Koreas push to use same spelling of place names

According to Yonhap:

South and North Korean linguistic experts have agreed to push to use the same spelling of place names, together with their Chinese counterparts, a Chinese scholar said Thursday.

The project is designed to promote better communication among South and North Koreans as well as ethnic Koreans in China.

The divided Koreas use the same alphabet known as “hangeul,” though decades of division following the 1950-53 Korean War resulted in dialectical differences and deviations in word meaning.

The two Koreas also spell differently in hangeul when naming places and countries, a phenomenon that often causes trouble in communication between South and North Koreans.

Most of the about 2 million ethnic Koreans in China can speak Korean, though they also use different dialects and spell the names of locations differently than Koreans.

North Korean linguistic experts have proposed unifying the spelling of place names on the Korean Peninsula and China, said Liu Yinzhong, a professor of Zhejiang Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages in China.

Liu, an ethnic Korean who studied at Kim Il-sung University in North Korea, said the project could help contribute to boosting mutual confidence and cooperation.

Chin Yong-ohk, an emeritus professor of Kyunghee University who is involved in the project, said Liu would visit South and North Korea to exchange ideas on the project.

South Korea has banned its citizens from visiting North Korea as part of sanctions on the North in retaliation for the sinking of a South Korean warship in 2010. The North has denied involvement in the sinking that killed 46 sailors.

South Korea has selectively allowed religious and private aid groups to visit the North as part of humanitarian projects.

Last month, the two Koreas held discussions in the North’s border city of Kaesong on resuming a separate project to publish a joint dictionary covering their different dialects.

The project, launched in 2005, was suspended last year after the North’s sinking of the South Korean warship.

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Koreas push to use same spelling of place names


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