinking tests for undergraduate students. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 44, 1-8.

Henriëtte,De.S. (1998). Introduction to Natural Language Semantics. Stanford: CSLI Publication.

Hsu, F.L.K.(1971).Under the Ancestors’s Shadow. Standford: Standford University.

Hua, J.,Jin, H., Gu, G. X., Liu, M., Zhang, L. J., & Wu, Z.C.(2014).The Influence of Chinese One-Child Family Status on Developmental Coordination Disorder Status. Research in Developmental Disabilities,35: 3089–3095.

Jesperson,O.(2010).Mankind, Nation, and Individual from a Linguistic Point of View. Beijing: World Book Inc.

Li, M.X.( 2006). Functional Grammar: A Course Book. Beijing: Foreign Language Press.

Li W., Eric L.G.,& Matthew, O. H. (2014). Family Factors in Internet Addiction Among Chinese Youth: A Review of English and Chinese Language Studies. Computers in Human Behavior, 31:393–411.

Li, Z. Z.(2002). Interpersonal Meaning in Discourse. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.

Ling, J.H. (2000). The Dialogical Nature of Discourse: A Survey of the Studies of Bakhtin’s Theory. Foreign Language Teaching and Research (bimonthly),32 (3):176-181.

Liu,Y. (2001). Bakhtin’s Dialogics and Chinese Modern Novel’s Dialogic Character. Journal of Northeast Normal University (Philosophy and Social Sciences),193(5):107-116

Ma, H.L.(2013). From ‘Man’ to ‘Splint Male’ ---the Research of Male Image Since the Nineteen Ninties of Chinese Family Ethics Drama. Hefei: Anhui University.

Sun, N. L. (2013). The Family Culture in China’s Contemporary Social Thoughts-- Dual Nature of China’s Contemporary Family Culture. Hebei Academic Journal, 33(4):97-101

Tan, B. Y.(2005). The Study on Bakhtin’s Dialogue Theory. Changchun: Northeast Normal University

Tan, T.X., Camras, L. A., Deng, H.H., Zhang, M.H., & Lu, Z. H. ( 2012). Family Stress, Parenting Styles, and Behavioral Adjustment in Preschool-Age Adopted Chinese Girls. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27:128-136.

Todorov,T.(2001). Bakhtin, Dialogue Theory and Others. Tianjin: Bai Hua Literature and Art Publishing House.

Von Humboldt, W. (2008). On the Diversity of Human Language Construction and Its Influence on the Mental Development of the Human Species. Beijing:World Book Inc.

Wang,N.(2014). How Can Be A Home and The Evolution of Family Patriarchy: The Perspective of Intergenerational Comparison. Shenyang: Shengyang Normal University.

Xu,Y. (2007). The Changing of Chinese Family Ethics--A Perspective from Father’s Image in Chinese Movies. Nanjing: Nanjing Normal University.

Zhang, K.Y. (2000). Open Personality——Bakhtin. Wuhan: Changjiang Literature and Art Press.

Zhou, H.(1999). On the Social Gender of Women Anthropology and Women’s rights. Journal of Xinjiang Normal University (Social Science), 20 (1):34-40.

Zuo, J.P. (2005).The Complexity of Male’s Authority in Traditional Chinese Family--Discussing from Marriages. Collections of Women’s Studies,(3):12-21.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.4n.6p.94


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.