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  5. "Docteur, j'ai mal au ventre."

"Docteur, j'ai mal au ventre."

Translation:Doctor, I have a stomach ache.

April 5, 2013



Doctor, I have a bad stomach - is perfectly acceptable. I have reported it.

  • 2075

The UK EN "bad stomach" is now accepted.

  • 2075

The word "ventre" seems to confuse some people. The most reliable dictionaries (Larousse, Wordreference, and Oxford) define it as "stomach". However we must consider that the English "stomach" can mean different things:

  • stomach (the organ) : This is not what "ventre" means.
  • stomach (the front portion of the trunk of one's body), e.g., I have a flat stomach (or) I have a big stomach.
  • stomach (the underpart of an animal or the front of a person, sometimes "belly"), e.g. I stretched out flat on my stomach. My dog loves it when you scratch his belly.
  • stomach (general reference to one's gastrointestinal tract). One may say J'ai mal au ventre (I have a stomach ache). The discomfort may be in the literal stomach (l'estomac) or it may be elsewhere.

So the French "ventre" does mean stomach but not in the sense of the stomach organ (l'estomac). If you want to refer to the stomach organ in French, you must say "l'estomac". If you want to say stomach in one of the other meanings shown above, you must use "ventre".

A few sources include the meaning of "abdomen" for "ventre", but be aware there is a separate French word for that: l'abdomen.

Note that in English, stomach is the standard word used. Informal terms include: belly, gut and tummy (which is considered child-speak).


Thanks, that clears it up...the confusion not the, er, tummy ache.


Does anyone always say "stomach ache" rather than "a stomach ache"?


I reckon "I have stomach ache" could be an accepted answer, as it's common usage where I come from in the UK. Reported 17 Nov 2018.


I'm confused about the word "docteur" in this sentence. I thought the French word for a medical doctor is , <<un médecin>>. How does one address a physician in France?

  • 2075

"Docteur" is used as a term of address, "médecin" is the profession.


Duo's translation is "Doctor, I have a sick belly". Who says that? I might say: "Doctor, I have a sore tummy". The translation on this page is much better: "Doctor, I have a stomachache".

  • 2075

Your answer is accepted, of course, and preferred by US English-speaking adults; our Brit friends may say "a bad stomach" (also accepted). Sadly, there are times when natural English is thrown under the bus so that the back-translation of tummy (that vague area in one's abdomen, also child-speak for "stomach") will return you to "ventre".


That's funny! I'm Australian and I thought that "tummy" was more British than American!


Yes, I agree. Further, I just learned that Duo expects 'tummy' in a sentence involving a child, but not when an adult is the one with the pain. We use the word 'tummy' and 'stomach' interchangeably. 'Tummy' , to me, is more conversational, 'stomach' more clinical.

  • 2075

We are constantly learning the "real" expressions that people use but they range from standard to quite informal. The underlying issue has been resolved on Duolingo's side by coming to an understanding that "avoir mal au ventre" is expressed (generally) in English as "to have a stomach ache". Of course, there are going to be variations, but the point is that the French does not have to say "l'estomac" in order to be translated as "stomach" in English when using "avoir mal au ventre". Based on actual usage, "mal d'estomac" may be heard, but by far the most common expression in French is "mal au ventre" and that's where our focus should be.


I agree, except that now the English sentence on this page has changed to "Doctor, I have a sick belly" which sounds really weird to me. Can we get it changed back to "Doctor, I have a stomach-ache" which seems to work in all variants of English?


I have never heard the expression ' a sick belly'. 'Stomach-ache', yes, very often used along with 'tummy-ache'.


Stomach ache is not one word in English, it's two.


Why not "Doctor, I have a sick stomach?"


We wouldn't say that in english, but we would say "I'm sick to my stomach" or "I have an upset stomach"


"I'm sick to my stomach" is a very normal thing to hear in US English. However, it can have two meanings. One, more literal, that I'm nauseous. The other, more metaphorical, that I'm very upset, disgusted by something. "I'm sick to my stomach over the situation in the Middle East."

And by the way, what I learned in French (in Québec) for being nauseous is "J'ai mal au cœur." Sounds weird when I translate it (I'm heartsick?).


Actually, I've never heard this in British English. It's an Americanism (I mean "sick to my stomach". Though we would definitely say "an upset stomach, or even "an upset tummy".


I would understand "sick to my stomach" more figuratively: to describe extreme worry or shock. I don't think it's an Americanism though: I grew up in SA - on a variant of "the Queen's English". :)


I just meant that it's something I've only ever heard on American TV (we don't get to see much South African TV over here. lol). But it's not a British expression.


I thought SA was South Australia!


I'm with you CJ Dennis. I thought he meant South Australia as well


I am native British and “sick to my stomach” is used a lot, but ONLY in the figutative sense. It does not mean a stomach ache in British English.


Because your stomach can't be sick. It's you who are sick, and one of the symptoms is a stomachache.

Same in French : "Docteur, j'ai un ventre malade" is not correct.

  • 2075

The idea is that in French, j'ai mal au ventre, but in English it is: I have a stomach ache (or) I have a sick/bad stomach (or) I am sick to my stomach (or) My stomach/belly hurts. These various expressions are all idiomatically correct in different parts of the English-speaking world.


Can mal be translated as pain? That was one of the correct answers.


I have a bad stomache is still not accepted yet

  • 2075

There is no "stomache", but "stomach" and "bad stomach" is accepted.


pourquoi pas "mal d'estomac" ?

  • 2075

You could say "J'ai (un) mal d'estomac" or "J'ai mal de l'estomac" as well as "J'ai mal au ventre".


In the UK you only really say "belly" in a medical context if you're under 5 years old.


Why was “Doctor, I have a pain in my stomach” rejected? That is what a stomach ache is.

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