[R] write.foreign, SPSS on Mac OS X

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Wed Jul 13 08:46:59 CEST 2005

On Tue, 12 Jul 2005, EJ Nikelski wrote:

>     I have jut installed the foreign package (v 0.8-8) on my OS X
> machine, and have a bit of a problem writing out a data frame in SPSS
> format. Specifically, the code file (the .sps format file) seems to
> write 3 unprintable hex values instead of double quotes. For example, in
> the following output ...
> /
> immDel
> 1 ###1###
>  2 ###2###
>  3 ###3###
>  ... emacs tells me that the left-sided ### are the hex codes E2 80 9C,
> on the right we have E2 80 9D. I am supposing that I should be seeing
> double-quotes here? Interestingly, the data file, which also contains a
> quoted field, writes out the quotes without any problem. Does anyone
> have any ideas?

An idea. Those are left and right double quotes in UTF-8 and since MacOS X
is usually in a UTF-8 locale they should be printable.  However, I suspect 
that SPSS is expecting ASCII double quotation marks.

You haven't told us what you did, but I guess you used
write.foreign(package="SPSS").  That calls writeForeignSPSS which contains 
calls to dQuote(), and the latter are wrong if ASCII quotation marks are 

A quick workaround is to use a non-UTF-8 locale: how you do that on ypur 
OS depends on how you run R so please ask advice on the R-sig-mac list.

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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