The Weekly Challenge ‐ Perl and Raku

CY's Take on The Weekly Challenge #186 Task 2 ‐ No Lost in Transliteration?

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It's time for challenges in Week #186 !

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Task 2: Unicode Makeover

Intro: Why concern?

Growing up with (the character encodings) Big5, Big5-HKSCS, GB(usually traditional Chinese users can read simplified Chinese, and I know some university classmates from mainland China can read traditional Chinese) - and the unwelcomed visitor "chaotic code", Unicode has been a lifesaver!

I am very interested in different aspects of Unicode.

Approach: Perl

Once I saw the task released, I check out the nice Perl Unicode Cookbook by Tom Christiansen for inspiration. I found the part related to character name. Knowing named à named "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH TILDE", â named "LATIN SMALL LETTER A WITH CIRCUMFLEX", Ò named "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O WITH GRAVE", etc. I tried to work out my solution:

use v5.30.0;
use charnames ();
use utf8;

sub ch_latin {
    my $name = charnames::viacode(ord($_[0]));
    return $1 if $name =~ /^LATIN CAPITAL LETTER (\w)/;
    return lc($1) if $name =~ /^LATIN SMALL LETTER (\w)/;
    return $_[0];

sub makeover {
    return join "", map {ch_latin $_} split "", $_[0]

use Test::More tests=>5;
ok makeover("ÃÊÍÒÙ") eq "AEIOU";
ok makeover("âÊíÒÙ") eq "aEiOU";
ok makeover("chữ Quốc ngữ") eq "chu Quoc ngu";
ok makeover("Paul Erdős") eq "Paul Erdos";
ok makeover("香港") eq "香港";
Languages, Test Data

So, there is a limitation ‐ my script is applicable only for Latin characters and its descents. I wonder whether there are "normalized" needs in other sets of alphabets. There may be, but are those sets of alphabets in Unicode? Is it very rare/obsolete???

I don't know when the A/E/I/O/U with tilde and A/E/I/O/U with circumflex are being used. From my limited language exploration, besides "pinyin" for Chinese and Chinese-related languages, I know Vietnamese script uses the Latin alphabet with tonally additional symbols. One of my test data sets is the Vietnamese script from Wikipedia: chữ Quốc ngữ. I don't speak Vietnamese (the 20th largest language of the world in certain measure), just learnt some knowledge of its scripting and tones from this YouTube video: The Vietnamese Language | Langfocus.

Approach: Java

After finishing the Perl script, I explore the case in Java. There is an outdated StackOverflow solution using java.text.Normalizer.

Anyway, this class is a right way to go. I figure out a solution after reading an Oracle official Normalizer API tutorial.

import java.text.Normalizer;
// Please also take a look at: java.lang.Character;

public class UnicodeMakeover
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println(makeover("chữ Quốc ngữ"));
        System.out.println(makeover("Paul Erdős"));
        System.out.println(makeover("香港")); // no output

    public static String makeover(String text)
        StringBuilder aaa = new
            StringBuilder(Normalizer.normalize(text, Normalizer.Form.NFKD));
        String bbb = "";
        for (int i = 0; i < aaa.length(); i++)
            if (aaa.codePointAt(i) <= 127)
            bbb += aaa.charAt(i);
        return bbb;


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Created Date: 16th October, 2022.