Let’s Talk About: Korean Suffixes (Name Endings “attachments”)


I know that there are some things that we pick up from watching KDramas. We touched on some of it the last entry (with 언니, 오빠, 누나, etc) as titles that we call those we are close with and/or siblings. But I know that sometimes we hear other things attached to names that mean something. Now, I am talk about -nim, or -yah, or something else. I wanted to know if there was actual rules for them and how they were written.

The answer is yes. There is a method for the madness. Let’s get into it!
Oh, and just so you all know, my references is for this information are these two lovely entries at pejorist.livejournal.com and halcyon-morn.livejournal.com.



I commonly seen this written as “nim” but for spelling purposes, I will probably write “neem”.
Pejorist talks about how this is more of a formal suffix. Used with like elders, bosses, people you admire, etc. So, if I was greeting my boss (and just because I cannot think of a decent name right now, the boss’s name is Boss. So original, I know), my statement would probably look like so:

“안녕하세요, Boss-님.”

Formal greeting, and -neem at the end to show a formal status.
Pejorist also mentioned that sometimes it is combined with other ‘titles’ like:
누나님. (Neuna-neem)

Sunbae-nim was the point here guys…..



This is normally written as -sshi or -ssi. And I am going to stick with those, because that is a HARD ‘s’/ㅅ so… it makes perfect sense.
This one is semi-formal. You can use it with a full name, first name, or stage name. They state that you don’t use it with the family name alone. It may be seen as rude if you do so. Also, do NOT use with someone of “higher status” (aka: Seniority, older, etc).

When it said “Stage Name,” my first thought was IU – not going to lie.



Commonly written as -ah/-yah. I will keep it as so for now.
halcyon-morn was the entry I used for reference for these because I loved how it was explained/showed. They state it is to be used with someone of “equal or lesser social status” and have some familiarity with. Read: Same age or ‘not senior’ and you know them. Not to be used with strangers.

-아 is to be used with names that end with a consonant.
-야 is to be used with names that end with a vowel.

My only slight confusion is if it is referring to Korean Consonants/Vowels, but for the most part, they are similar enough that I think it will be okay.

So, take my name:
Oyoa (오유아) – Ends in a vowel. So, if you wanted, you can say:
“오유아야!” (Oyoa-ya!)

Now, for a name that ends in a consonant…
Namjoon (남준). So, if you were to pretend that you actually were on friendly terms with Mr. Rap Mon and maybe a little older:
“남준아!” (Namjoon-ah!)




Commonly written as -ie. I was going to write -ee, …. no. That is what I am going to do. I am writing -ee for my sanity. Because that is how it is pronounced in my mind to remember ㅣ.  Now according to halcyon-morn, you can only use this with names that end in consonants – not names that end in vowels. So, people like me are just Out. Of. Luck. There is no vowel replacement that works.

This is used to express a definite closeness. Definitely friends/close status that is informal. A popular example:
Jimin (지민) likes to call out for Jungkook (정국) while searching for him. So you can hear him sing “정국이! (Jungkookee!)” in a BTS Bomb while searching for the youngest member to record him.

There is also another way to use -이 that still works! Let’s stick with Jungkook but this example would drive him a little nuts. (Which is why it entertains me.)
Pretend that there is a YOUNGER fan, and she might call out:
“정국이 오빠! (Jungkookee-Oppa!)”

Yes, you can use it with “hyung,” etc. One of those that works with multiple combos.

The main point… Jungkookie. Jungkookie!


ALRIGHT! That’s it! That is all that I am doing about these fun things for now! (There might be more out there that I just don’t know about, but for now, this is all I have heard/learned.)

Seems like a lot? Don’t worry, I have to reference this a lot. And I reread those two posts a lot too. I fully recommend reading them and getting all the info you can! They were fantastic for me and made so much more sense after I did!

But you did it! You made it through this mini-feature I decided to do to address some of the honorifics, titles, etc. Thank you for sticking with me during this!

Next:… I have no idea.  I have a few ideas of what I want to do (Podcast review? A reading/pronunciation practice?) but unsure what I should attack next (maybe even more “common KDrama/KPop words”). What do you think?

Me. Trying to figure out what to approach next.


Next time on TTLK: Level 1: TTMIK “I’m Sorry/Excuse Me” Podcast #4
Next in series: Let’s Talk About: Words We THOUGHT We Knew – Part 2


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