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Korean Dialects

Korean has several dialects (called mal (literally speech), bang-eon, or saturi in Korean). The standard language (Pyojuneo or Pyojunmal) of South Korea is based on the dialect of the area around Seoul, and the standard for North Korea is based on the dialect spoken around P'yongyang. These dialects are similar, and in fact all dialects except that of Jeju Island are largely mutually intelligible. The dialect spoken there is classified as a different language by some Korean linguists. One of the most notable differences between dialects is the use of stress: speakers of Seoul Dialect use stress very little, and standard South Korean has a very flat intonation; on the other hand, speakers of Gyeongsang Dialect have a very pronounced intonation that makes their dialect sound more like a European language to western ears.

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There is a very close connection between the dialects of Korean and the regions of Korea, since the boundaries of both are largely determined by mountains and seas. Here is a list of traditional dialect names and locations:

Standard Dialect

Seoul: Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi (South Korea); Kaesong (North Korea)
P'yongan: P'yongyang, P'yongan region, Chagang (North Korea)

Regional Dialect

Chungcheong: Daejeon, Chungcheong region (South Korea)
Gangwon: Gangwon (South Korea)/Kangwon (North Korea)
Gyeongsang: Busan, Daegu, Ulsan, Gyeongsang region (South Korea)
Hamgyong:Rason, Hamgyong region, Ryanggang (North Korea)
Hwanghae: Hwanghae region (North Korea)
Jeju: Jeju Island/Province (South Korea)
Jeolla: Gwangju, Jeolla region (South Korea)

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