Friday, May 18, 2012

Fun Friday: Stomachs and Bellies

As you may know, I'm taking a Chinese class here in Costa Rica, so I've been following a blog about Chinese culture and language. There was a funny and interesting article yesterday about men in China who expose their bellies (stomachs) when it's hot. The post included the picture to the right, which I'll include in case you don't understand what I'm talking about.

Anyhow, the Chinese phrase for this action is "bǎngyé," which means "exposing grandfathers." If you want to read more, the article really is interesting, so check it out. Also, it got me thinking, since lots of men here in Costa Rica also roll up their shirts and stick out their bellies when it's hot. I think it's pretty funny, since it's usually men with gigantic bellies who do this. So, all of this inspired me to talk about a few vocabulary words and phrases related to stomach and bellies.


First of all, stomach is another general word for the area between your chest and your waist. "Stomach" can also refer to your main digestive organ. If you feel pain because of indigestion, you can say that you have a stomachache or that your stomach hurts.

The words "tummy" and "belly" often refer to the outside part of your stomach, but sometimes they can refer to the digestive organ (these words are especially common when talking about or with children). For example, a child may say, "Dad/Mom, my tummy/belly hurts."

Belly dancing is a type of dance that's popular in some parts of the world. (Image)

Another word to describe your stomach area is "gut" or "guts," but this can also be used to refer to the inner organs in general. If you remove the inner organs from a fish, for example, you "gut it." You can also use the word gut in some idiomatic expressions; for example, if someone has a suspicion about something, he or she can say she has a "gut feeling." Also, if someone is brave (courageous), you can say that he or she "has a lot of guts" or that they are "gutsy."

A diagram of a human's inner organs or "guts." (Image)

If you're talking about the muscles in that part of the body, they're generally called the abdominal muscles or simply the "abs." A common exercise to tone the abdominal muscles is called "sit-ups." When people do a lot of these exercises, they get very strong abs, and you can say that he or she "has a 6-pack," since the muscles look like a 6-pack of beer or pop cans.

A group of students doing sit-ups to tone their abs. (Image)
Pretty soon, the girls doing sit-ups will have 6-pack abs like this guy. (Image)

Finally, when a woman is pregnant, her baby has an umbilical cord, which is a cord that provides nutrients from the mother to the growing baby. After the baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut, and later a little "hole" is formed in a person's stomach. That's called a "belly button," although the more "scientific" term is a "navel."

A woman with a pierced belly button. (Image)

So, to review, can you explain what each of these words means? 
Can you use them in sentences?

-Belly Botton

-Gut Feeling
-Have Guts
-To Tone
-Umbilical Cord
-To Be Born

If you read this far, here is your "secret bonus":

I'm not sure if this video is supposed to be funny, but it definitely made me laugh!
Thanks for reading --have a great weekend, free of bellyaches!

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