The video above is a documentary (entirely in Korean – though also entirely subtitled in Korean) from MBC about different Korean dialects. Watch a bit of it (or all of it) and see how much of the dialects you can understand.
There are 9 major dialects (방언) in Korea (4 in the north, 6 in the south – sharing 강원 방언) and 2 major dialects spoken outside Korea. The Korean Wiki Project has an absolute wealth of information on all of those spoken within Korea:
- 함경 방언 (North, northeastern – spoken in parts of China as well)
- 평안 방언 (North, northwestern – spoken in Pyongyang and surrounding area)
- 황해 방언 (North, northwestern/central)
- 강원 방언 (North/South, central – the 영서 region has a unique dialect as well, as does the 영동 region)
- 서울말 (South, central – “standard” Korean – also spoken in Incheon and Kaeseong)
- 충청 방언 (South, central – spoken in Daejeon and surrounding area)
- 경상 방언 (South, southeastern – spoken in Busan, Daegu, Ulsan and surrounding areas)
- 전라 방언 (South, southwestern – spoken in Gwangju, Jeonju and surrounding areas)
- 제주 방언 (South, Jeju island – sometimes considered a separate Koreanic language)
- 고려말 (Outside – spoken in the former USSR)
- 재일어 (Outside – spoken by Zainichi Koreans in Japan)
- Koreans in China speak a very similar dialect to 함경 방언 with some slight differences.
A few interesting things I picked up from my wife yesterday:
Yesterday, I asked my wife to teach me a little Jeonju/Jeolla dialect. Here’s what I learned:
- 엄니 = 어머니
- 검나게 = 아주/매우 (with emphasis on the 검)
- A verb ending with 다 can add ㅇ게. For example: 배고프다 = 배고프당게
- Additionally, Psy raps Jeolla dialect in Gentleman (알랑가몰라)
These are just a few of the interesting things you can learn when you study a dialect. But the most fun comes from using the dialect on someone who natively speaks it (or getting them to teach you something fun). It absolutely cracked my wife up to here a 외국인 speaking 전라 사투리 yesterday.
So, today’s Challenge is all about having some fun with dialects.
#22: Find a native Korean and get them to teach you a dialect they know. Then, record a video of you speaking that dialect (and the resulting hilarity).
Today’s hashtags are:
For some more fun, watch the above video that is rapped almost entirely in a dialect. Then be sure to check out the Korean Wiki Project for a “translation” of the rap into “Standardized Korean.”
Here are more resources on Korean dialects:
- Korean Wiki Project: Dialects (learn how to speak any dialect)
- Wikipedia: Korean dialects
- Differences between North and South Korean language
- Differences between North and South Korean PPT
- A list of Kpop stars (and some videos) who speak various dialects
- An review of the above dialects documentary
- Daegu dialect dictionary
- A quick guide to some basics from each dialect
- Academic paper on Korean dialects (no Hangul)
- Dialect variation in Korean (textbook chapter)
And here’s another short video (0:30) showing various dialects in use: