DATA Step, Macro, Functions and more

Find all the names that "sounds alike"

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5

Find all the names that "sounds alike"

Hello everyone,


I'm doing an excerise where I'm trying to create a list with names that "sounds alike" och with a different spellibg ("Smith" and "Smythe" or "AAron" and "Aron"). I only have 1 table to look through and tried a very simple excerise where I hard-coded a name on which the program will look at to find names that sounds like it (see below):


proc sql;
create table soundex as
SELECT EfterNamn
FROM Person
WHERE SOUNDEX('Munson') = SOUNDEX(EfterNamn);


There are two names in that table that sounds like Munson (Munksson and Munkson) and therefor a list is created with only those names. However, I want a code that is applied on all the names in that table for a list to be created with those names, whether it's Munson and Munksson or Anderson and Andersson. I've tried to find an example online, but only seem to find examples where they use a soundex on two tables... Has anyone done this before? If so, can anyone help me out a little? =)




Community Manager
Posts: 2,768

Re: Find all the names that "sounds alike"

You might look at the SPEDIS function, which @Rick_SAS describes in this blog post, Distances between words.  His example uses SAS/IML to create a sort of matrix of distances between words.


Also, check out the COMPLEV and COMPGED functions, as described in this blog post from a SAS Tech Support consultant.


If you have the data quality software from SAS, you can use Match Codes (DQMATCH) to determine which names are likely the same or similar.

Super User
Posts: 17,868

Re: Find all the names that "sounds alike"

Trusted Advisor
Posts: 1,395

Re: Find all the names that "sounds alike"

If you are looking for names that sounds like a given name you can use next code:


%let myname = <any given name>;

proc sql;
   title "Names Sound Like &myname";
   select name
      from table
        where name=*"&myname";

but, if you want to find all groups of name that have same sound-like in a table,

then assume the table contains N names, you will need compare N*(N-1)/2 couple names

and assign a flag if the couple sounds alike or  not.

Posts: 8,743

Re: Find all the names that "sounds alike"

And, I found this paper to be a concise description of the different methods: and this is another of my favorites:

Super User
Posts: 9,687

Re: Find all the names that "sounds alike"

Sound like operator in SQL is =* 

WHERE EfterNamn =*  'Munson'  ;

Valued Guide
Posts: 797

Re: Find all the names that "sounds alike"

If you want all unique "sounds like" pairs, join the table to itself on the sound-like relation, and insert a where condition to eliminate duplicates and identical spellings


proc sql;
    have as a
  inner join 
    have as b
  on =*
  where <;




Of course, the sounds-like relation only allow equality/non-equality.  It doesn't all any notion of "distance" between a pair of names.

Ask a Question
Discussion stats
  • 6 replies
  • 7 in conversation