LVG Metaphone Algorithm


The Lexical tool uses the "Metaphone" phonetic code algorithm by Lawrence Philips, "Hanging on the Metaphone", Computer Language v7n12, December 1990, pp. 39-43. An input term is reduced to a 1 to 6 character code (configurable) using relatively simple phonetic rules for typical spoken English.

Basically, Metaphone reduces the alphabet to 16 consonant sounds:
B F H J K L M N P R S T W X Y 0 (zero)
where the 0 (zero) represents the 'th' sound.


  • inStr: an input string.
  • maxCodeLength: the length for the transformed code to be truncated.

Output: an output code in uppercased string.


I. Pre-Process

Steps DescriptionsConditions (if)Actions (then)
Initial check
  • inStr is null
  • length of inStr == 0
  • return ""
Drop non-alphabetic characters
  • not an alphabetic character
  • drop
Quick checki
  • length of current string is 0
  • return ""
Quick check
  • length of current string is 1
  • return current string
  • uppercase current string

II. Initial Letter Exceptions

Steps Descriptions
    Conditions (if)
Actions (then)
Initial Exception-I String begin with:
  • KN
  • GN
  • PN
  • AE
  • WR
  • drop the first character
Initial Exception-II
  • String begin with X
  • change to S
Initial Exception-III
  • String begin with WH
  • change to W

III. Transformation by looping through the string

Steps DescriptionsConditions (if)Actions (then)
Doubled letters rules
  • doubled letter && is not C
  • drop the 2nd letter
Vowel Letters Rules
  • is not the first letter C
  • drop the letter
B Rules
  • at the end of the word && after M (MB)
  • map to B
C Rules-I
  • before IA (CIA)
  • before H && not after S (CH, not SCH)
  • map to X
C Rules-II
  • before FrontV (CE, CI, CY)
  • map to S
C Rules-III
  • other than above two C rules
  • map to K
D Rules-I
  • before G plus FrontV (DGE, DGI, DGY)
  • map to J
D Rules-II
  • other than above D rules
  • map to T
G Rules-I
  • before N (GN)
  • before NED (GNED)
  • after D && before FrontV (DGE, DGI, DGY)
  • before H (GH) && ((at the end) || (before a Consonant))
  • drop the letter
G Rules-II
  • before FrontV (GE, GI, GY)
  • map to J
G Rules-III
  • other than above G rules
  • map to K
H Rules-I
  • after Vowel
  • after Varson
  • before consonant (not vowels)
  • drop the letter
H Rules-II
  • other than above H rules
  • map to H
K Rules-I
  • after C (CK)
  • drop the letter
K Rules-II
  • other than above K rules
  • map to K
P Rules-I
  • before H (PH)
  • map to F
P Rules-II
  • other than above P rules
  • map to P
Q Rules
  • all cases
  • map to K
S Rules-I
  • before H (SH)
  • before IA (SIA)
  • before IO (SIO)
  • map to X
S Rules-II
  • other than above S rules
  • map to S
T Rules-I
  • before IA (TIA)
  • before IO (TIO)
  • map to X
T Rules-II
  • before H (TH)
  • map to 0
T Rules-III
  • before CH (TCH)
  • drop the letter
T Rules-IV
  • other than above T rules
  • map to T
V Rules
  • all cases
  • map to F
W Rules-I
  • before Consonant (not vowels)
  • drop the letter
W Rules-II
  • before Vowels
  • map to W
X Rules
  • all cases
  • map to KS
Y Rules-I
  • before Consonant (not vowels)
  • drop the letter
Y Rules-II
  • before Vowels
  • map to Y
Z Rules
  • all cases
  • map to S
  • all other cases (F, J, L, M, N, R, ...)
  • no change (mapped)
  • Vowels: A, E, I, O, U
  • FrontV: E, I, Y
  • Varson: C, G, P, S, T