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Posts Tagged ‘north korea

[LINK] “After 70 years apart, North and South Koreans speak increasingly different languages”

The Associated Press’ Hyung-Jin Kim describes, here at the Waterloo Record, a growing divergence in language between South and North Korea. One country is becoming increasingly globalized, while the other is not. The longer-run consequences of this for a shared Korean identity is obvious, although so far the differences as described seem to be matters of terminology, not deeper issues like grammar.

On one side of the line that has divided two societies for so long, the words arrive as fast as globalization can bring them — English-based lingo like “shampoo,” “juice” and “self-service.” To South Koreans, they are everyday language. To defectors from the insular North Korea, they mean absolutely nothing.

Turn the tables, and the opposite is true, too: People in Seoul furrow their brows at homegrown North Korean words like “salgyeolmul,” which literally means “skin water.” (That’s “skin lotion” in the South.)

Two countries, mortal enemies, tied together by history, by family — and by language, but only to a point. The Korean Peninsula’s seven-decade split has created a widening linguistic divide that produces misunderstandings, hurt feelings and sometimes even laughter. The gap has grown so wide, scholars say, that about a third of everyday words used in the two countries are different.

North and South Koreans are generally able to understand each other given that the majority of words and grammar are still the same. But the differences show how language can change when one half of the country becomes an international economic powerhouse and the other isolates itself, suspicious of outside influences.

America’s huge cultural influence through its military presence, business ties and Hollywood has flooded the South Korean vernacular with English loan words and “konglish,” which uses English words in non-standard ways, like “handle” for steering wheel, “hand phone” for cellphone and “manicure” for nail polish.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 18, 2015 at 10:25 pm

[LINK] “North Koreans Walk Across Frozen River to Kill Chinese for Food”

Events like this surely can’t augur well for relations between China and North Korea.

A spate of murders by North Koreans inside China’s border is prompting some residents to abandon their homes, testing China’s ability to manage both the 880-mile (1,400-kilometer) shared frontier and its relationship with the reclusive nation.

The violence reflects a growing desperation among soldiers, including border guards, since Kim Jong Un took over as supreme leader in Pyongyang three years ago. As well as seeking food, they are entering China to steal money.

“Bribes were one of the key sources of income for these guards to survive, but after Kim Jong Un came to power and tightened controls, it became difficult for them to take bribes, thus the criminal deviations,” said Kang Dong Wan, a professor of international relations at Busan’s Dong-a University in South Korea.

The murder of four residents of a border village last month prompted China to file a complaint with North Korea, risking tensions between the two allies in contrast to Kim’s recent overtures toward South Korea. Kim defied China in 2013 to conduct North Korea’s third nuclear test, and in the same year executed his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who had promoted commercial ties with China.

In the December incident, a North Korean soldier shot four residents of Nanping, a border village of about 300 in northeastern Jilin province. Around 20 villagers have been murdered in Nanping by North Koreans in recent years, a senior local official said in an interview.

Some residents are leaving the village, located within sight of an unnamed North Korean army base, said the official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject matter.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 19, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , , , , ,

[NEWS] Some Sunday links

  • Al Jazeera notes that Tunisia is still on the brink, looks at the good relations between Indians and Pakistanis outside of South Asia, suspects that a largely Armenian-populated area in Georgia might erupt, and reports on satellite imagery of Boko Haram’s devastation in Nigeria.
  • Bloomberg notes that a North Korean camp survivor caught in lies might stop his campaign, reports on Arab cartoonists’ fears in the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo, notes the consequences on Portugal of a slowdown in Angola’s economy, and notes that the shift in the franc’s value has brought shoppers from Switzerland to Germany while devastating some mutual funds.
  • Bloomberg View warns about anti-immigrant movements in Europe and notes that Turkey’s leadership can’t claim a commitment to freedom of the press.
  • The Inter Press Service notes Pakistani hostility to Afghan migrants, notes disappearances of Sri Lankan cartoonists, and looks at HIV among Zimbabwe’s children.
  • Open Democracy is critical of the myth of Irish slavery, notes the uses of incivility, and observes that more French Muslims work for French security than for Al-Qaeda.
  • Wired looks at life in the coldest town in the world, and notes another setback in the fight for primate rights.

