Skip to content

그룹 you say?

January 28, 2010

It is said that the DPRK is very serious about preserving and purifying the Korean language. And I have always been under the impression that Korean language used in the DPRK has minimal English loan words and quite a few Russian ones rather. I was amazed when I saw this photo, taken from the KCTV showing Park Chol-su, a Chinese josunjok appointed by the DPRK government to head the Taepung International Investment Group, speaking under a banner that reads “조선태풍국제투자그룹리사회 제1차회의” (Korean Taepung International Investment Group First Board Meeting). I was quite surprised to see that they use “그룹” (geurub, “group”) in the DPRK! What would the Great Leader say about this?

Would the Great Leader have approved?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. adamcathcart permalink
    January 31, 2010 1:24 pm

    Do you have the hanja for Park Chol-su? I ran across this same image somewhere on the Chinese internet (perhaps a Yanbian city news page?) and can’t track it down all of a sudden.

    But failing that, I will observe that the WPK cadre in the background of the image is distinctly asleep and that Daily NK ran an excellent story in 2007 about how NK was fighting to prevent South Korea-inflected Anglicisms into their language like “han-tu-pon” for cell phone. In such cases, the Chinese equivalents were leaned upon instead!

    Which leads me to further wonder: if China is really going to take over NK as people like Kaplan irresponsibly suggest in the Atlantic, they better get busy with teaching everyone hanja. Three generations after the war and nary a hanja to be seen, or recognized, in the DPRK. Do you or anyone else know where data can be found about % of North Koreans learning Chinese? Now importing more native English speakers from London…

  2. February 4, 2010 11:11 am


    Sorry for being a little late in getting back to you. Park Chol-su in Hanja is 朴哲洙. And it is my understanding that even though the DPRK has completely eliminated hanja from the Korean language they do teach kids some hanja starting at the middle school level (not yet verified).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: