This study aims to identify the origin and usage of ‘-sn’, a suffix for male title, shown in dialects of Jeollanamdo, and based on the results, to describe the aspect of differentiation of Jeonnam dialects through the suffix of ‘-sn’. This study examines the different types of ‘-sn’, its usage, the meaning in term of dialect geography and characteristic of its social and the results are summarized as follows:
First, previous studies sought for the origin of ‘-sn’ from ‘Snnim’, but this study is to find its origin from grammaticalization based on the dialect type of ‘Sngwon’ like ‘Swon～Sewan’.
Second, the title of ‘-sn’ has diverse sub-categories such as ‘name＋last name＋sn’, ‘name of the place wives come from＋last name＋sn’, ‘name of previous residence＋last name＋sn’, ‘occupation＋last name＋sn’, and ‘nickname＋last name＋sn’ in addition to ‘last name+sn’. However, according to social and cultural features of the community the title is used, especially, whether the community is nobility village (Banchon) or civilian village, its specific usage is different.
Third, as the title of ‘-sn’ exist only in the eastern part of Jeonnam, it has different aspects from that of western part. In particular, it was connected with ‘-t'k’, a suffix of female title, and the identification following one’s husband was established instead of kinship terms, which works as an important factor that made Jeonnam dialects categorized into east and west.
Fourth, today, the use of the title ‘-sn’ is limited to older people, in the civilian village rather than nobility village and used by men rather than women in higher rate.