A Digital Humanities Approach to Inter-Korean Linguistic Divergence: Stylometric Analysis of ROK and DPRK Journalistic Texts

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S/N Korean Humanities Vol.4 No.1 pp.127-153 ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)

Simon Barnes Sadler
SOAS, University of London

Received February 1, 2018; Revised version received February 25, 2018; Accepted March 1, 2018


Linguistic divergence between standard varieties of Korean has been much studied, however, it has largely concerned itself with fine-grained analyses of single points of divergence, for example vocabulary, and the language policy behind such divergence. In contrast, this paper examines general trends of language in use in the ROK and DPRK in a specific genre of writing. We first briefly review prior research on the linguistic divergence which the standard varieties of these countries have undergone to contextualize our argument that a digital humanities approach could provide new insights for the field. This includes taking advantage of internet mediated data collection and quantitative analyses applied to relatively large amounts of data. In order to demonstrate the potential of this approach more fully, we present a small-scale stylometric analysis of ROK and DPRK journalistic texts. This pilot study suggests that national origin determines the stylistic characteristics of these texts to a greater extent than the topic and allows us to tentatively propose general characterizing features of ROK and DPRK journalistic style. We conclude with a prospectus for the incorporation of such methods into the study of ROK/DPRK linguistic divergence.

Key Words : Linguistic divergence, munhwaŏ, pyojunŏ, Stylometry, Digital Humanities

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