North–South differences in the Korean language

The Korean language has diverged between North and South Korea due to the length of time that the two states have been separated.[1]

The Korean Language Society in 1933 made the "Proposal for Unified Korean Orthography" (Korean한글 맞춤법 통일안; RRHangeul Matchumbeop Tong-iran), which continued to be used by both Korean states after the end of Japanese rule in 1945. But with the establishments of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea in 1948, the two states have taken on differing policies regarding the language.

Researching language differences between North and South Korea has been challenging, and there have been reports of inaccurate results. First of all, it's hard to know how North Koreans use their standard language because of the heavy propaganda against it.[citation needed] North Korea states its standard language as the language of Pyongyang. However, South Korean authors have claimed it is more similar to the pre-divided Seoul dialect than the pre-divided Pyongyang dialect, and suggested that its pronunciation[2] and grammar are based on the Seoul area rather than the Pyongyang area.[3]

In South Korea, there is also heavy political propaganda against the standard language of North Korea, with some officials believing that it is strange that North and South Korean speech are similar,[4] and the lack of information about North Korea means that defectors often speak a dialect rather than a standard language in North Korea.[5]

Some argue that North and South Koreans are also confused by North Korean propaganda and the South's over-interpretation of it. North Korea emphasizes the purity of its language and claims to have reduced the use of foreign words, but the reality is that many foreign words appear in North Korean dictionaries and textbooks. North Korean defectors say they knew that the language spoken by South Koreans contained foreign words, but they didn't realize that the words they used in North Korea also contained many foreign words.[6]

In some cases, South Korean schools have taught North Koreans to use purified words that are not actually used in North Korea, leading to disputes in South Korea over whether a North Korean defector actually uses the word in North Korea.[7] Some scholars have also been reluctant to believe a study that found that the most common loanwords in North Korea were not Russian loanwords but English loanwords.[8]

Development edit

In 1954, North Korea set out the rules for Korean orthography (Korean조선어 철자법; MRChosŏnŏ Ch'ŏlchapŏp). Although this was only a minor revision in orthography that created little difference from that used in the South, from then on, the standard languages in the North and the South gradually differed more and more from each other.

In the 1960s, under the influence of the Juche ideology, came a big change in linguistic policies in North Korea. On 3 January 1964, Kim Il Sung issued his teachings on "A Number of Issues on the Development of the Korean language" (조선어를 발전시키기 위한 몇 가지 문제; Chosŏnŏrŭl Palchŏnsik'igi Wihan Myŏt Kaji Munje), and on 14 May 1966 on the topic "In Rightly Advancing the National Characteristics of the Korean language" (조선어의 민족적 특성을 옳게 살려 나갈 데 대하여; Chosŏnŏŭi Minjokchŏk T'ŭksŏngŭl Olk'e Sallyŏ Nagal Te Taehayŏ), from which the "Standard Korean Language" (조선말규범집; Chosŏnmalgyubŏmchip) rules followed in the same year, issued by the National Language Revision Committee that was directly under the control of the cabinet.

From then on, more important differences came about between the standard language in the North and the South. In 1987, North Korea revised the aforementioned rules further, and these have remained in use until today. In addition, the rules for spacing were separately laid out in the "Standard Spacing Rules in Writing Korean" (조선말 띄여쓰기규범; Chosŏnmal Ttiyŏssŭgigyubŏm) in 2000 but have since been superseded by "Rules for Spacing in Writing Korean" (띄여쓰기규정; Ttiyŏssŭgigyujŏng), issued in 2003.

South Korea continued to use the Hangeul Matchumbeop Tong-iran as defined in 1933, until its amendment "Korean Orthography" (Korean한글 맞춤법; RRHangeul Matchumbeop), together with "Standard Language Regulations" (Korean표준어 규정; RRPyojuneo Gyujeong), were issued in 1988, which remain in use today.

