Little North Korea: A Concentration of North Korean Refugees in London

(Photo: the offices of the Free NK Newspaper by Thomas Hjelm)

Communities of Korean immigrants can be found across the world, but few of them from North Korea because it's hard to escape from that country-sized prison.

About 20,000 Korean immigrants live in New Malden, a suburb of London. Approximately 600 are from North Korea, which is among the highest concentrations of North Korean refugees anywhere in the world. In Europe, New Malden is the closest thing to a "Little Pyongyang." Roxy Rezvany of Vice visited New Malden and interviewed several of the North Korean residents. 

(Photo: a North Korean/South Korean vocabulary crib sheet)

One of the more interesting parts of Rezvany's article was about the Korean languages--plural. Since the country was divided after World War II, North Korean has become noticeably different from South Korean. She quotes Joong Wha:

“In North Korea we used a lot of foreign words from Russia, Japan, and China,” he said. “But there was a [regime] movement called the ‘Making Our Own Language Alive’ movement. Through that we got rid of all the foreign-influenced words. All the words [North Koreans] use now are ‘pure Korean,’ so my generation learned these pure words. Therefore, when I converse with South Koreans and they use these words influenced by English, I sometimes don’t understand what they mean.”

-via Marginal Revolution

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