Rodrigo Rodrigo - 5 months ago 25
R Question

Using unique() and == to match accented vs. non-accented characters

I'm putting together some tables that look almost the same, except that some characters appear accented in some and non-accented in others. For instance, "André" sometimes reads "Andre", "Flávio" and "Flavio", etc. I need to consider all variations as equal, but unique() considers them as different. I thought about changing all accented to non accented, and then using unique(), but I thought that maybe there is another, faster option.

Later I need to make the same accent-insensitive comparison using == so I'm thinking about removing all accents from a copy of each table, and do the comparison on the copies. Please tell me if there's a different, better approach.

Answer Source

The approach of removing accents prior to comparison seems appropriate for your purposes. Note that such a facility exists in iconv with the TRANSLIT flag

#> [1] "Andre"  "Flavio"