Publication details [#58340]

Levin, Magnus. 2014. The Bathroom Formula: A corpus-based study of a speech act in American and British English. Journal of Pragmatics 64 : 1–16.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


Drawing on data from the Longman Spoken American Corpus, the Michigan Corpus of Spoken Academic English and the spoken component of the British National Corpus, this study explored American and British English variants of the Bathroom Formula, a speech act used to indicate one needs to go to the loo. Little sociolinguistic variation was found, and the lack of creativity was linked to ease of understanding and production and to speakers’ desire to be discrete. Responses to the formula appear equally discrete: about half of the tokens are not replied to at all, and the most usual verbal response contains plain acknowledgements (for example, okay).