iOS Users: Please click here for the latest information: (updated 5.10.2016)
Say It Right Series

Korea = ?

Posted by maxiewawa July 28, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

I've been seeing advertisements around Shanghai advertising lessons in 朝鲜语... and it's got me thinking about the differences between 朝鲜 and 韩国 if only linguistically.

朝鲜 is the ancient name for the Korean peninsula. In modern Chinese 朝鲜 is only used for to refer to the North side, the DPRK, the ROK is known as 韩国. In English, confusingly, we only have one word: Korea. We must qualify either North or South Korea.

So anyway, my question is about referring to Korea, Korean people etc. To say to any of my Korean friends 我在学朝鲜语 or to use 朝鲜 in any situation where 韩国 would do would probably elicit a giggle or at the very least a blank look; to ask a North Korean about 韩国语 韩国人 or anything similar would be very offensive, if what I've heard is any indicator.

So for a native English speaker it's very difficult to know which to use. It's one of those places where we have only one word (with a descriptor "North" or "South") where the Chinese have two.

I've always always talked about 韩国/韩语 when referring to Korean or anything to do with it, but seeing a few signs around advertising 朝鲜语 lessons has got me wondering.

Is 朝鲜语 something that only old people use? Or a political thing between communist countries? A typo?

Comments (15) RSS

loading... Updating ...

To comment, please login.

Not sure if your comment is appropriate? Check our Commenting Policy first.

New lesson idea? Please contact us.