As with the Korean phonology article, this article uses IPA symbols in pipes | | for morphophonemics, slashes / / for phonemes, and brackets [ ] for allophones. Pan-Korean romanized words are largely in Revised Romanization, and North Korean-specific romanized words are largely in McCune-Reischauer. Also, for the sake of consistency, this article also phonetically transcribes as /ʌ/ for pan-Korean and South-specific phonology, and as /ɔ/ for North-specific phonology.

Hangul / Chosŏn'gŭl edit

The same Hangul / Chosŏn'gŭl letters are used to write the language in the North and the South. However, in the North, the stroke that distinguishes |tʰ| from |t| is written above rather than inside the letter, as is done in the South.

In the South, the vowel digraphs and trigraphs|ɛ|, ㅒ |jɛ|, ㅔ |e|, ㅖ |je|, ㅘ |wa|, ㅙ |wɛ|, ㅚ |ø|, ㅝ |wʌ|, ㅞ |we|, ㅟ |y|, ㅢ |ɰi|, and the consonant digraphs ㄲ |k͈|, ㄸ |t͈|, ㅃ |p͈|, ㅆ |s͈|, ㅉ |tɕ͈|, are not treated as separate letters, whereas in the North they are. Some letters and digraphs have different names in the North and in the South:

Letter North Korean name South Korean name
|k| 기윽 [ki.ɯk̚] 기역 [ki.jʌk̚]
|t| 디읃 [ti.ɯt̚] 디귿 [ti.ɡɯt̚]
|s| 시읏 [ɕi.ɯt̚] 시옷 [ɕi.ot̚]
|k͈| 된기윽 [tøːn.ɡi.ɯk̚] 쌍기역 [s͈aŋ.ɡi.jʌk̚]
|t͈| 된디읃 [tøːn.di.ɯt̚] 쌍디귿 [s͈aŋ.di.ɡɯt̚]
|p͈| 된비읍 [tøːɯp̚] 쌍비읍 [s͈aŋ.bi.ɯp̚]
|s͈| 된시읏 [tøːn.ɕi.ɯt̚] 쌍시옷 [s͈aŋ.ɕi.ot̚]
|tɕ͈| 된지읒 [tøːn.dʑi.ɯt̚] 쌍지읒 [s͈aŋ.dʑi.ɯt̚]

The names used in the South are the ones found in the Hunmongjahoe (훈몽자회, 訓蒙字會, published 1527). The names used in the North are formed mechanically with the pattern "letter + 이 + 으 + letter". Also for the tensed consonants, in the South, they are called "double" (쌍- /s͈aŋ-/) consonants, while in the North, they are called "strong" (된- /tøːn-/) consonants.

Sort order edit

  • Initial consonants
[k] [n] [t] [l] [m] [p] [s] [tɕ] [tɕʰ] [kʰ] [tʰ] [pʰ] [h] [k͈] [t͈] [p͈] [s͈] [tɕ͈] [∅]
  [k] [k͈] [n] [t] [t͈] [l] [m] [p] [p͈] [s] [s͈] [∅] [tɕ] [tɕ͈] [tɕʰ] [kʰ] [tʰ] [pʰ] [h]
  • Vowels
  [a] [ja] [ɔ] [jɔ] [o] [jo] [u] [ju] [ɯ] [i] [ɛ] [jɛ] [e] [je] [ø] [y] [ɰi] [wa] [wɔ] [wɛ] [we]
  [a] [ɛ] [ja] [jɛ] [ʌ] [e] [jʌ] [je] [o] [wa] [wɛ] [ø] [jo] [u] [wʌ] [we] [y] [ju] [ɯ] [ɰi] [i]
  • Final consonants
North: (none)
South: (none)

In the North, the consonant letter (|∅| and |ŋ|) is placed between |s| and |tɕ| when pronounced |ŋ|, but after all consonants (after |tɕ͈|) when used as a placeholder indicating a null initial consonant (for syllables that begin with a vowel).

