"Seoul, Forever Seoul"

Far from Distant Shores: Identity Limbo in the Korean Diaspora

"Seoul, Forever Seoul"

Ushtobe, Kazakhstan, December 2014

The lyrics to the Korean song “Seoul, Forever Seoul” (K. Sŏuliyŏ ŏnjekkajina sŏul 서울 언제까지나 서울; R. Соулиё Ондекадина Соул) are written phonetically in Cyrillic. Fewer than 3 percent of the Koreans of Kazakhstan speak the Russified dialect known as Koryo-mar, which has ties to an old version of the North Hamgyeong Korean dialect that South Koreans no longer fully understand. Those who still speak the dialect write it phonetically, in Cyrillic, in order to preserve old folksongs as well as new ones brought from the Korean peninsula.