North Korea Not Allowed to Use South Korean Slang, Says Kim Jong-un

North Koreans Aren’t Allowed to Use South Korean Slang, Says Kim Jong-un

They're not allowed to call their crushes "oppa" anymore.

North Korea holds many restrictions over its tourists, but more so over its locals. Not too long ago, we heard that skinny jeans were officially banned in North Korea as it was deemed a reflection of capitalism. Now, North Korea is prohibiting its youth from adopting slang from South Korea, Japan, and the US. 

Why is North Korea concerned about South Korean slang?

Image credit: Micha Brändli

It was North Korea’s state-owned newspaper Rodong Sinmun that published the “warning.” The paper informed young North Koreans of the dangers of South Korean slang, fashion, hairstyles, and pop culture. It wrote, “The ideological and cultural penetration under the colourful coloured [sic] signboard of the bourgeoisie is even more dangerous than enemies who are taking guns.” (Yikes!)

Notice the wording “cultural penetration.” That’s due to the fact that even North Korea hasn’t been immune to the impact of South Korea’s K-dramas and K-pop music. It’s believed that this type of media is continuously smuggled into North Korea on flash drives across the Chinese border. 

Along with the warning, Rodong Sinmun reminded North Koreans that the Pyongyang dialect was far more superior than South Korean slang and should be used properly. By that, they mean words like oppa and unnie should never be used to point to crushes or significant others like they are in South Korea. These words originally mean “older brother” and “older sister” respectively. 

What happens if North Koreans use slang?

Image credit: Thomas Evans

The newspaper also reminded North Koreans not to use any kind of language from any other country. According to the Independent, people found guilty of breaching this policy will immediately face jail time; even worse, possessing large amounts of media from South Korea, Japan, and the US can lead to a consequence as severe as the death penalty.

Cheong Seong-chang, an expert on North Korean studies, also weighed in on the matter saying that the entry of South Korean culture into North Korea has already been influencing its millennials. “Such transformation is visible in the country and Kim sees this could threaten the North Korean system,” Dr Cheong told the Independent. 

Also read: 10 Things You Should Never Do If You’re Visiting North Korea

Any thoughts on this news about North Korea’s resistance against foreign slang and pop culture? Feel free to drop us a message or comment on our Facebook page!

Featured image credit: Micha Brändli | Unsplash

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