Whilst largely similar, the North Korean language differs from the dialect used in South Korea. The North Korean dialect used in the DPRK tends to be more formal, and typically doesn’t include many English language loanwords used in the South Korean dialect.
For example hello in Korean is An·nyong·ha·sim·ni·kka (안녕하십니까) in North Korea. How to say hello in Korean is An·nyong·ha·se·yo (안녕하세요) in South Korea. Hi in Korean is An·nyong (안녕) and is used by both North and South Koreans.
A common phrase you’ll hear on your visit to North Korea which is equivalent of Korean hello is pan·gab·sum·ni·da (반갑습니다) which means nice to meet you.
Allow this Korean language guide to help teach you some very helpful words you may use on your trip to North Korea. The Koreans don’t expect foreigners to know any local North Korean dialect so use this for your advantage to impress them.
In North Korea there are two unique ways you’ll never find in South Korea of addressing others.
Dong·ji (동지) which means Comrade. This is used when addressing anyone who is superior or older than you. This can also be added after the person’s name. Eg: Rowan Tongji!
Dong·mu (동무) which also means Comrade. However, this is used when addressing anyone of a lower rank than you or who is younger than you. This can also be added after the person’s name.
You can see these two terms above commonly used in the South Korean TV drama series Crash Landing on You. However, below are ways used to address others that is used in both South and North Korea.
Hyong·nim (형님) means older brother and is used when a male addresses a senior male.
Oppa (오빠) means older brother and is used when a female addresses a senior male. This can also be used for a girlfriend to address her boyfriend.
Nuna (누나) means older sister and is used when a male addresses a senior female.
Onni (언니) – means younger sister and is used when a female addresses a younger female.
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