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SOUNDEX


SOUNDEX

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steve.jacobs
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item SOUNDEX
Koen Verbeeck
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Interesting question, thanks. Keep it up!


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Koen Verbeeck (11/26/2013)
Interesting question, thanks. Keep it up!

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Great troubles are with slavic languages, especially with transcriptions from cyrilic to latin alphabet.



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Ed Wagner
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That was a very interesting question on a topic I know almost nothing about. Thank you.


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Rune Bivrin
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If SOUNDEX() as implemented in SQL Server was remotely useful outside of English-speaking countries I might care one way or the other. As it stands it's one of the quaint features of the language.


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steve.jacobs
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Rune Bivrin (11/26/2013)
If SOUNDEX() as implemented in SQL Server was remotely useful outside of English-speaking countries I might care one way or the other. As it stands it's one of the quaint features of the language.


Rune, I could not agree more;-). Most people (business) ask for "fuzzy" lookups, what they are asking for is more for an "exact" fuzzy lookup. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to explain the differences between the two. Heck, I may as well use LIKE when performing my searches. This is why I use a true programming language and the steps (some of them) I outlined in my answer.
Tom Thomson
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Good question, and nice explanation.

Too many people still fall for the claims that Soundex is a phonetic algorithm for indexing by sound and that it's based on American English pronunciation, despite its being extremely flawed for that purpose nothing really based on AmEng pronunciation would return different codes for "sealing" and "ceiling" while delivering the same code for "ceiling" and "killing". That it was originally intened only to be used for names does mean that it's less erratic when used as originally intended, but we still have "Gene" and "Jean" getting different codes, while and "Jean" and "Jane" get the same code as each other, as do "Gene" and "Gawain". It seems quite clear that there was very little attention paid to phonetics in the design of this stuff.

So it's nice to see a QotD that illustrates some of Soundex's failings.

Tom

Tom Thomson
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Rune Bivrin (11/26/2013)
If SOUNDEX() as implemented in SQL Server was remotely useful outside of English-speaking countries I might care one way or the other. As it stands it's one of the quaint features of the language.

Does that mean you think it's useful in English-speaking countries?

As long as 70 years ago the US census bureau found Soundex was useless for analysing their early (first 30 years) census records and changed the algorithm; now the US government publishes its own encoding rules, which may be the same as the original Soundex rules (but I doubt it). There are rather a lot of better phonetic fuzzy encoding algorithms, and the name is widely misused: most things that are called Soundex are not actually Soundex.

I don't know whether the Soundex in SQL Server is the original Soundex or not; if not it still shares most of the failings of the original - enough to make it not useful unless augmented by other matching and distinguishing techniques even for names in English-speaking countries.

Tom

Thomas Abraham
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Thanks for the interesting question. I got caught out with "Phone". Don't really use this kind of thing in my work right now. But, as with many QotD topics, it keeps me looking at things I don't normally see, in case I ever need them.

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