Is R one of those shell-like languages which implement lists as strings?
I don't know R... but, to my naive eye, that looks like it does neither the split nor the join.
You're right. The function posted above fails because it doesn't do the split or the join. R is lovely for statistics, but it's clumsy with text, despite efforts to implement Perl-like regex capabilities.
Re^3: Five Ways to Reverse a String of Words (C#, Perl 5, Perl6, Ruby, Haskell)