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<?php $string = "Football / Germany / 1.Liga Football / Germany / 1.Liga Football / Germany / 2.Liga Football / Germany / 2.Liga Football / Germany / 2.Liga Football / England / 1.Liga Football / England / 1.Liga Football / England / 2.Liga Football / England / 2.Liga Football / England / 3.Liga Hockey / Germany / 1.Liga Hockey / Germany / 1.Liga Hockey / Germany / 2.Liga Fechten / Meisterschaft Fechten / Meisterschaft Fechten / Weltmeister"; class ArrayStacker { public function stackArray($string) { $array = $this->splitString($string); $stackedArray = array(); foreach($array as $row) { $stackedArray[] = $this->_stack($row); } return $stackedArray; } /** * Split the whole string into a big array * * @param string $string * @return array */ protected function splitString($string) { $lines = explode("\n", $string); $i = 0; $array = array(); foreach($lines as $line) { $values = explode(' / ', $line); foreach($values as $v => $value) { $values[$v] = trim($value); // make sure we got no whitespaces } $array[$i] = $values; $i++; } return $array; } protected function _stack($array) { $stackedArray = array(); $key = array_shift($array); if(count($array) == 1) { $stackedArray[$key] = $array[0]; // that's a single value } else { $stackedArray[$key] = $this->_stack($array); } return $stackedArray; } } $arrayStacker = new ArrayStacker(); var_dump($arrayStacker->stackArray($string));