Pronunciation edit

Dialects of Korean

The standard languages in the North and the South share the same types and the same number of phonemes, but there are some differences in the actual pronunciations. The South Korean standard pronunciation is based on the dialect as spoken in Seoul, and the North Korean standard pronunciation is based on the dialect as spoken in Pyongyang.[9] However, South Korean authors have argued that the standard language of North Korea is actually not based on the Pyongyang dialect, but rather on the 1933 norms, which are based on the Seoul dialect. For example, in the view of such authors the dialect of Pyongyang has 8 monophthongs, while the standard North Korean language has 10 monophthongs, like the old Seoul dialect.[10]

Consonants edit

The following differences are recognised in the consonants. In the Seoul dialect, ㅈ, ㅊ and ㅉ are typically pronounced with alveolo-palatal affricates [tɕ], [tɕʰ], [tɕ͈]. In the Pyongyang dialect, they are typically pronounced with alveolar affricates [ts], [tsʰ], [ts͈]. Also, and can be pronounced without palatalisation as [tsi] and [si] in the Pyongyang dialect.

In the South, when /n/ or /l/ are at the beginning of a Sino-Korean word and are followed immediately by /i/ or /j/, they are dropped, and when ㄹ /l/ is not immediately followed by /i/ or /j/, it becomes ㄴ /n/, with this change being indicated in the orthography. But all initial /n/ and /l/ are written out and pronounced in the North. For instance, the common last name 이 [i] (often written out in English as Lee, staying true to the more conservative typography and pronunciation), and the word 여자 [jʌdʑa] are written and pronounced as 리 [ɾi] and 녀자 [njɔdʑa] in North Korean. Furthermore, the South Korean word 내일 [nɛiɭ], which means "tomorrow", is written and pronounced as 래일 [ɾɛiɭ] in North Korea. But this latter pronunciation was artificially crafted using older pronunciations in the 1960s, so it is common for older speakers to be unable to pronounce initial /n/ and /l/ properly, thus pronouncing such words in the same way as they are pronounced in the South.

In South Korea, the liquid consonant [ɾ] does not come after the nasal consonants [m] and [ŋ]. In this position, is pronounced as [n] rather than [ɾ]. But in North Korea, before vowels , , , and can remain [ɾ] in this context (or assimilate to [n]).[11]

Hangul Hanja North South
침략 侵略 [tsʰimnjak̚] ch'imnyak or [tsʰimɾjak̚] ch'imryak [tɕʰimnjak̚] chimnyak
협력 協力 [hjɔmnjɔk̚] hyŏmnyŏk or [hjɔmɾjɔk̚] hyŏmryŏk [hjʌmnjʌk̚] hyeomnyeok
식료 食料 singnyo or singryo singnyo
청류벽 淸流壁 ch'ŏngnyubyŏk or ch'ŏngryubyŏk cheongnyubyeok

Vowels edit

Some South Korean linguists argue that the vowel system in the North Korean standard is based on the Pyongyang dialect. The vowel ㅓ /ʌ/ is not as rounded in the Seoul dialect as it is in the Pyongyang dialect. If expressed in IPA, it would be [ʌ̹] or [ɔ̜] for the one in Seoul dialect and [ɔ] for the one in Pyongyang dialect. Due to this roundedness, speakers of the Seoul dialect would find that ㅓ as pronounced by speakers of the Pyongyang dialect sounds close to the vowel ㅗ /o/. Additionally, the difference between the vowels /ɛ/ and /e/ is slowly diminishing amongst the younger speakers of the Seoul dialect. It is not well known if this is also happening with the Pyongyang dialect.

However, other South Korean linguists have argued that North Korean linguistic texts suggest that the vowel system and articulation positions of the North Korean standard language were completely consistent with those of the South.[12] In particular, the rules stipulated 10 monophthongs, just like the old Seoul dialect.

