Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The Global Language Online Support System is the best place online to get sample after sample of relatively rare languages written and spoken, and I noticed a few days ago that in addition to standard Korean it now has four samples of North Korean as well. Aside from the harsh tone from the woman that gives the official news reports (although I'm sure the tone is intended to sound regal) it isn't hard to understand at all for someone who knows South Korean Korean. Some differences are that 이 often becomes 리 (and 여 to 녀, etc.), ㅗ sounds like ㅓ sometimes and ㅈ, ㄱ and the like sound a bit more aspirated when in the initial position (so 조국 sounds almost like 처국). One day if the government in North Korea happens to fall or a lasting peace along with free passage from one country to another is achieved (and internet access for people in the North) Korean will all of a sudden effectively have its spoken population increased by 23 million, as a population that rarely gets to communicate with the outside world is suddenly able to.
The site seems to be a bit down at the moment and isn't showing the standard screen where one can select a language and search for samples, but hopefully it should be back to normal soon. So far I've listened to two of the four samples available.