Specifically, there is no essential difference between North Korean and South Korean. That is because they originate from the same nationality and culture. Just because of the history season, North Korea and South Korea were divided into a communist country and a democratic country, which affected that there are some delicate differences between the two languages. The relationship of the two languages is something like the relation of standard language and dialect.

The main differences of North Korean and South Korean are listed as below:

1> The difference in characters.

At the beginning, we can distinguish them by using Chinese characters or not during the writing process. Because there were some Chinese characters, which were used in South Korean, which there is none in North Korean in the early history. But with time flying, this method has become invalid. Because it is hard to find Chinese character in the modern South Korean.

2> The difference in the writing and reading about the Sino-Korean vocabulary, which begins with the character of 「L」.

In North Korean, the consonant of the Sino-Korean vocabulary, which begins with the character of 「L」 is changed into 「ㄹ」, while in South Korean, it is changed into 「ㅇ」 or 「ㄴ」according to specific condition. For example:

Chinese North Korean South Korean

练习 련습 연습

骆驼 락타 낙타

六 륙 육

李 리 이

Note: the Sino-Korean vocabulary, beginning with character 「L」 won’t be wrote into 「ㄹ」.

3> The differences by using 「여」.

In North Korean, the additional suffix 「여」is used behind 「하」,「되」 and 「이」; but in South Korean, it is used behind 「하」only. And the rule is applied to the using of tense suffix 「였」. For example:

그가 드디어 수학가가 되었습니다.(North Korean)

그가 드디어 수학가가 되였습니다.(South Korean)

우리가 학생이어서 왜 이 공연을 볼 수 없습니까? (North Korean)

우리가 학생이여서 왜 이 공연을 볼수 없습니까? (South Korean)

Note: The North Korean 「되였」 is wrote as 「되었」in South Korean.

4> The difference in inserting space between words in one sentence.

The great difference between the North Korean language and South Korean lies in the usage of verbs, which is used as adjectives. Then how to insert the auxiliary nouns (것, 수, 적, 때) in one sentence. In South Korean, the inserted auxiliary nouns should be separated with other parts. For example:

한국어팀으로 오신것을 환영합니다. (South Korean)

한국어팀으로 오신 것을 환영합니다. (North Korean)

그분은 조선말을 할줄 압니다..(South Korean)

그분은 한국말을 할 줄 압니다. (North Korean)

저는 무한에 간적이 없습니다. (South Korean)

저는 무한에 간 적이 없습니다.(North Korean)

나도 어릴때에는 꿈이 많았다.(South Korean)

나도 어릴 때에는 꿈이 많았다.(North Korean)

5> The difference for writing method of translated loanword.

In North Korean, some loanwords, especially the names of countries, usually are wrote by double letters, such as 「ㅆ」、「ㄲ」、「ㄸ」、「ㅉ」、「ㅃ」. While in South Korean, this condition is absolutely forbidden. For example:

English North Korean South Korean

RUSSIA 러씨야 러시아

CUBA 꾸바 쿠바

ITALY 이딸리야 이탈리아

POPLAR 뽀뿌라나무 포플라나무

Note: the double letters 「ㅆ」、「ㄲ」、「ㄸ」、「ㅉ」、「ㅃ」are not used to write loanwords in South Korean.

Read Also: North Korea and Language