May 29, 2009 10:20
The Constitutional Court has ruled that the Korean language law which stipulates that only the Seoul dialect is considered standard Korean and must be used in official documents and textbooks complies with the Constitution.
The court on Thursday rejected a petition by a private group by a 7-2 majority. Some 123 members of Tetmal Dure, a dialect researchers' group, had filed the petition, saying the law infringes the right to pursue happiness, equality and education because it restricts use of provincial dialects and discriminates against those who use it.
It was the Constitutional Court's first decision on standard Korean.
The law defines modern Seoul dialect, which is widely used by educated people in the metropolitan area, as standard Korean and stipulates that standard Korean should be used in drafting official documents and compiling textbooks.
The court said the provision did not violate basic rights, given that Seoul leads national cultural movements and the largest portion of the population use the dialect as standard Korean, nor did compulsory use of standard Korean in official documents or textbooks necessarily restrict people's private and public expression.
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