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.


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!