Health Vocabulary In French – In The Pharmacy
It’s always worth learning about vocabulary for health and medicines, as you never know when disaster will strike! These exercises are suitable for older children, and adult learners who want to expand their business vocabulary. The students should already know some descriptive vocabulary.
French pharmacies are always very well stocked, and most sell some medicines for animals as well as humans. The French love to visit the pharmacy, which can often turn into a social event on market day!
This role-playing exercise will help students learn the vocabulary. Divide the class into pairs, and ask one student to play a customer, and the other the pharmacist. The customer wants help with an ailment, and the pharmacist needs to ask some questions to determine the problem. The teacher should move round the room and offer help as required.
Pre-lesson preparation – prepare some additional phrases in case students need help with the role-play.
Vocabulary and Phrases
For the customer:
J’ai mal…..à la tête/à la jambe/au bras/à la main/au dos/au cou/à la gorge.
My head/leg/arm/hand/back/neck/throat hurts.
Je suis enrhumé/malade.
I have a cold/I’m ill.
J’ai le vertige/la fièvre.
I’m feeling dizzy/feverish.
For the pharmacist:
Où avez-vous mal?
Where does it hurt?
Qu’est-ce qui c’est passé?
Vous êtes comme ça depuis longtemps?
Have you been like this long?
The pharmacist can also ask for some personal particulars such as age and name. They can then prescribe some pills (des comprimés) or ointment (un onguent), or, if the malady is too serious, refer the customer to a doctor or the hospital (je vous conseille de vous adresser à un docteur/à l’hôpital). The two students should then reverse roles.
Health Vocabulary in French – In the Hospital
Now we are going to look at hospital vocabulary, again with the aid of a role-playing activity.
Un bandage – bandage
Un pensement – small dress in
Un thermomètre – thermometer
Une seringue – a syringe
Un fauteuil roulant – a wheelchair
Une canne – a walking stick
Une béquille – a crutch
Une masque – facemask
Un stéthoscope – stethoscope
Un scalpel – scalpel
Les ciseaux (m pl) – scissors
Un forceps – forceps
Une transfusion sanguine – blood transfusion
Un analgésique – painkiller
Un calmant – tranquilizer
Une écharpe – sling
Une éclisse – splint
Une aiguille – needle
Un plâtre – plaster (cast)
Une perfusion de sérum isotonique – saline drip
Pre-lesson preparation – print enough copies of the attached health vocabulary in French worksheet for half the class, and cut the vocabulary into squares.
Divide the students into pairs once more. One student is now to be the doctor, and the other in charge of hospital supplies. The doctor must request three items of equipment from the Supply Manager to treat a specific patient, trying to re-use as much of the vocabulary from the previous exercise as possible.
For example – "J'ai un patient qui a mal à la jambe. Je voudrais un fauteuil roulant, des bandages et un analgésique, s'il vous plaît." The Supply Manager can't hand over the equipment unless the doctor can justify its use, and should challenge by asking further questions if necessary. If the doctor asks correctly, the Supply Manager should hand over the relevant squares of paper, which can't be used again. Once the doctor has requested and received nine pieces of equipment, the students should reverse roles.
These simple exercises should help your students to learn health vocabulary in French, and be prepared!
References and Image Credits
Written from the author's own experience of working as an assistante d'anglais in a large college.
Pharmacy Image Courtesy of: Wikimedia.com / GNU Free Documentation License / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License / by: Nina Aldin Thune, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apotek.1.jpg
Wheelchair Image Courtesy of: Wikimedia.com / GNU Free Documentation License / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License / by: Memasa, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wheelchair_Parts5.JPG
Stethoscope Image Courtesy of: Wikimedia.com / GNU Free Documentation License / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License / by: Harmid, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stethoscoop.jpg