[R] changing names with different character sets

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Sun Feb 19 08:49:41 CET 2012

On 19/02/2012 07:30, Erin Hodgess wrote:
> Dear R People:
> I'm trying to replicate something that I saw on an R blog.
> The first step is to load in the .rda file, which is fine.
> However, some of the names of the columns in the data frame have
> special characters, accents, and such.

Most of the world think characters with accents are normal, not special. 
  The difference for R is going to be whether they are alphanumeric or not.

> How do I get around this on a basic keyboard, please?

Copy-and-paste from names(dataframe) may work.  But without an example 
or knowing your OS or your locale (but I remember you are in the US) it 
is hard to tell.

The main issue is that what R regards as a valid name aka symbol depends 
on the locale, and so strictly in a US locale no non-ASCII characters 
are valid in names.  In practice US locales tend to be set up either for 
a Western European character set (Latin-1, cp1252) or so that all 
alphanumeric Unicode characters in a human language are regarded as 

> Thanks,
> Erin

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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