Role playing: haggling in English

Haggling is obviously culture-specific, so this post might make more or less sense to you depending on where you’re from. But if you teach students who are familiar with the concept of haggling, here’s a fun video you can use for role playing in class:

In this short excerpt, the characters of Leonard and Sheldon (the tall skinny guy) are buying a sword (!) and trying to talk the salesman down to the best possible price. The video contains most of the lexical chunks students would need to perform a similar role play. Check it out:

The extract is really short (1 minute), so you can use it in a number of ways without disrupting the coursebook-related work you’re doing. After all, has there ever been an intermediate / advanced textbook that failed to include a unit on money or shopping?

To explore the video, you will probably want to:

1. Talk to students about the concept of haggling.
2. Ask two or three general comprehension questions and play the original video (the second one) once.
3. Set a noticing task to enable students to listen out for the chunks used: “Can you do any better?” “That’s pretty steep” etc. The idea here is to help students pay attention to HOW the characters said what they said.
4. Have students repeat the target sentences using the correct stress / intonation and memorize them.
5. Role playing: Propose similar situations for students to act out in pairs, using the new language.

Thanks for reading. Have fun.

By the way, if you like to use sitcoms, click here and here for more fun stuff.

11 thoughts on “Role playing: haggling in English”

  1. Really cool, Tavinho! Great job with the relevant subtitles! Besides, I love the BBTheory of course.

  2. Luiz Otávio says:

    Thanks, Gu. Beijo.

  3. wonderful! You are great! ♥

  4. Luiz Otávio says:

    Thanks, Vivi. I hope this proves useful… somehow. Bj

  5. Loved your idea – even tweeted about it, but I can’t seem to find a way to download the two videos… Are these videos downloadable? (I’m asking because the internet connection where I work isn’t very reliable….)
    Tks! 😉

  6. Adriana Sintoni says:

    Hi there!
    First, I’d like to congratulate on this VERY nice and USEFUL site!!
    Second, I was just wondering the difference between haggle and bargain. Is there any?
    Finally, thanks for sharing!!!
    Adri Sintoni

  7. Simply fantastic! I loved that!
    I’d rather use parts of videos than songs; they’re more useful.
    I watched the first episode of The Big Bang Ttheory and I’d like to ask you if you would use the first part when Leonard and Sheldon meet Penny as part of INTRODUCTIONS. I’d like a second opinion

    1. Thanks, Pedro. I don’t seem to recall the first part, to be honest, but whatever you do, be on the look out for Sheldon’s register. He can sound extremely formal, which means that you might end up exposing students to language which is a bit unusual for the level.

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