Pitch edit

The pitch patterns in the Pyongyang and Seoul dialects differ, but there has been little research in detail. On the other hand, in the Chosŏnmal Taesajŏn (조선말대사전), published in 1992, where the pitches for certain words are shown in a three-pitch system, a word such as 꾀꼬리 ([k͈øk͈oɾi] "black-naped oriole") is marked as having pitch "232" (where "2" is low and "3" is high), from which one can see some difference in pitch patterns from the Seoul dialect.[clarification needed]

Orthography edit

Inflected words edit

Informal non-polite suffix 어/여 edit

In words in which the word stem ends in ㅣ |i|, ㅐ |ɛ|, ㅔ |e|, ㅚ |ø|, ㅟ |y|, ㅢ |ɰi|, in forms where -어 /-ʌ/ is appended to these endings in the South, but -여 /-jɔ/ is instead appended in the North. In actual pronunciation, however, the [j] sound often accompanies the pronunciation of such words, even in the South.

Inflected word North inflection South inflection Meaning
피다 [pʰida] 피여 [pʰijɔ] p'iyŏ 피어 (펴) [pʰiʌ] ([pʰjʌ]) pi-eo (pyeo) bloom
내다 [nɛːda] 내여 [nɛjɔ] nae-yŏ 내어 (내) [nɛʌ] nae-eo(nae) take out
세다 [seːda] 세여 [sejɔ] se-yŏ 세어 (세) [seʌ] se-eo(se) count
되다 [tøda(tweda)] 되여 [tøjɔ] toe-yŏ 되어 (돼) [tøʌ,tweʌ],([twɛ,twe]) doe-eo (dwae) become
뛰다 [t͈wida] 뛰여 [t͈wijɔ] ttwi-yŏ 뛰어 [t͈wiʌ] ttwi-eo jump
희다 [çida] 희여 [çijɔ] hi-yŏ 희어 [çiʌ,çijʌ] hi-eo white

Indication of tensed consonants after word endings that end with ㄹ edit

In word endings where the final consonant is ㄹ |l|, where the South spells -ㄹ까 (|-[l.k͈a]|) and -ㄹ쏘냐 (|-[l.s͈o.nja]|) to indicate the tensed consonants, in the North these are spelled -ㄹ가 |-l.ka|,-ㄹ소냐 || instead. These etymologically are formed by attaching to the adnominal form (관형사형 gwanhyeongsahyeong) that ends in ㄹ, and in the North, the tensed consonants are denoted with normal consonants. Also, the word ending -ㄹ게 |-l.ɡe| used to be spelt -ㄹ께 |-l.k͈e| in the South, but has since been changed in the Hangeul Matchumbeop of 1988, and is now spelt -ㄹ게 just like in the North.

Sino-Korean words edit

Initial ㄴ / ㄹ (두음법칙[頭音法則, dueum beopchik], "initial sound rule") edit

The poster of March 1960 South Korean presidential election. Note that the surname Lee (Hanja: 李, written as "이" in South Korea today) of Syngman Rhee and Lee Ki-poong were still printed as "리".

Initial ㄴ |n| / ㄹ |l| appearing in Sino-Korean words are kept in the North. In the South, in Sino-Korean words that begin with ㄹ which is followed by the vowel sound [i] or the semivowel sound [j] (when ㄹ is followed by one of ㅣ |i|, ㅑ |ja|, ㅕ |jʌ|, ㅖ |je|, ㅛ |jo| and ㅠ |ju|), ㄹ is replaced by ㅇ |∅|; when this ㄹ is followed by other vowels it is replaced by ㄴ |n|. In the North, the initial ㄹ is kept.

