From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about language of the Koryo-saram. For the Korean language as spoken during the Goryeo dynasty, see Middle Korean.
고려말/Корё маль
Native to Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan
Native speakers
unknown (220,000 cited 1989)[citation needed]
42,400 in Russia (2010 census),[1] 174,000 in Uzbekistan (no date), 107,000 in Kazakhstan (no date), 8,500 in Kyrgyzstan (no date)[2]
Hangul, Chesili
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None
Hangul 고려말
Hanja 高麗말
Revised Romanization Goryeomal
McCune–Reischauer Koryŏmal

Koryo-mar, Goryeomal or Koryŏmal (Hangul: 고려말; Russian: Корё маль; Standard Korean: 중앙아시아 한국어, literally Central Asian Korean language) is the dialect of the Korean language spoken by the Koryo-saram, ethnic Koreans in the former USSR. It is descended from the Hamgyŏng dialect. Koryo-saram often report difficulty understanding speakers of standard Korean; this may be compounded by the fact that the majority of Koryo-saram today use Russian and not Korean as their native language.[3]


The Koryo-saram do not generally use Koryo-mar as a literary language. Written Korean during Soviet period tended to follow the North Korean standard, while both Northern and Southern forms have occurred after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. However, some modern writers, most notably Lavrenti Son,[citation needed] have created plays and short stories in Koryo-mar, written using the Hangul alphabet.[4]

A movement for the latinization of Koryo-mar took place in the late 1930s, promoted by various government officials and linguists, but it did not have much success.[5]


Koryo-mar is not taught as a subject or used as the medium of instruction in any schools. The Korean language as taught in universities of the former USSR is that of North or South Korea, with instructors being native to or trained in one of those countries. In one instance, a South Korean professor tried to teach Koryo-mar at Almaty State University, but he did not achieve much success.[6]


  1. ^ Korean at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ See country articles in Ethnologue
  3. ^ Khan, Valeriy Sergeevich. "Koreans and the Poly-ethnic Environment in Central Asia: The Experience of Eurasianism". Seoul: Academy of Korean Studies. Retrieved 2006-11-20. [dead link]
  4. ^ Kim, Phil. "Forced Deportation and Literary Imagination". Seoul: Academy of Korean Studies. Archived from the original on 2005-07-29. Retrieved 2006-11-20. 
  5. ^ Kim, German. "The History, Culture, and Language of Koryo Saram" (PDF). Seoul: Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  6. ^ Kim, German. "Korean Diaspora in Kazakhstan: Question of Topical Problems for Minorities in Post-Soviet Space" (PDF). Almaty: Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences. 

See also[edit]