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This article examines the sound qualities and lexical meanings of some representative Chinese characters that were used by Koreans during the Three Kingdoms period to transcribe personal and place names. The author concludes that the consonant and vowel systems of ancient Chinese were more complex than those of Korean. Consequently two or more related consonants that had been distinguished in Chinese were used in Korea to indicate the same consonant, and many Chinese diphthongs and triphthongs were used in Korea to indicate monophthongs. In addition, the final consonant of many Chinese characters frequently was either ignored in Korea, or simple Chinese syllables were made disyllabic for purposes of transcription. In determining the lexical meanings of the personal and place names of the Three Kingdoms period, the author exploits comparisons with surviving words from neighboring languages like Mongolian and Manchu.