North South Hanja Meaning
리성계 [ɾisɔŋɡje] Ri Sŏnggye 이성계 [isʌŋɡje] I Seonggye 李成桂 Yi Seong-gye
련습 [ɾjɔːnsɯp̚] ryŏnsŭp 연습 [jʌːnsɯp̚] yeonseup 練習 practice
락하 [ɾakʰa] rak'a 낙하 [nakʰa] naka 落下 fall
랭수 [ɾɛːŋsu] raengsu 냉수 [nɛːŋsu] naengsu 冷水 cold water

Similarly, in Sino-Korean words that begin with ㄴ |n| and is followed by the vowel sound [i] or the semi-vowel sound [j] (when ㄴ is followed by one of |i|, |jʌ|, |jo| and |ju|), in the South, this ㄴ is replaced by ㅇ |∅|, but this remains unchanged in the North.

North South Hanja Meaning
니승 [nisɯŋ] nisŭng 이승 [isɯŋ] iseung 尼僧 priestess
녀자 [njɔdʑa] nyŏja 여자 [jʌdʑa] yeoja 女子 woman

These are thus pronounced as written in the North as ㄴ |n| and ㄹ |l|. However, even in the South, sometimes in order to disambiguate the surnames 유 ( Yu [ju]) and 임 ( Im [im]) from 유 ( Yu [ju]) and 임 ( Im [im]), the former may be written or pronounced as 류 Ryu ([ɾju]) and 림 Rim ([ɾim]).

Hanja pronunciation edit

Where a Hanja is written |mje| or |pʰje| in the South, this is written |me|, |pʰe| in the North (but even in the South, these are pronounced /me/, /pʰe/).

North South Hanja Meaning
메별 |mebjɔl| mebyŏl 몌별 |mjebjʌl| myebyeol 袂別 sad separation
페쇄 |pʰeːswɛ| p'eswae 폐쇄 |pʰjeːswɛ| pyeswae 閉鎖 closure

Some hanja characters are pronounced differently.

North South Hanja
|kɔ| |kjak̚| gyak
|ø| oe |wɛ| wae

Also in the North, the hanja is usually pronounced as su [su], except in the word 怨讐/원쑤 wŏnssu ("enemy"), where it is pronounced as ssu [s͈u]. It is thought[by whom?] that this is to avoid the word becoming a homonym with 元帥 ("military general"), written as 원수 wŏnsu |wɔ|.

Word stems in compound words edit

While the general rule is to write out the word stem from which the compound word is formed in its original form, but in cases where the etymological origin is no longer remembered, this is no longer written in original form. This happens both in the North and in the South. However, whether a compound word is seen to have its etymological origin forgotten or not is seen differently by different people:

North South Meaning
옳바르다 |ɯ.ta| 올바르다 |ɯ.ta| upright
벗꽃 |pɔs.k͈otɕʰ| 벚꽃 |pʌtɕ.k͈otɕʰ| cherry blossom

In the first example, in the South, the |ol| part shows that the etymological origin is forgotten, and the word is written as pronounced as 올바르다 [olbaɾɯda] olbareuda, but in the North, the first part is seen to come from 옳다 olt'a |olh.ta| and thus the whole word is written 옳바르다 olbarŭda (pronounced the same as in the South). Conversely, in the second example, the South spelling catches the word as the combination of beot and kkot, but in the North, this is no longer recognised and thus the word is written as pronounced as 벗꽃 pŏtkkot.

Spacing edit

In the South, the rules of spacing are not very clear-cut, but in the North, these are very precise. In general, compared to the North, the writing in the South tends to include more spacing. One likely explanation is that the North remains closer to the Sinitic orthographical heritage, where spacing is less of an issue than with a syllabary or alphabet such as Hangul. The main differences are indicated below.

Bound nouns edit

Before bound nouns (North: 불완전명사: purwanjŏn myŏngsa/不完全名詞 "incomplete nouns"; South: 의존 명사: uijon myeongsa/依存名詞 "dependent nouns"), a space is added in the South but not in the North. This applies to counter words also, but the space is sometimes allowed to be omitted in the South.

North South Meaning
내것 naegŏt 내 것 nae geot my thing
할수 있다 halsu itta 할 수 있다 hal su ittda to be able to do
한개 hangae 한 개 han gae one thing (counter word)

Auxiliaries edit

Before auxiliaries, a space is inserted in the South but not in the North. Depending on the situation, however, the space may be omitted in the South.

