The two Koreas
According to an article in The Boston Globe, the Korean spoken in North Korea has drifted apart from the Korean spoken in South Korea. This is hardly surpising as there has been very little contact between the two sides for over 60 years. They both jam each other’s radio signals, and it used to be a serious crime in the South to watch television, read literature or to communicate with people from the other side. It still is in the North.
Some words have different meanings on each side of the border. For example, if you ask a North Korean how they are, they’ll probably say ‘ilupsopneda’, which literally means ‘not much’ and is the equivalent of ‘I’m fine, thanks’. In South Korea this phrase means ‘Mind your own business!’, which goes some way to explaining why South Koreans think North Koreans are quite rude.
In order to prevent the language drifting further apart, the authorities in both Koreas are currently working on a unified dictionary.