North Korea just published this list of 310 weird new patriotic slogans. What do they mean?

I used to sign off my correspondence with “…coal-miners…”, but I eventually dropped it because people said that it just lacked pizazz.

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I laughed at these at first, but as I worked my way through the list I realised how many had to do either with food production or other aspects of life pretty low down in Maslow’s hierarchy. I can’t laugh anymore.


Focus the major effort in Party work on improving the people’s standard of living!
I’m sure, ‘it’s the economy, stupid’ is not at all inscrutable in other languages.

Oh sorry, I meant, ‘lol, bad translations sure make the alien other sound stupid. Let us crush our ideological enemies by mocking them without understanding or bothering to translate correctly!’

Edit: or like half of boing boing lately: lol, asians are weird.


Bad translations aside, these also seem to have the awkwardness of English language state communist slogans.

The textbook called “What you don’t do in the Revolution”, presumably.

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Around here it’s “… in your diaper.” Much weird, much accurate.

• Let us glorify the noble and the ment is and noble and beration and Party and anti-imperialist along the road of Songuerrilla army ding We Are task fachieve brilliance of things for our de Kim Jong Un in a thorougher spiritual stregiment us establish an all prove the spiritual strensional way and inherit and thoroughgoing the quantity of nationation!

• Serve the arteries of its flag!

• Ounding!

• Scientire army and marine resourcespeclarations as conducting the maximum and party become official Committee!

• Build the Way to the pature larger numbers monumberoespecternity!

• Lopinue, firmly throughour feet firmly plante!

• Regardered equipment us close the efficiency of to the principlet Party, high-speople!

• Let us and migh the banning work!

• Develementry’s militar and the revolutionary and system in th moderve the cour work devotedly and fightincreasing make the work!

• Let the Korean People’s model the and in Songjin and Country into deffort to the principlet us make sports and enthusiasm and opting equipment tone relations wity of the leadership of the Party, become faintenance like an activisited by the US become young holding and lead him to stablity of the unners!

• Focus the mages from flower at an earlies and flowers!

• Let the official to the revolutionarted unity is the greatesponse to the perats!

• Let us glory to the Party and the people!

• Let us cale chemiculturn in developing reality!

• Let us estations!

• This year of regulace of the generly pare taking cutting-edge system always advance stations and truth!

• Liberation and Party, the entirevolution all-people came air and keen architectural care sens!

• Let growing a shollima sternity!

• Intensify on-saving efficiency of the people!

• Always lifeline!


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With these slogans, I took to appending them with “, for once!”


• Let us build a fairyland for the people by dint of science, for once!


• Prove the validity and vitality of the Party’s policies in reality by
proactively developing cutting-edge science and technology, for once!


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And someone makes a North Korean Slogan Generator website in five … four … three …

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I remember Mao’s Red Book from being the generation when you could get it for free from the Chinese Embassy. The dad of a friend of mine, ages ago, was a UN Chinese-English translator, and said that Chinese (Mandarin, I am guessing, but I don’t know) was a superb language for swearing and bawling out, and most of the ‘running dogs and paper tigers of western imperialism’ sounded a lot shorter and punchier in the original. Korean, as a language, is not particularly close to Mandarin, but it feels like the translation has the same problems.

I’m not saying that North Koreans are just regular guys. Hell’s bells, look at them hats: clearly the mushroom crop means a lot to them, one way or another. But translation is hard, and some stuff just doesn’t come through the process. If we all understand that some of the kookiness comes from that, then maybe we can get started on understanding the other kooky stuff. Unless it means us wearing the mushroom hats, in which case, I’m out…


Like many people commenting here, I felt these had the feel of being bot-generated, so I used my nonsense-generating program JanusNode to generate a few new ones:


Hey, @janusnode2! Didn’t know you were here!

How come nobody’s posting over at Gnoetry Daily?

And you should participate in NaNoGenMo this year…

Damn you. I had never heard of NaNoGenMo before, and now I am probably going to waste the whole month of November trying to write JanusNode rules to generate 50K decent words…Thanks for the info.


I look forward to it! Rocque wrote up some project from the first year, if you look at GD (which I see has a part from this month that I misdeed).

I’m working up some things for these slogans, but weekends are usually code-free times, so not progressing rapidly…

“or we will kill you”, “in bed”… why can’t we have both?

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I love the first one about FISH - It would make a great song title! Now if I could only come up with a melody and a video: Instant YouTube Hit!

Wow…look at all the medals on those dudes! No wonder that they’re coming up with such excellent stuff! The NSA should try to recruit these guys for P.R…

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We use “…to death!” (originally from ‘Nebulous’, I think). It seems strangely appropriate here.

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