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Thread: Converting string to Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Charlie)

  1. #1

    Thread Starter
    Frenzied Member CoachBarker's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Central NY State

    Converting string to Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Charlie)

    Haven't been in here in years, haven't done any programming in just as many. I am glad to see a lot of you old timers are still around. Most of you were quiet helpful when I was still active. I would like to create a simple app for my own use that would a sentence or even paragraph over to the military phonetic alphabet.




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  2. #2
    Frenzied Member jdc2000's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Aug 2002

    Re: Converting string to Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Charlie)

    I'd be inclined to create a Dictionary(of string, string) to hold the conversion table that you showed. The letter would be the key, the word would be the value. There are other solutions, but a lookup in a dictionary is particularly fast.

    A string can be seen as an array of characters, so a Dictionary (of char, string) might be a bit easier. You'd then just be iterating through the array of characters and looking things up in the dictionary. A few issues you'd want to consider ahead of time is what to do with punctuation and spaces. The options that seem plausible to me, depending on your ultimate goal, would be to leave them out, leave them in, or convert them to words as well. Leaving them out would mean that all the words would run together if there were multiple words in the string. Leaving them in would mean that when you encountered a space or a period, you'd look it up in the dictionary, see that it is not there, and just add it into the string you are building without changing it. Thus words would be separated by spaces and punctuation just as they were in the original string. The third option would be to add entries in the dictionary like "space" for space and "period" for period (or STOP, if you want to be more telegrammatically correct).

    The other item to look at is the StringBuilder. You could build up the result using concatenation. It wouldn't be as fast as the StringBuilder, but then again, you'd never see the difference unless you started converting some truly large strings.
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator dday9's Avatar
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    South Louisiana

    Re: Converting string to Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Charlie)

    The alphabet can be described pretty easily in a Dictionary(Of Char, String) where the Key would represent the letter and the Value would represent the phonetic equivalent.

    Once you have the dictionary setup, you would need to iterate over each character in a String, check if the key exists in the dictionary, and either throw an exception if it isn't or append the phonetic equivalent to the returned String.

    Here is an example:
    Private Function ToPhoneticAlphabet(input As String, Optional ByVal ignoreWhitespace As Boolean = False) As String
            input = input.ToLowerInvariant()
            Dim collection = New StringBuilder()
            For Each character In input
                If (Char.IsWhiteSpace(character) AndAlso ignoreWhitespace) Then
                    Continue For
                End If
                If (Not _phoneticAlphabet.ContainsKey(character)) Then
                    Throw New ArgumentException("input contains an invalid character: " & character)
                End If
        Return collection.ToString()
    End Function
    Example: Live Demo

    Edit - It looks like Shaggy and I were on the same page, though I used a Char as the Key and didn't consider punctuation (or "STOP"s).

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Aug 2002

    Re: Converting string to Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Charlie)

    Yeah, very much on the same page, but you showed an example, where I just talked about it.
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  6. #6
    PowerPoster ChrisE's Avatar
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    Jun 2017

    Re: Converting string to Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Charlie)

    here a version with the stringbuilder

     Private Sub Button1_Click(sender As System.Object, e As System.EventArgs) Handles Button1.Click
            Dim s1 As String = "Car.?bra" 'do you have invalid characters ?
            Dim sb As New StringBuilder()
            Dim s2 As String = Convert.ToString(s1)
            For Each c In s2.ToUpperInvariant().ToCharArray() 'make it uppercase to eliminate case sensitivity
                Select Case c
                    Case ("A"c)
                    Case ("B"c)
                    Case ("C"c)
                End Select
            Next c
        End Sub
    didn't try a Linq version
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  7. #7
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    May 2002

    Re: Converting string to Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Charlie)

    For proper usage it is : ALPHA BETA CHARLIE, not ALPHABETACHARLIE. Spaces between full words are dropped, periods are noted by Break. End of message is Break Break. Punctuation doesn't exist. Don't forget numbers. 1028 is ONE ZERO TWO EIGHT

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  8. #8
    Powered By Medtronic dbasnett's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    Re: Converting string to Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Charlie)

    XML / LINQ based solution
        Private Sub Button1_Click(sender As Object, e As EventArgs) Handles Button1.Click
            Dim phoneXML As XElement
            phoneXML = <phonetic_alphabet>
                           <item id="a">Alpha</item>
                           <item id="b">Bravo</item>
                           <item id="c">Charlie</item>
                           <item id="d">Delta</item>
                           <item id="e">Echo</item>
                           <item id="f">Foxtrot</item>
                           <item id="g">Golf</item>
                           <item id="h">Hotel</item>
                           <item id="i">India</item>
                           <item id="j">Juliett</item>
                           <item id="k">Kilo</item>
                           <item id="l">Lima</item>
                           <item id="m">Mike</item>
                           <item id="n">November</item>
                           <item id="o">Oscar</item>
                           <item id="p">Papa</item>
                           <item id="q">Quebec</item>
                           <item id="r">Romeo</item>
                           <item id="s">Sierra</item>
                           <item id="t">Tango</item>
                           <item id="u">Uniform</item>
                           <item id="v">Victor</item>
                           <item id="w">Whiskey</item>
                           <item id="x">X-ray</item>
                           <item id="y">Yankee</item>
                           <item id="z">Zulu</item>
            For Each c As Char In TextBox1.Text.ToLower
                'find letter if there is one
                Dim ie As IEnumerable(Of XElement) = From el In phoneXML.Elements
                                                     Where el.@id = c
                                                     Select el Take 1
                If ie.Count = 1 Then
                    'show phoenetic
                    'not present
                    RichTextBox1.AppendText("* " & c)
                End If
        End Sub
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  9. #9
    eXtreme Programmer .paul.'s Avatar
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    May 2007
    Chelmsford UK

    Re: Converting string to Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Charlie)

    Just use a Dictionary(Of String, String)

    Dim alphabet As New Dictionary(Of String, String)
     load dictionary keys and values
    MsgBox(String.Concat(Array.ConvertAll(inputString, Function(c) If(alphabet.ContainsKey(c), alphabet(c), c)))
    Last edited by .paul.; Jan 19th, 2021 at 11:36 PM.

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