Korean language in China

The Chinese Korean language (Korean중국조선말; Hanja中國朝鮮말; RRJungguk Joseonmal, lit.'China Joseon language') is the variety of the Korean language spoken by Ethnic Koreans in China, primarily located in Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning.

Chinese Korean language
Simplified Chinese中国朝鲜语
Traditional Chinese中國朝鮮語
Literal meaningChina Joseon Language
Chinese Korean name

All varieties of Korean except the Jeju language are spoken by members of the Korean diaspora who settled in China before 1949. The educational standard is the North Korean standard language.

Chinese Korean vocabulary is significantly similar to the North Korean standard, as is orthography; a major exception of orthography is that the spelling of some Chinese cities is different (for example, Beijing is called by the Hanja reading of 北京, 북경 Bukgyeong, rather than the South Korean transcription of Mandarin Beijing, 베이징); exceptions of vocabulary are all related to China.


Language standardizationEdit

The text used in the Korean language of Yanbian was originally in Korean mixed script, which made it difficult for a large number of grassroots Korean people to read articles. In 1949, the local newspaper Northeast Korean People's Daily in Yanbian published the "workers and peasants version" which used all-hangul in text, in addition to the existing "cadre version" that had mixed script for the convenience of grassroots Korean people. Starting April 20, 1952, the newspaper abolished the "cadre version" and published in hangul only, soon the entire publishing industry adopted the hangul-only style. On June 28, 1963, Zhou Enlai instructed that the Korean language of Yanbian should be based on the Pyongyang standard of North Korea. Subsequently, the Yanbian Language and History Research Committee standardized the Korean language of Yanbian on the basis of North Korean standard. [1] Currently, the standardized dialect of Korean amongst Chinese-Koreans is similar to that of North Korea due to China's favorable relations with North Korea, and also the proximity of the two nations.

Regional variationsEdit

Yanbian Koreans primarily use Hamgyŏng dialect. Pyong'an dialect is spoken by ethnic Korean communities in Liaoning, while Kyŏngsang dialect is spoken in Heilongjiang.[2]



The southwestern variant of Chinese Korean retains the [ø] pronunciation for ㅚ and [y] for (ㅟ), which have been simplified into [we] and [wi] in standard Korean. The southeastern variant of Chinese Korean does not differentiate the respective pronunciations for [ɛ](ㅐ) and [e] (ㅔ).

Additionally, in the northeast and the southeast regions of this dialect, pitch accent is used.

Chinese Korean also simplifies diphthongs in loanwords into single vowels, such as in the word 땐노 (ddaen-no, "computer"; from Chinese 电脑, diànnăo).


The copula "-ᆸ니까/-습니까" in Standard Korean is rendered as "-ᆷ둥/-슴둥" in dialects of Korean spoken in Northeastern Jilin, and "-ᆷ니꺼/-심니꺼" in dialects spoken in Southwestern Heilongjiang.

At the same time, there are grammatical influences from Standard Chinese, for example:

  • 전화 치다 "make a phone call" (Standard Korean: 전화 걸다). In Chinese, the same sentence 电话 literally means to physically "hit" a telephone, hence the word 치다, "to hit", is used to describe making a phone call.
  • 뭘 주면 뭘 먹는다 "eat whatever is given" (Standard Korean: 주는 건 다 먹는다)


Vocabulary is another differentiating factor in comparison with other varieties of Korean, with usage of words such as 개구리 and 개구락지 (frog). As a result of Chinese influence, there are many words that arise from Modern Standard Chinese.

Some words arise from the eum pronunciation of hanja, for example 공인 (工人, worker) and 판공실 (辦公室, office).

There are also some loanwords that are phonetically transliterated from Japanese that standard Korean doesn't have:[3]

English Japanese Yanbian Korean Standard Korean Remark
Onion たまねぎ Tamanegi 다마네기 Tamanaegi 양파 Yangpa
Radio ラジオ Rajio 라지오 Raji'o 라디오 Rati'o Spelling difference


  1. ^ "我国朝鲜语言文字发展的缘由". 中国人民政治协商会议延边朝鲜族自治州委员会. 2019-07-30.
  2. ^ Park, Youngmae (2003). "A preliminary study on the language of ethnic Koreans in China – toward a sociolinguistic understanding" (PDF). Kyoto University Linguistic Research (22): 1–21. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  3. ^ 朴美花 (2017). "延辺朝鮮語における借用語について - 語彙の借用を中心に -" (PDF). 東京外国語大学記述言語学論集 (in Japanese). 13.
  • 宮下尚子 (2007). 《言語接触と中国朝鮮語の成立》 (in Japanese). 九州大学出版会.
  • 东北三省朝鲜语文工作协作小组办公室 (1985). 《朝鲜语规范集》 (in Chinese). 延边人民出版社.
  • 宣德五; 金祥元; 赵习 (1985). 《朝鲜语简志》 (in Chinese). 民族出版社.