1 thought on “Terminology – What is a mène (end, round) in petanque?

  1. I’m a freelance translator from Ireland, but based in Marseille. I do a lot of French to English translation concerning pétanque, and I’m often faced with the problem of translating “mène”. It’s true that translating it as “end” or as “round” causes confusion. I sometimes cop out by writing “end” in inverted commas, or else “mène (end)”. There’s no simple solution!

    I agree that, theoretically, “frame” (as in billiards, pool or snooker) would be a good translation. Or, taking inspiration from “frame”, perhaps we could say “circle” for “mène” (referring to the circle that is placed on the ground at the beginning of each “mène”, just as the physical frame is placed on the table when starting a frame of billiards).

    Similarly, “hand” (as said in card games) is a close equivalent of “mène”.

    In some ways it would be good to translate it as “game”, as in tennis. So —
    — “game” would correspond to “mène”, (But of course, the word “game” can also cause confusion, too!)
    — “set” would correspond to “partie” (the stage that is won when one side reaches 13 points), and
    — “match” would correspond to a “match” or “rencontre” that consists of a number of “parties” or “sets” (often 3 “parties” in this part of the world, unless otherwise stipulated).

    As far as I know, there is no official French technical term for a match between two individuals or teams. French people often say “rencontre” (encounter) for a match, but I’ve never heard “match” being used in French in the context of pétanque. (It *is* used in the French vocabulary of soccer football and other sports.) “Curiouser and curiouser!” 😉

    — Peter McCavana (Marseille)


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