September 27, 2023

N.Korea studies: Arguments against language learning don’t add up

Despite flaws with recent opinion on topic, author suggests Korean learning remains essential

The recent debate on NK News about the merits of learning Korean as a prerequisite for a focus on the North has left me at pains to respond.

For his part, Fyodor Tertitskiy said last month that a widespread language barrier was seriously holding back studies on North Korea, while David Tizzard later asked what was wrong with relying on translations to work on the country. Both authors make important points, but they would do well to think about who needs to learn language and who doesn’t in a bit more detail.