The complexity of languages can be difficult to grasp as a result of the multitude of factors that go into creating a system for speaking: syllables, intonations, and more add to a language’s depth. Dialects, a specific form of a language that is only used in a certain area or group, are particularly interesting, and the presentations people use can be surprisingly different!
In South Korea, dialects are referred to as satoori, and while there is a myriad of them, here are some of the most well-known ones as well as the famous faces that use them!
This dialect, which includes the district of Gyeonggi as well as South Korea’s capital, bears what is usually considered to be the “standard” form of Korean. Whether it’s in textbooks or in news reports, this dialect is usually utilized when people are addressing the general public. As a result of its universal nature, most everyone in Korea will understand it. While every idol is likely to speak the Gyeonggi dialect, only a few are from the district itself, including Shownu fo MONSTA X and Chaeyoung from TWICE!
Busan dialect is well known for its straightforward and firm presentation, and the expressions used in this city represent this well. Often utilizing short and concise sounds to communicate, the difference in Busan dialect from the standard Gyeonggi dialect can be jarring for some to hear. For example, “What did you say?” may be expressed as mworakano in the Busan dialect rather than the typical mworago malhano. Some notable users of Busan dialect are Kang Daniel and BTS members Jimin and Jungkook.
While Daegu and Busan are located in the same province, Gyeongsang, the two dialects come with a few differences. Most notably, the intonations in the expressions within the satoori are often varied from one another. In addition, those in Daegu tend to utilize the “k” sound more than those in Busan, who will often use the “h” sound. Red Velvet’s Irene, as well as Cosmic Girls’ Bona, are well-known for their Daegu accents.
As a result of Jeju being an island, the dialect itself is vastly different from the Korean dialects in the mainland of South Korea. In fact, some mainland Koreans may even have a hard time interpreting the Jeju satoori! While it may be difficult for the untrained ear to understand, the Jeju dialect is actually one of the best ways to take a look into the history of Korea, as it still includes various ancient Korean words. Cosmic Girls' Dayoung and Gugudan’s Mina are known to show this unique speaking style from time to time.
It may be easy to think of South Korea as one homogenous country, but it should be noted that each part of Korea is unique in its own right, and satoori helps to show this. Even if the differences are subtle, those unique quirks that allow a person to differentiate one province or city from another.
Do you have a favorite accent or satoori? Let us know in the comments below!
Cover Image: BTS' Jungkook & Jimin (BigHit Entertainment)
Written by Kyle Voong