North South Meaning
먹어보다 mŏgŏboda 먹어 보다/먹어보다 meogeo boda/meogeoboda to try to eat
올듯하다 oldŭt'ada 올 듯하다/올듯하다 ol deutada/oldeutada to seem to come
읽고있다 ilkkoitta 읽고 있다 ilkko ittda to be reading
자고싶다 chagosip'ta 자고 싶다 jago sipda to want to sleep

In the above, in the rules of the South, auxiliaries coming after -아/-어 or an adnominal form allow the space before them to be omitted, but the space after -고 cannot be omitted.

Words indicating a single concept edit

Words formed from two or more words that indicate a single concept in principle are written with spaces in the South and without spaces in the North, as in Chinese and Japanese.

North South Hanja Meaning
국어사전 kugŏsajŏn 국어 사전 gugeo sajeon 國語辭典 Korean dictionary
경제부흥상황 kyŏngjepuhŭngsanghwang 경제 부흥 상황 gyeongje buheung sanghwang 經濟復興狀況 state of economic recovery
서울대학교 인문대학 Sŏultaehakkyo Inmuntaehak 서울 대학교 인문 대학/서울대학교 인문대학 Seoul Daehakgyo Inmun Daehak/Seouldaehakgyo Inmundaehak 서울大學校人文大學 Faculty of Humanities of Seoul National University

Note that since the spacing rules in the South are often unknown, not followed, or optional, spellings vary from place to place. For example, taking the word 국어 사전 gugeo sajeon, people who see this as two words will add a space, and people who see this as one word will write it without a space. Thus, the spacing depends on how one views what "one word" consists of, and so, while spacing is standardised in the South, in reality the standard does not matter much.

Morphology edit

Nominal Morphology edit

Sai siot (사이 시옷, "middle ㅅ -s") edit

When forming compound words from uninflected words, where the so-called "sai siot" (-ㅅ- interfix), originating from an Old Korean genitive suffix, is inserted in the South. This is left out in the North.

North South Pronunciation Meaning
저가락 |tɕɔ.ka.lak| 젓가락 |tɕʌs.ka.lak| 젇까락 [tɕʌt̚k͈aɾak̚] chŏtkkarak/jeotkkarak
or 저까락 [tɕʌk͈aɾak̚] chŏkkarak/jeokkarak
나무잎 |ʰ| 나뭇잎 |na.mus.ipʰ| 나문닙 [namunnip̚] namunnip (tree) leaf

Pronominal Morphology edit

Second person pronoun 동무 tongmu edit

Besides the deferential second person pronoun 당신 tangsin, which is a noun in origin, there is the pronoun 동무 tongmu (plural 동무들 tongmudŭl), from a noun meaning "friend, comrade", in North Korea that may be used when speaking to peers.

Third person feminine pronoun edit

The third person feminine pronoun is South Korea is 그녀 geu-nyeo (plural 그녀들 geu-nyeodeul) while in North Korea it is 그 녀자 kŭ nyŏja (plural 그 녀자들 kŭ nyŏjadŭl), both literally meaning "that woman".

Verbal Morphology edit

Informal polite suffix 오 -o edit

In the South, the polite suffixes are 요 /-jo/ after a vowel and 아요/어요 /-ajo, -ʌjo/ after a consonant. In the North, the suffixes 오 /-o/ and 소 /-s͈o/ are appended after a vowel and a consonant respectively. The northern forms of the suffix are older and considered obsolete in South Korea now. However, suffixes such as 아요/어요 and 요 are not uncommon in North Korea, and are even used in the nursery rhyme "대홍단감자(Daehongdan Potato)," which is a common expression in the standard North Korean language that can be used for children.

