[R] gsub() with unicode and escape character

Sverre Stausland johnsen at fas.harvard.edu
Sun Jul 17 04:19:51 CEST 2011

Dear helpers,

I'm trying to replace a character with a unicode code inside a data
frame using gsub(), but unsuccessfully.

> data.frame(animals=c("dog","wolf","cat"))->my.data
> gsub("o","\u0254",my.data$animals)->my.data$animals
> my.data$animals
[1] "dɔg"  "wɔlf" "cat"

It's not that a data frame cannot have unicode codes, cf. e.g.

> data.frame(animals=c("d\u0254g","w\u0254lf","cat"))->my.data.2
> my.data.2$animals
[1] dɔg  wɔlf cat
Levels: cat d<U+0254>g w<U+0254>lf

I've done the best I can based on what ?gsub and ?enc2utf8 tell me,
but I haven't found a solution.

Unrelated to that problem, but related to gsub() is that I can't find
a way for gsub() to interpret the backslash as a character. In regular
expression, \\ should represent "the character \", but gsub() doesn't:

> data.frame(animals=c("dog","wolf","cat"))->my.data
> gsub("d","\\",my.data$animals)
[1] "og"   "wolf" "cat"

Thank you

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