Guest Post: Mamadou Djiguimde Presents “Bargaining in Bobo-Dioulasso”

Communities across the world have different norms and rituals. In this 36-minute documentary film, Ritassida Mamadou Djiguimde, a doctoral student in the Applied Linguistics program of Ball State University, offers a linguistic perspective on the cultural practice that is “bargaining.” Bargaining, in the context of Bobo-Dioulasso, the second largest city of Burkina Faso, West Africa, is nothing other than the price dispute that takes place between vendors and customers during service exchanges.

Bargaining is often thought of as a hassle by those who do not truly understand its economic and cultural implications. This documentary makes the case that the speech event of bargaining is not only a cultural artifact, but also an economic artifact that creates an interpersonal relationship between vendors and customers that is good for business. Through its different stages, interpersonal relationships are negotiated, established, and maintained. Ultimately, bargaining reduces the cost of attracting and maintaining customers.

The video above gives deeper insight into this Bobo-Dioulasso tradition.


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