[NEWS] Some Friday links

  • Al Jazeera notes ethnic violence in Assam, the despair of people in Yemen who go about their lives amid chaos, Iran’s advantage in the Middle East, the organization of Lebanese domestic workers, and Cambodia’s predilection for spiders.
  • Bloomberg View suggests the US should try for a Cuba-style opening with North Korea, criticizes the response of Hong Kong’s leadership to protests, notes the consequences of Palestine’s membership of the International Criminal Court, and suggests that the death of malls has been greatly exaggerated.
  • The Inter Press Service notes the rapid aging of Latin American populations, suggests falling oil prices could lead to decreased military spending, wonders about the future of democracy in the Middle East generally and in Libya specifically, notes a South African crackdown on Zimbabweans lacking papers, and looks at issues with the world’s poorest nations.
  • Open Democracy argues for a bold defense of immigration and argues human rights should take priority over traditions.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • D-Brief notes that American populations are much more genetically mixed than people would have it.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper examining how the Square Kilometre Array could be used to detect extraterrestrial intelligence, and to another paper noting that atmospheric freeze-out on tidally locked planets could be more common than previously thought.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at Chinese outsourcing and notes Russian discontent with the Ukrainian purchase of American nuclear fuel.
  • Far Outliers notes the inertia of post-war Bosnia.
  • Joe. My. God. shares Dan Savage’s call to prosecute the parents of Leelah Alcorn for driving her to suicide.
  • Language Hat notes a new argument that the language of the Tartessians of ancient Spain was actually Celtic.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes thinks that things are very bad for lawyers.
  • Marginal Revolution bets Greece will leave the Eurozone and notes French economist Thomas Piketty’s refusal of the French Legion of Honor.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes likens immigration and refugee restrictions to a Great Wall, unflatteringly.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla notes that 2015 will be a year when dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto finally get visited.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer argues that the Syrian government is coming to the end of its rope and notes Venezuela’s belated efforts to control air-based cocaine traficking by Mexican planes.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at the implications of a recent American court case finding against North Korea.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that an extended Putin government in Russia will make things worse, looks at the visibility of the Chuvash language in Chuvashia, and notes warnings by a Crimean Tatar leader that Russia should return Crimea to Ukraine else risk catastrophe.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi marks the ten-year anniversary of his Old Man’s War.

[LINK] “Ex-Worker Theory Casts Doubt on North Korea as Sony Hacker”

Bloomberg’s Pavel Alpeyev reports. I would note that there’s no reason state hackers and disgruntled employees can’t collaborate.

At least one former employee of Sony Corp. may have helped hackers orchestrate the cyber-attack on the company’s film and TV unit, according to security researcher Norse Corp.

The company narrowed the list of suspects to a group of six people, including at least one Sony veteran with the necessary technical background to carry out the attack, said Kurt Stammberger, senior vice president at Norse. The company used Sony’s leaked human-resources documents and cross-referenced the data with communications on hacker chat rooms and its own network of Web sensors, he said.

Norse said the findings cast doubt on the U.S. government’s claim that the attack was aimed at stopping the release of “The Interview,” a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The FBI said Dec. 19 it had enough evidence to link the attack to the communist regime, prompting President Barack Obama to vow a response to the cyber-assault.

“There is no credible information to indicate that any other individual is responsible for this cyber incident,” Jenny Shearer, a Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman, said today in an e-mail. The agency based its assessment on information from the U.S. intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, foreign partners and the private sector.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 30, 2014 at 10:23 pm

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

  • Al Jazeera captures the mood of Tunisia on the eve of elections, looks at the sufferings of ISIS’ sex slaves, reports on Kenya’s harsh response to American criticism of anti-terrorism legislation, and notes that Florida surpasses New York as the United States’ third most populous state.
  • Bloomberg reports on the absence of well-heeled Russian customers visiting Dubai, North Korea having been found guilty of the kidnapping of a Korean-American pastor, describes a European Union response on Ukraine’s financial needs, examines the entanglement of BP with Russia’s sanctions-hit oil and gas industry, outlines Chinese interest in helping Russia for a price, describes geopolitical rivalries of companies bidding for a South African nuclear program, notes Lithuanian interest in the Euro as a way to protect that Baltic state from Russia, shares listings of wonderful Detroit homes on sale at low prices, suggests the low price of oil means economic retrenchment in the Gulf states, and describes how a globalized Filipino village came to specialize in child porn.
  • Bloomberg View suggests Russia’s economic future is parlous despite the recent stabilization of the ruble, criticizes Russian military aircraft confrontations with civilian aircraft, suggests Russia wants a deal, argues the collapse of Vermont’s single-payer healthcare program shows the path-dependency of America’s medical industry, argues Japan should surpass China as a lender to the US, and describes North Korea’s high price for its apparent Sony hack.
  • The Inter Press Service notes a high dropout rate from school for Afghan refugees, suggests political turmoil in Spain might lead to a moral regeneration, describes the negative impact of falling oil prices on fragile African economies, comments on Pakistan’s renewed use of the death penalty, and argues Cuban-American detente will help stabilize the Americas.
  • MacLean’s wonders why the National Archives are being made inaccessible to visitors, describes the toxic CBC environment that enabled Jian Ghomeshi, and visits Yazidis returning to liberated territories to find mass graves of their people.
  • Open Democracy looks at Russian support of Central Asian governments which kidnap their dissidents on Russian territory, examines official misogyny in Chechnya, looks at constitutional turmoil in the United Kingdom, and studies the nature of Russian support for European far-right groups.
  • Universe Today describes how a newly-discovered dwarf galaxy satellite of the Milky Way can help explain the universe, looks at evidence for a subsurface reservoir of water on Mars, and examines the idea of airship-borne exploration of Venus.
  • Wired thinks the withdrawal of Google News from Spain will do nothing to change the underlying dynamics of the mass media industry, and examines the fascinating dynamics of volcanism in history on Mars.

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