Philosophical Papers and Review

  • Abbreviation: Philos. Papers Rev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-663X
  • DOI: 10.5897/PPR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 36

Full Length Research Paper

The philosophy behind some Adinkra symbols and their communicative values in Akan

J. E. T. Kuwornu-Adjaottor*
  • J. E. T. Kuwornu-Adjaottor*
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar
George Appiah
  • George Appiah
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar
Melvin Nartey
  • Melvin Nartey
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 04 April 2015
  •  Accepted: 24 November 2015
  •  Published: 30 April 2016

Abstract

This paper represents selected Adinkra symbols of the Akan and brings out the philosophical, educational, historical and moral values inherent in them. It seeks to encourage the understanding and usage of the Adinkra symbols in a more meaningful way by Ghanaians and foreigners, contemporary artists, designers, craftsmen, teachers, and all who appreciate the traditional symbols. It discusses 14 Adinkra symbols grouped into two of seven each. The first group consists of the symbols that are familiar to many Ghanaians but the philosophy, history and moral lessons behind them are not known to them and the other group also consists of symbols that are unfamiliar to many Ghanaians as well as the philosophical and historical lessons associated to them. Symbolic meanings, philosophical and historical background of these symbols have also been provided. The paper posits that the logical value of the Adinkra symbols used by Akans as a mode of communication is less important; it is their communication values that are important. The paper adds to knowledge in the disciplines of linguistics in general and semiotics in particular.

Key words: Akan language, Adinkra symbols, semiotics, linguistics, Ghanaian indigenous symbolism, communication.