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Survey exposes Britons' general knowledge

November 20, 2008 16:46 IST

Believe it or not, more than three quarters of Britons don't know the names of countries that comprise Great Britain.

Yes, a survey has revealed that 75 per cent of people in Britain are unable to name Great Britain's three countries -- only less than a quarter actually identified England [Images], Wales and Scotland as being its part.

And, what's shocking is that a large number of people do not know which is the world's most spoken language � in fact, more than half wrongly believe that English is the most common language.

Only over a third (37 per cent) correctly identified it as Mandarin Chinese, according to the survey.

Interestingly, the survey found that a quarter of people would like to be an explorer although many have trouble identifying where cities such as Leeds and Sheffield are.

When asked to rank a list of UK cities, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham and Luton, in the order they are located, from north to south, eight in 10 correctly placed Newcastle and Luton, The Daily Telegraph reported.

But only half could only identify Leeds as the second most northerly, while a similar number put Sheffield correctly in third place.

 "Geography helps us make sense of both our local surroundings but also the world's bigger challenges like climate change, war, energy and poverty. It's remarkable that so many people don't know some simple facts like how many countries make up Great Britain.

"What is encouraging is that explorer came top in people's preferred careers and that map-reading and compass skills beat being able to use a sat-nav," Angela Baker of geographic technology company ESRI-UK, which commissioned the poll of 2,000 people, said.

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