Languages and regions updated, help needed

Hi everyone; we’ve just updated the app so that you now select languages that you speak and regions you’ve visited or lived in from a list of predefined languages and regions. This is in preparation for adding filters for these — so that you can for example only search for hosts with whom you can communicate in a shared language that you’re both conversational in! Maybe we’ll also get a fun minimap soon showing your travels.

We’ve tried to convert your old inputs into the new format, but we’ve surely missed some. Please check that your languages and regions are correct by fixing it up in your profile.

Also, there is no authoritative list of “all languages”, so we’re using a subset of a very large standardized list (ISO 639-3). To not clutter the search box with extinct languages and other extremely rare ones, we took a subset (starting with ISO 639-1) as our starting point. I know we’re missing a few (even fairly common ones), so please post in this thread if we’re missing any languages that you speak or think we should include, and we’ll add them soon. Thanks for helping out!

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Also, if there are any sign language experts here who could help us a bit on how best accommodate for sign languages; that’d be great as well!

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Can we add Cantonese to the list? I just signed up to Couchers and noticed that there is only a broad “Chinese” category to pick from, while in the old Couchsurfing site you could both pick “Chinese”, and a more specific “Yue (Cantonese)”. This is important because Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese are not mutually intelligible even if they share the same written language form, and most communications you will be doing with your host/guest will be verbal.

Looking at ISO 639-3’s definition for “Chinese”, seems like it’s classified as a “macro language”, whereas “Yue” (Cantonese) is classified as an individual language under the Chinese family. I wonder if, in addition to Cantonese, we should take a look at the macro languages and see if Couchers need to bring in the individual languages from each.

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Yes we’re making these changes to include many versions of Chinese, as well as other macro languages like Arabic. We don’t think we’ll need it for ALL macro languages because the ISO 639-3 list is fairly inconsistently constructed, but there’s a few that we will.

Welcome to the forum by the way!

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Is there a way (or is it planned to have) to select proficiency level for a spoken language? Cause I see every language entered is shown as ‘fluent’ on the profile page but that’s not always the case.

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Some ideas from a fellow user:

  • Could it be possible to just type in languages you speak if they are not on the list? For example, “Berber” isn’t a single language but rather a bunch of them (Tamazight, Tashelhit, Tarifit), and I couldn’t select which ones I speak. Or could it be possible to add those?

  • Would be nice if there was a separate field like “what languages are you learning” - i.e. to find language mates :slight_smile: Or : “which languages you speak a little bit” :slight_smile:
    (I guess this one will be covered when there are proficiency levels though)

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I’d like to add myself to those requesting proficiency levels.
I have native English, can certainly manage in Dutch, and have enough German that with a lot of patience from both sides, I could communicate in a crisis. Additionally I have some comprehension of Spanish that could be helpful, but not enough to rely on.

I did agonize over this somewhat, and came to the uneasy decision to choose English, Dutch and German as my languages, and then they’re displayed on my profile as though I’m fluent.
It makes me uncomfortable because I worry about disappointing someone who relies on German, but I don’t want to hide a potential method of communication.

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Ahaha I think this should be a level!

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+1. Being able to select a proficiency would be useful.
I liked Couchsurfing’s three level approach - Beginner, Intermediate, Fluent.
BeWelcome’s 5 level approach leaves me wondering “Am I 1/5 or 2/5? I don’t know!”.

In any case, if possible, you should change the prompt on the edit profile page: I selected some languages I speak (very badly) because I do speak them (very badly). But then when I checked my profile it said I was fluent in them, which would be a great disappointment to someone meeting me who only spoke one of those languages.
I think it should be a no-brainer to at least change the prompt on the edit profile page from “Languages I speak” to “Languages I speak fluently”, if the other suggestions in this thread aren’t possible at the moment.

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Actually according ECDL level are 7 : 0, A1 A2, B1 B2, C1, C2
you can change to 4 level easily (collapsing A to beginner, B to intermediate and C to fluent) but it remains the fact that not all have an assessment made according standard and covering also spoken and heard language, and if is not a problem if someone at C1 says intermediate, could be if some at A2 say intermediate.
Little idea: if someone decide to make some “free assessor”, native speakers of various languages, that can have a talk with someone and suggest which level put ?