Jornal Of Violation, Cross-Culture Class

Journal of Violations #3

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 Violation 3 Choose between Option A or Option B-


Option A > Disobey Subtle Directives


directive is a speech act which is being made to get someone to do something or stop doing something.  I want you to violate the speech act in the sense that when a subtle directive is aimed at you, you disobey by not fulfilling the wish or intention of the speaker.  A subtle directive is like a hint, sometimes with humor.  You will basically be playing oblivious.  These will work best with friends and family.  Below are sample directives with unacceptable responses.  What do you think would be the correct responses?


  • How many times do I have to tell you?
    • Five times
  • Could you do the dishes?
    • Yes, I could.
  • What happened to the salt?
    • Nothing happened to the salt?
  • Is Sarah there?
    • Yes, Sarah is here.


These may also be considered rhetorical questions whereby the asker did not want an actual response but rather a certain behavior, such as actually doing the dishes, finding the salt, putting Sarah on the phone.


Pay close attention to people and their directives.  Try hard to violate them.  Do not laugh; just give the response that they would not expect.


Other sample directives:

  • Oh, the sugar’s all gone.
    • [wants to have it replaced]
  • It sure is cold in here.
    • [wants the heat turned up, a sweater, the window closed]
  • What are these shoes doing here?
    • [wants shoes put in proper place]


Observe reactions.  Do people frown at you, are they shocked by your cluelessness, do they mock you as if you were being a smarty-pants, do they hastily/angrily get what they want for themselves?


Option B > Design your own Violation/Consider these Possibilities:


  • Face the other people in an elevator and speak to them
  • Walk away from a conversation without excusing yourself
  • Don’t say anything after receiving a compliment