In the question "Chronology of orthography before and after the separation of North and South Korea", MujjinGun has said that 사이시옷 is abolished by the last writing reform in North Korea.
However, I think, there are compound words of old usage in South Korea with 사이시옷. Therefore, I think, the same compound words are used in North Korea but logically without 사이시옷.
In South Korea there are :
-옛날 pronunciated [옌날]
-전깃줄 pronunciated [전긷줄]<=>[전기쭐]
-가삿말 pronunciated [가삼말]

So are those compound words written respectively in North Korea as :
-가사말 ?
Are they pronunciated respectively as :
-[가사말] ?

Can we say that this is the same for all the other words with 사이시옷 in the South Korea ?

  • It is important to understand the difference between 사이소리 and 사이시옷. Both have 사이소리, but only the South uses 사이시옷 to explicitly mark the 사이소리.
    – krim
    Feb 13, 2017 at 4:24

1 Answer 1


First of all, 전깃줄 is pronounced [전기쭐] or [전긷쭐], and 가삿말 is not a word.

옛날 is still written 옛날 in North Korea. That's because ㅅ in 옛 is not a 사이시옷. 옛 is an attributive meaning "past", so 옛날 is a compound word consisting of 옛 and 날. See also 옛 친구, 옛 추억 etc. 사이시옷 does not appear before aspirated consonants (ㅍ, ㅌ, ㅋ, ㅊ).

전깃줄 is written 전기줄 in North Korea, however this is only true in orthography, and it's pronounced [전기쭐] in both Koreas.

See 문화어 발음법, 제16항.

제16항. 단어나 단어결합에서 사이소리가 순한소리앞에 끼여나는 경우는 그 순한소리를 된소리로 발음한다.

사이소리가 끼우지 않는 경우
례: ― 된벼락, 센바람, 봄가을, 날바다, 별세계

사이소리가 끼우는 경우
례: ― 논두렁[논뚜렁], 손가락[손까락], 손등[손뜽], 안사람[안싸람]
전주대[전주때], 나루가[나루까], 강가[강까], 그믐달[그믐딸]

전주대 and 나루가 is spelled 전줏대 and 나룻가 in South Korea, but you can see that they're pronounced [전주때] and [나루까] in both parts of the peninsula. (Actually 전신주 or 전봇대 is the standard in the South)

Also see 문화어 발음법, 제25항.

제25항. 고유어가 들어가 만들어진 합친말(또는 앞붙이와 말뿌리가 어울린 단어)의 뒤형태부가 《이, 야, 여, 요, 유》로 시작되는 경우에는 다음과 같이 발음한다.

1) 앞형태부가 자음으로 끝날 때에는 형태부사이에 [ㄴ]을 끼워 발음한다.

례: ― 논일[논닐], 밭일[받일→반닐], 꽃잎[꼰닙], 안팎일[안팡닐], 옛일[옌닐], 낯익은[난니근], 못잊을[몬니즐], 짓이기다[진니기다]
― 들양[들냥→들량], 산양[산냥]
― 불여우[불녀우→불려우]
― 눈요기[눈뇨기]

*그러나 《있다》의 경우에는 제10항에 준하여 끊어내기로 발음한다.

2) 앞형태부가 모음으로 끝날 때에는 사이소리가 끼우는 경우에 한하여 [ㄴㄴ]을 끼워 발음한다. 사이소리가 끼우지 않는 경우

례: 나라일, 바다일, 배개잇

사이소리가 끼우는 경우

례: ― 수여우[순녀우], 수양[순냥]
― 아래이[아랜니]

Actually, we can spot some differences in this one. 나라일, 바다일, 베개잇 is spelled 나랏일, 바닷일, 베갯잇 in South Korea and pronounced [나란닐], [바단닐], [베갠닏]. Also 수여우 is spelled the same in South Korea, but pronounced [수여우], but 수양 is spelled 숫양 in the South, but pronounced the same [순냥]. 아랫니 only seems different in the written form. So there seems to be some differences, but not consistently.

Same for -ㄹ까/-ㄹ가. "할까?" is written "할가?" in North Korea, but the pronunciation is the same, [할까].

  • @krim yes, but the word is 수여우, not 숫여우
    – MujjinGun
    Feb 13, 2017 at 4:31

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