In this paper, we analyze Chinese personal names to model their statistical phonotactic characteristics for continuous Chinese speech recognition. The analysis showed languagespecific characteristics of Chinese personal names and strongly suggested the advantage of character-unit oriented modeling. A hierarchical language model was composed by reflecting statistical phonotactic characteristics of Chinese personal names as a lower intra-word model, and ordinary inter-word neighboring characteristics as an upper multi-class composite N-gram model. These two layers of models were trained independently using different language corpora. For the modeling of given names, the syllable without tone information was selected as the unit for training the bi-gram. The properties of either one or two characters of a given name were introduced to simplify the length constraint of the modeling process. For Chinese family names, we simply added them directly in the recognition lexicon, since their numbers are very restricted. The results from Chinese speech recognition experiments revealed that the proposed hierarchical language model greatly improved the identification accuracy of the Chinese given names compared with the conventional wordclass N-gram model.