[R] Problem with ONE of the Special German Characters

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Thu Apr 15 19:32:48 CEST 2010

On 15/04/2010 12:22 PM, Michael Stegh wrote:
> Dear List,
> I have data which contain the special German characters "ä", "ö", "ü" etc. After reading the
> text files into R those characters are displayed strangely, e. g. "ä" is  "ä". The first step is to
> replace those with their typical transcription, e. g. "ä" becomes "ae" by using the gsub
> command.

Your example of  "ä" is what you would see if you stored it in UTF-8 
encoding, then read it in Latin1.  So I suspect you need to declare the 
encoding of the files you are reading before reading them.  You can do 
this as follows:

con <- file("foo.txt", encoding="UTF-8", open="r")

By default, R assumes the encoding of files matches the default encoding 
on your system. 
> Until I upgraded to version 2.10.1 (from 2.8.0) this worked perfectly for all characters. Now it
> works for all characters but "Ü".
> temp1<-gsub("Ãoe","Ue",temp1)

You might want to try perl=TRUE in the gsub() call; it seems to handle 
strange characters in regular expressions better than the default TRE 
library does.

Duncan Murdoch

> This letter is displayed as "Ãoe" (as before), but R is no longer able to find this character. The
> problem seems to be linked to the "oe" part, since I could substitute for "Ã" without a problem.
> Strangely if I get the two characters by extracting them with the substr command to a variable
> and then using the variable I am able to substitute without a problem. Any ideas, what I am
> missing?
> Thanks,
> Michael
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