I apologize if this is a weird or easy question. I was listening to a RFI Mandenkan podcast called Kalanso Sira Kan and I was trying to translate the episode title:

Aw ka nin dɔgɔkun jɛmukan bɛ kuma kimɛnliw de kan an ka jamanaw na
My translation: In your episode this week we discuss kimɛnliw in our countries.
I looked in the corpus and the An Ka Taa dictionary and couldn’t find that word kimɛnli. I googled the word and literally got just references to this podcast episode. Thanks!


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I ni baara, Jeremy!

I’ve never seen this word in print.

I found the usage/episode that you are referring to:

Aw ka nin dɔgɔkun jɛmukan bɛ kuma kimɛnliw de kan an ka jamanaw na

When I listen to the episode it sounds more like “Kimɛli” (plural “kimɛliw”). This form is confirmed by their use of it as a tag for a number of their episodes.

It’s clear from the contents of the episode (and the text on its page), that the term means ‘exams; competitive exams’. Here is what it looks like:

You can see that they say speak of “CEP, BEPC ani kimɛnli wɛrɛw”. The CEP and BEPC are the names of school exams in some francophone West African countries (the Wikipedia articles linked primarily speak of the exams in France [they have changed named in that country]) that come at the end of elementary school and middle school respectively.

So the term “kimɛli” (or “kimɛnli” but I think that might be a typo) clearly means ‘exam’ (Fr. examen).

Since I have never heard anyone ever say it, it seems like a likely neologism. I am curious where it comes from. I don’t see it in any of the dictionaries that I have access to. (But I do see it used in a post by VOA Bambara).

Hope that helps!

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Really helpful response. Listening to the episode, at least the small bits I could understand, made it clear the topic was about school exams but this info helps me understand more. Thanks!

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