Seoul vs Busan Dialect: Difference and Comparison

Humans use different ways such as signs, writing, gesture, or speech to convey their feelings and messages to others. For speech, apt language is a must.

People in Korea thus have different dialects to help them communicate more effectively with their near and dear ones. Two among them are- Seoul and Busan dialects.

Key Takeaways

  1. Seoul dialect is the standard Korean language spoken in the capital city of Seoul, while the Busan dialect is a regional dialect spoken in the southern port city of Busan.
  2. The Seoul dialect is more formal and standardized than the Busan dialect, which is more informal and colloquial.
  3. The Seoul dialect is more widely understood and used in formal settings, while the Busan dialect is more commonly used in informal settings and among friends and family.

Seoul Dialect vs Busan Dialect

The difference between the Seoul and Busan dialect is that the Seoul dialect has a smooth and pleasant tonation. On the other hand, the Busan dialect has a harsh tonation which is annoying to speakers of the Seoul dialect. Both dialects have different native areas and language families.

Seoul Dialect vs Busan Dialect

The Seoul dialect is nearly identical to standard Korean. Many linguists believe it originated within the mainstream Korean dialects. It has a pleasant intonation.

The city by the same name is one of the most developed cities in Korea. This language dominates mostly in the Seoul National Capital Area.

The Busan dialect is also known as Busan satoori. Located in the Gyeongsang province, Busan is the second-largest city in South Korea. Busan dialect can have harsh-sounding intonation.

In the Busan dialect, some terms are phonemic non-distinctive, thus tensing realization is non-productive, whereas voicing realization is fruitful.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSeoul DialectBusan Dialect
IntroductionIt is one of the six dialects of the Korean language and is the more standardized version.It is a Korean dialect that emerged via the blending of different dialects.
PronunciationThe vowels e and ae seem to fuse in young speakers, and phonological length is not consistently penalized.The word having y or I vowels take precedence unless a coronal consonant intervenes.
NativeIt is native to both North and South Korea.It is native to South Korea.
DialectsIt has diverse dialects such as Old Seoul dialect, North Gyeonggi dialect, South Gyeonggi dialect, Yeongseo dialect and Kaesŏnɡ dialect.It has different types of dialects – North Gyeongsang and South Gyeongsang.
Language FamilyIt belongs to the Korean language family of Gyeonggi.It belongs to the Korean language family of Gyeongsang.

What is Seoul Dialect?

The Korean language has six dialects, one of which is Seoul. It is commonly called the Gyeonggi dialect. The Gyeonggi dialect constitutes the basis for standard Korean in South Korea.

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The use of this language is widespread in the Korean diaspora. Seoul and Incheon, as well as the provinces of Gyeonggi, are all part of this region.

Besides South Korea, Kaesong city, Kaepung, and Changpung counties in North Korea are also home to the language.

Young speakers fuse the vowels e and ae, and phonological length is not penalized consistently. A postposition after a do, a ro, and a go is articulated with a du and a ru, respectively.

Millennial Seoul dialect practitioners end interrogative utterances (questions) with -nya? (-?) and employ distinctive intonations that differ somewhat from those used by broadcast newsreaders. It is common to use the casual ending -eo in both questions and phrases.

There are three types of tones in Seoul: conservative, general, and modified. The most significant observation of this dialect is that the pitch rises at the end of a phrase, which many Gyeongsang speakers find obnoxious or disturbing.

The abbreviation of ‘geoya’ (a suffix used for emphasis or in a question) to ‘geo’ is one of the few Gyeonggi dialect regionalisms still widely used (geo). The most common use of this feature is in south Gyeongsangbok, notably in and around Suwon.

What is Busan Dialect?

One of the six dialects of the Korean language is Busan. It is commonly called the Gyeongsang dialect. Most of the Busan dialects are tonal. The use of this language is widespread in the Korean diaspora.

There is a dialect of this language spoken in Yeongnam, including the Gyeongsang provinces, North and South.

Unless a coronal consonant intervenes, vowels are forefront when the following syllable bears a y or i. In South Gyeongsang languages, w and y are not present after a consonant.

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The tense consonant ss is absent in southern Gyeongsang languages. Palatalization is common: gy-, gi-, ki-, and ky- are pronounced as j and ch, respectively, as in is sim. Any syllable in North Gyeongsang can have a pitch accent in the form of a high tone.

The Gyeongsang dialect has a Middle Korean flavor to it. Standard Modern Korean does not discriminate between a yes-no question and a wh-question. Wh-questions end with -o, while yes-no questions end with -a.

The Gyeongsang dialect was more prominent in the Korean media from the Park Chung-hee through the Kim Young-sam governments (1961–1997). The result has been misinterpretations as to the reasons behind the refusal to adopt the Seoul accent by many South Korean leaders and high-ranking officials.

Main Differences Between Seoul and Busan Dialect

  1. The Seoul dialect has a smooth pitch, whereas the Busan dialect has a harsh tone,
  2. The Seoul dialect is vivacious, whereas the pronunciation of the Busan dialect is sluggish,
  3. Seoul dialect has prestige in Seoul and Incheon and the valley of Gyeonggi. Busan dialect has prominence in Yeongnam, including the Gyeongsang provinces, North and South.
  4. The Seoul dialect is part of the Gyeonggi linguistic family in Korea. The Busan dialect is part of the Gyeongsang linguistic family in Korea.
  5. Seoul dialect being the closest to the native language is easily understandable. Busan dialect for its high pitch and the drag at the end of the sentence is difficult to understand



Last Updated : 14 October, 2023

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