On 11/06/2014 14:23, BrJohan wrote:
For some genealogical purposes I consider using Python's re module.

Rather many names can be spelled in a number of similar ways, and in
order to match names even if they are spelled differently, I will build
regular expressions, each of which is supposed to match  a number of
similar names.

I guess that there will be a few hundred such regular expressions
covering most popular names.

Now, my problem: Is there a way to decide whether any two - or more - of
those regular expressions will match the same string?

Or, stated a little differently:

Can it, for a pair of regular expressions be decided whether at least
one string matching both of those regular expressions, can be constructed?

If it is possible to make such a decision, then how? Anyone aware of an
algorithm for this?

Thank you all for valuable input and interesting thoughts.

After having reconsidered my problem, it might be better to approach it a little differently.

Either to state the regexps simply like:
instead of "((K|(Ch))ristina)|([CK]ristine)"

Or to put the namevariants in some sequence of sets having elements like:
("Kristina", "Christina", "Cristine", "Kristine")
Matching is then just applying the 'in' operator.

I see two distinct advantages.
1. Readability and maintainability
2. Any namevariant occurring in just one regexp or set means no risk of erroneous matching.



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