Unfortunately, I have done a lot of search, but could not find any useful resources for learning 문화어. I guess, I can find many korean sources, from South Korea, but due to poor language, I can not learn from them.

Are there any textbooks or learning resources in English or Russian so I could learn from them?

  • 문화어 is heavily based on the Seoul dialect, with the exception of loan words and some different ways of reading hanja-based words. What type of resource are you looking for, if 문화어 is quite similar to the South-Korean standard language? Aug 3, 2018 at 10:57
  • Well, 70 years of divergent evolution means there are some visible differences... (though I don't know the answer to this question).
    – jick
    Aug 4, 2018 at 1:19
  • There is no meaningful difference between South Korean 한국어 and North Korean 문화어 yet. South Koreans and North Koreans can communicate without any difficulty. But there are three major differences. 문화어 does not apply dual pronunciation to initial characters. They don't use 사이시옷(-ㅅ) either. Many of loanwords used in South Korea are from American English but in North Korea, loanwords are mostly from Russian.
    – jungyh0218
    Aug 6, 2018 at 1:36
  • As I noticed, the vast majority of loanwords in the north is also from English (although they can be written in different way), with very little amount of Russian borrowings. And also, as I noticed, the middle "s" is pronounced, although isn't placed. For example, the "flag" is being written "ki-bal" but the pronunciation is "kitpal". Aug 6, 2018 at 6:18
  • People living in Seoul and Daejeon can communicate without difficulty, but that does not mean there are no meaningful differences between Gyeonggi and Chungcheong dialects...
    – jick
    Aug 7, 2018 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


문화어 and 한국어 is very different in many words, phrases etc. but their grammers are very simmiler. Here is a link of telling the difference. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North–South_differences_in_the_Korean_language

  • Yes, but I guess there should be textbooks or internet resources to learn the language. It's weird that no normal resources exist. Aug 26, 2018 at 17:49
  • You can see the vocabulary in the dictionary,they write 문화어 as 북한말
    – codingboy
    Aug 27, 2018 at 1:29
  • There is no English sources because it is hard to explain in English. It has to be translated as 문화어->한국어->English.
    – codingboy
    Aug 27, 2018 at 1:31
  • 1
    It's not that weird, considering the relative sizes of, say, business opportunities for South/North Korea. The market for English speakers who want to speak North Korean is very limited.
    – jick
    Aug 27, 2018 at 5:10
  • (You might have a slightly better luck with Russian resources, but even Russia trades much more with South Korea these days, so I wouldn't be much optimistic.)
    – jick
    Aug 27, 2018 at 5:12

Finally, I found some useful resources from the Russian website twirpx, which provides a wide range of uploaded book sources for students, readers etc.


  • The most famous textbook, from the Foreign Languages Books Publishing House, 1989 edition, the full book. English version. Many useful grammar rules and examples, Korean-English and English-Korean vocabulary which contains over 1200 words from the book examples (many simple words like cat, dog, table are missing, because they are not used in the book).


  • The more modern version of the book, 1995 edition. English version. Unfortunately, only the Vol 1 is presented from the 4 volumes. I still cannot find the remaining 3 books.


  • The most useful resource. A dictionary application for Windows, SamHung 3.0, developed in the DPRK, which contains the databases of several multilingual dictionaries (also computer terminology dictionary), which were been published in the DPRK. Very easy to use.

    Besides the words, you can find thousands of expressions, which are used in standard speech, poetry, slang, science and other fields.

    It contains the following dictionaries:

    -English-Korean Dictionary (from the 1992 edition, 250 thousand vocabulary words)

    -Korean-English Dictionary (from the 2002 edition, 250 thousand vocabulary words)

    -Chinese-Korean Dictionary (150 thousand vocabulary words)

    -Korean-Chinese Dictionary (150 thousand vocabulary words)

    -Russian-Korean Dictionary (300 thousand vocabulary words)

    -Korean-Russian Dictionary (150 thousand vocabulary words)

    -German-Korean Dictionary (30 thousand vocabulary words)

    -Korean-German Dictionary (130 thousand vocabulary words)

    -Japanese-Korean Dictionary (150 thousand vocabulary words)

    -Korean-Japanese Dictionary (50 thousand vocabulary words)

    -Korean Dictionary (320 thousand vocabulary words)


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