Informal polite suffix
Inflected word North inflection South inflection Meaning
가다 [kada] 가오 [kao] ka-o 가요 [kajo] ka-yo go
먹다 [mʌk̚t͈a] 먹소 [mɔk̚s͈o] mŏk-so 먹어요 [mʌɡʌjo] meog-eoyo eat
뛰다 [t͈wida] 뛰오 [t͈wio] ttwi-o 뛰어요 [t͈wiʌjo] ttwi-eoyo jump

p-irregular inflections edit

In the South, when the word root of a ㅂ-irregular inflected word has two or more syllables (for example, 고맙다 [komap̚t͈a] gomapda), the ㅂ is dropped and replaced with 우 in the next syllable. When conjugated to the polite speech level, the ㅂ-irregular stem resyllabifies with the 어요 -eoyo conjugation to form 워요 -woyo (as in 고맙다 gomapda → 고마우 gomau → 고마워요 gomaweoyo), appearing to ignore vowel harmony. ㅂ is not replaced with 우 in the North (as it also was in the South before the 1988 Hangeul Matchumbeop). The vowel harmony is kept in both the South and the North if the word root has only one syllable (for example, 돕다 [toːp̚t͈a] topta/dopda).

Inflected word North inflection South inflection Meaning
고맙다 [komap̚t͈a] 고마와 [komawa] komawa 고마워 [komawʌ] gomawo thankful
가깝다 [kak͈ap̚t͈a] 가까와 [kak͈awa] kakkawa 가까워 [kak͈awʌ] gakkawo near

Emphasis edit

In the North, names of leaders 김일성 (Kim Il Sung), 김정일 (Kim Jong Il) and 김정은 (Kim Jong Un) are always set off from surrounding text, typically by bolding the characters, increasing the font size, or both.[citation needed]

Vocabulary edit

The standard language in the South (표준어/標準語 pyojuneo) is largely based on the Seoul dialect, and the standard language (문화어/文化語 munhwaŏ) in the North is largely based on the Pyongyang dialect. However, both in the North and in the South, the vocabulary and forms of the standard language come from Sajeonghan Joseoneo Pyojunmal Mo-eum 사정한 조선어 표준말 모음 published by the Korean Language Society in 1936, and so there is very little difference in the basic vocabulary between the standard languages used in the North and the South. Nevertheless, due to the difference in political systems and social structure, each country is constantly adding different words to its vocabulary.

Differences due to the difference in political system or social structure edit

North South Meaning
조선반도 (朝鮮半島) Chosŏnbando 한반도 (韓半島) Hanbando Korean Peninsula
조국해방전쟁 (祖國解放戰爭) Choguk'aepangjŏnjaeng 한국 전쟁 (韓國戰爭) Hanguk jeonjaeng Korean War
소학교 (小學校) sohakkyo 초등학교 (初等學校) chodeunghakkyo elementary school
동무 (同務) tongmu 친구 (親舊) chingu friend

The word 동무 tongmu/dongmu that is used to mean "friend" in the North was originally used across the whole of Korea, but after the division of Korea, North Korea began to use it as a translation of the Russian term товарищ (friend, comrade), and since then, the word has come to mean "comrade" in the South as well and has fallen out of use there.

Differences in words of foreign origin edit

South Korea has borrowed a lot of English words, but North Korea has borrowed a number of Russian words, and there are numerous differences in words used between the two coming from these different borrowings.[13][14] Even when the same English word is borrowed, how this word is transliterated into Korean may differ between the North and the South, resulting in different words being adapted into the corresponding standard languages. For names of other nations and their places, the principle is to base the transliteration on the English word in the South and to base the transliteration on the word in the original language in the North.

North South Meaning
Korean Transliteration Origin Korean Transliteration Origin
뜨락또르 ttŭrakttorŭ Rus. трактор (traktor) 트랙터 teuraekteo Eng. tractor tractor
스토킹 sŭt'ok'ing Br. Eng. stocking 스타킹 seutaking Am. Eng. stocking stocking
뽈스까 Ppolsŭkka Pol. Polska 폴란드 Pollandeu Eng. Poland Poland

Other differences in vocabulary edit

The other differences between the standard languages in the North and in the South are thought to be caused by the differences between the Seoul and Pyongyang dialects.

