Around the World in 20 Questions

| By TMA World

One of the first books I remember being given was Pears’ Cyclopaedia – a one-volume British almanac of fascinating facts about the world.  I would lie on the floor for hours looking through its pages and shout to anyone within hearing, “Did you . . . did you . . .  know that . . .?”  I’m sure I was an annoying pest in the eyes of many in the family. 

Later came a love for the Atlas and the more multi-volume encyclopedias.  I still love to browse through reference books, but now I also have the Internet.  No doubt those early adventures into world facts brought me to the work I do today: a global business/cross-cultural author and consultant at TMA World. 

With the aim of stimulating anyone’s curiosity about the world, I have put together the following quiz.  Enjoy and stay curious!

1. What is Pinyin?
a. The Chinese name for table tennis
b. A Chinese dish consisting of boiled pork, shrimp, eggplant, and garlic sauce
c. A system for converting Chinese into the Latin alphabet
d. The most read Chinese newspaper in mainland China

2. The year 2016 is the UN’s International Year of what?
a. Light
b. Pulses (e.g. beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas)
c. Family
d. Medicine

3. How would you write the date – May 18, 2016 – according to the international date format?

4. People in Japan sometimes carry around an origami frog.  Why?
a. To bring good weather
b. To bring wealth
c. To ensure a safe journey
d. To gain a promotion

5. In which country is it unlucky to whistle at home, especially in the evening?
a. Russia
b. Turkey
c. Japan
d. All of the above

6. If you put bread on the table upside down it means you will face poverty and hunger – in which country?
a. Germany
b. Poland
c. France
d. All of the above

7. How many languages are there estimated to be in the world?
a. 9,500
b. 7,100
c. 6,200
d. 5,015

8. In which country on New Year’s Eve would you eat a dish of pork sausage served over lentils?
a. Italy
b. India
c. Nigeria
d. Ukraine

9. The German phrase, “Ich glaub mein schwein pfeift” literally translated means “I believe my pig is whistling.”  It is similar in meaning to which English idiom?
a. “You are barking up the wrong tree.”
b. “Once in a blue moon.”
c. “Back to the drawing board.”
d. “You could knock me down with a feather.”

10. When a U.S. businessperson says, “Let’s talk turkey,” what does that mean?
a. Let’s talk serious business
b. Conduct the meeting in Turkish
c. We’ll talk again after dinner
d. Keep the conversation friendly

11. In China, Russia, and the Islamic Middle East it is a disadvantage to attend a meeting without what?
a. An expensive gift
b. An intermediary
c. An expensive-looking business card
d. A bottle of Scotch whiskey to toast the relationship

12. India, China, and the U.S. are the most populous counties in the world.  Which country is the next most populous?
a. Russia
b. Brazil
c. Indonesia
d. Pakistan

13. The top three countries with the largest numbers of Internet users are China, the U.S., and India.  Which country has the next largest number of Internet users?
a. Canada
b. Finland
c. Singapore
d. Japan

14. According to Bloomberg’s Global Innovation Index (2015), which country is the most innovative?
a. China
b. USA
c. S. Korea
d. Sweden

15. Which gesture should you never use in Brazil?
a. Thumbs up
b. Pointing with the index finger
c. A-Okay (connecting the thumb with the forefinger)
d. High five

16. What is monotheism?
a. Believing in a single God
b. Having a diversity of religious beliefs
c. Worshiping nature
d. Having no religious belief

17. What is ethnocentrism?
a. The longitude line connecting the North and South poles
b. Belief in the superiority of one’s own culture or ethnic group
c. A location in a city where ethnic food is available
d. Not liking the country in which you were born

18. What is a diaspora?
a. An online game for teaching about world geography and cultures
b. A militant nationalist group in Greece
c. A common form of greeting in Southern Africa
d. A large group scattered worldwide sharing a common heritage/homeland

19. Which country publishes more books per capita than any other?
a. Sweden
b. U.S.A.
c. Iceland
d. Denmark

20. The Japanese don’t like saying ‘no’ directly.  What phrase(s) might a Japanese business person say to reject your offer?
a. We open our mind to it
b. We’ll try our best
c. We will think about it
d. All of the above


Scroll down for answers…


1. c
2. b
3. b
4. b
5. d
6. c
7. b
8. a
9. d
10. a
11. b
12. c
13. d
14. c
15. c
16. a
17. b
18. d
19. c
20. d

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