Are there more left-handed people in societies where the written word flows right to left? © Getty Images

Are there more left-handed people in societies where the written word flows right to left?

Left-handed people will know the difficulties of keeping their writing smudge-free in Western countries.

Quite the reverse. Various surveys have found that the highest incidence of left-handedness is in Western countries. The Netherlands, the USA and Canada lead with around 13 per cent of the population being left-handed and the UK is only just behind.

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The countries that use right-to-left writing systems are predominantly Arab and Asian and they all have left-handedness rates below 6 per cent. In Muslim countries, the advantage of smudge-free handwriting is outweighed by the fact that the left hand is considered unclean. Writing, eating and shaking hands is all done with the right hand and naturally left-handed children are taught to use their right hands for these tasks from an early age.

Asked by: Javier Rodríguez, Madrid

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