Quiz: What Is Your Cultural IQ?

By Anna Schlegel

1. Global web users are most likely to understand the intent behind which of the following icons:
A. Skull and crossbones
B. An envelope
C. A shopping cart
D. An eagle
E. A mailbox with a flag in the upright position

2. The American “OK” gesture communicated by making a circle with one’s thumb and index finger means:
A. Nil in France
B. Generosity in Japan
C. *%#@!! In Brazil
D. *%#@!! In Greece
E. All of the above

3. Companies that are targeting Taiwanese businesses and consumers are advised to communicate their message in which written language:
A. English
B. Traditional Chinese
C. Simplified Chinese
D. Cantonese
E. Pinyin Chinese

4. How long is a football field (area of play only):
A. 100 yards
B. 105 meters
C. 12 fathoms
D. 110 yards
E. A, B and D

5. Which of the following languages reads from right to left and thus requires a localized operating system in addition to special fonts?
A. Japanese
B. Russian
C. Arabic
D. Korean
E. B and C

6. What best characterizes the language spoken in the People’s Republic of China?
A. Beginning in the 1950s, with the implementation of the government’s language unity plan, the two hundred-plus dialects spoken across China have merged. All citizens now speak Mandarin.
B. The majority of Chinese citizens adopted Cantonese as their primary language once the UK relinquished control of Hong Kong.
C. Although written communication is standardized, over two hundred dialects of Chinese are spoken in the PRC.
D. To overcome regional language barriers, the Chinese educational system has begun a compulsory English studies program for students beginning at age ten. Officials intend to adopt English as the lingua franca to unify China.
E. Chinese is no longer spoken in China; people speak Mandarin.

7. In the US the number 13 is associated with bad luck. What number is associated with death in Japan?
A. 13
B. 4
C. 5
D. 6
E. No number; rather, the color brown evokes images of death.

8. What does the word “tortilla” mean to web development hotshots in Spain?
A. Security technology encoded into software
B. HTML “cookie”
C. Potato omelet
D. The “wrap” used in making a burrito
E. Both B and D

9. In what European country are names spoken and written with the family name first (i.e. “Asian style”)?
A. Italy
B. France
C. Albania
D. Hungary
E. Finland

10. Which of the following is NOT an official language of Switzerland?
A. French
B. Romansch
C. English
D. German
E. Italian

Answers:
1
: B. Skull and crossbones is considered a symbol of virility in some African countries. The shopping cart, while becoming more universally well known as a result of the Internet, is not a familiar item in many countries—people use baskets or bags.
2: E.
3: B. Pinyin is a phonetic system for writing Chinese words with a Latin script. Beijing or Taipei, for example, are Chinese words written in Pinyin. Pinyin is used mainly for non-Chinese speakers learning Chinese.
4: E. 100 yards for American football, 105 meters for regulation soccer—which is called football in most countries—and 110 yards for Canadian football.
5: C.
6: C.
7: B.
8: C.
9: D.
10: C.

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