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North and South Koreas: Two Koreas’ Dialects Posted by on Sep 5, 2018 in Korean Culture, Korean Language, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

A South Korean delegation visited Pyongyang, North Korea, and the letter from South Korean President Moon was delivered to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The Korean officials did not provide much information regarding the meeting; it will be interesting to hear the details about the meeting on Thursday.

Differences in the North and South Korean Language

Being a linguaphile, I have been paying attention to 정상회담 (summits) between 미국 (the U.S.) and 북한 (North Korea) in July, and between North Korea and 남한 (South Korea) in April and today. Although both North and South Koreans speak 한국어 (the Korean language), over the seven decades, two Koreas devolved some degree of linguistic differences: vocabulary, written words, spoken words, pitch, and so on.

Korea has various 지역어 (regional dialects), but the differences are not significant to prevent people from communicating with each other. However, between 북한어 (the North Korean language) and 남한어 (the South Korean language), there are noticeable differences regarding 단어 (words) that originated from 외국 (foreign countries). While South Korean people tend to use borrowed words from English quite often, North Koreans try to keep 외래어 (loanwords) out of 한국어 (the Korean language). Furthermore, even when North Koreans borrow 영어단어 (English words), interestingly, the transliterationof words in North and South might be different.

I have been fascinated by the way North Koreans create terms for English loanwords, and I have an opportunity to study a little bit of North Korean dialect and 문화 (culture). I thought you might be interested in learning some different words between North and South.

Photo by KLM

I hope you enjoyed reading this post.

감사합니다! (Thank you!)

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About the Author: Kyung-Hwa

안녕하세요? My name is Kyung-Hwa, and I am a native of South Korea. I am accustomed to both English and Korean languages and cultures. I greatly appreciate and love both of them. I am passionate about learning different languages, and I have studied English, Japanese, and Spanish. In my spare time, I take joy in singing, playing the piano, and reading books. I also enjoy traveling around the world, meeting people, and embracing new cultures and languages...