North South Meaning
Korean Transliteration Korean Transliteration
강냉이 kangnaeng-i 옥수수 (玉蜀黍) oksusu corn
달구지 talguji 수레 sure cow cart
게사니 kesani 거위 geowi goose
마치 mach'i 망치 mangchi hammer
부루 puru 상추 sangchu lettuce
u wi on, above

Words like 강냉이 kangnaeng-i and u are also sometimes heard in various dialects in South Korea.

There are also some words that exist only in the North. The verb 마스다 masŭda (to break) and its passive form 마사지다 masajida (to be broken) have no exactly corresponding words in the South.

Problems edit

During the 2018 Winter Olympics, the two Korean countries decided to play jointly for the Korea women's national ice hockey team. This led to issues with the South Korean athletes communicating with the North Korean athletes since the former uses English-influenced words in their postwar vocabulary, especially for hockey, while the latter uses only Korean-inspired words for their postwar vocabulary.[15]

The language differences also pose challenges for researchers and for the tens of thousands of people who have defected from one side to the other since the Korean War. The defectors face difficulty and notably discrimination because they lack vocabulary, use differing accents, or have not culturally assimilated yet so may not understand jokes or references to pop culture.[15] South Koreans see the North Korean accent as strange and old-fashioned, making it a constant target of mockery and further exacerbating problems with North Korean integration.[14]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Sang-Hun, Choe (30 August 2006). "Koreas: Divided by a Common Language". The New York Times/ International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  2. ^ 한(Han), 동완(Dongwan). 북한의 국어학 체계 연구. 어학연구: 55–65. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  3. ^ 곽(Kwak), 충구(Chung-gu). 남북한 언어이질화와 그에 관련된 몇 문제. 새국어생활: 25.
  4. ^ 홍(Hong), 윤표(Yun-pyo). 통일 시대를 위한 북한어 연구 방향. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  5. ^ 언어생활 (PDF). 통일부. p. 15. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  6. ^ 김(Kim), 석향(Seok-hyang). 북한이탈주민의 언어생활과 북한당국의 언어정책 (PDF): 1–5. Retrieved 20 May 2023. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ 김(Kim), 석향(Seok-hyang). 북한이탈주민의 언어생활과 북한당국의 언어정책 (PDF): 5. Retrieved 20 May 2023. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ 연(Yurn), 규동(Gyudong) (2003). "Loanwords in North Korea". Eoneohag 언어학 (37): 169–195. ISSN 2508-4429. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  9. ^ Lee, Iksop. (2000). The Korean language. Ramsey, S. Robert, 1941-. Albany: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-585-42650-3. OCLC 50790987.
  10. ^ 서북방언(西北方言). 한국민족문화대백과사전. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  11. ^   Works related to Article 24 in Chapter 8 of the revised Compendium of Korean Language Norms 2010 at Wikisource (in Korean)
  12. ^ 동완(Dong-wan), 한(Han). 북한의 국어학 체계 연구. 어학연구: 64.
  13. ^ Bärtås, Magnus; Ekman, Fredrik (2014). Hirviöidenkin on kuoltava: Ryhmämatka Pohjois-Koreaan [All Monsters Must Die: An Excursion to North Korea] (in Finnish). Translated by Eskelinen, Heikki. Helsinki: Tammi. pp. 64–65. ISBN 978-951-31-7727-0.
  14. ^ a b Strother, Jason (19 May 2015). "Korean Is Virtually Two Languages, and That's a Big Problem for North Korean Defectors". The World. PRI. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  15. ^ a b Siles, Matt (2 February 2018). "Koreas' unified women's hockey team has exposed a key difference between South and North — their language". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 February 2018.