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Eskimo or ice cream: South and North Korea will create a single dictionary to understand each other

In the languages ​​of the two neighboring countries for 70 years of hostility, too many differences have appeared.

Supporters of the Joint Team Korea at the Olympics 2018. Reuters Photos

In early 2018, North and South Korea unexpectedly began the path to reconciliation: they held historical negotiations, resumed communication between warships for the first time in 10 years , and stopped the spread of propaganda against each other. The symbol of a stopped war was the joint performance of the teams of the two countries at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang.

At the Olympics, a new problem emerged in the understanding between the DPRK and South Korea. The United Korea hockey team had difficulties because of the difference in languages: North Korean players did not understand South Korean, and vice versa. For this, the management team developed a three-page glossary of sports terms: English expressions were translated into South Korean and then into North Korean. Due to the fact that in South Korea used a lot of anglicisms, while in the DPRK came up with their “words-substitutes.”

At the beginning of October 2018 North and South Korea began to work on a single dictionary. According to linguists, about a third of everyday words differ in two countries, especially professional and medical terms. According to the South Korean Prime Minister, the neighboring countries worked on the “Great Korean Dictionary” (Gyeoreomal-keunsajeon) in 2005, but then international relations became more complicated and it froze.

Although technically Korean is considered to be one, it is divided into two dialects – Seoul and Pyongyang. Most of the words came in after the division in the 1950s: the North Koreans came up with substitute words, while the South Koreans took advantage of Anglicism. Up to 330 thousand words should be included in the general vocabulary according to the plan, which will be useful for countries when working together on new railway tracks, roads and other common projects.

Some examples of differences in the languages ​​of North and South Korea:

  • If a couple goes somewhere: in the DPRK they say “go for a walk”, and in South Korea it is easier to “date”;
  • If a couple buys ice cream: in the DPRK they say “popsicle”, and in South Korea – “ice cream”;
  • Penalties: in the DPRK, about a free-kick in football they say “11-meter kick”, and in South Korea it is easier – “penalty”
  • There are also differences in the spelling of words: “compass” in the DPRK begins with the letter “L” (the transcription is “la-chim-ban”), and in the south – with the letter “N” (the transcription is “na-chim-ban”) ;
  • As reported by the media, residents of the DPRK hardly understand the words “tax” and “bank”, because there are no tax and banking systems in the country.
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