Geometry: Traditional Geometry

Many of the Adinkra symbols incorporate elements of transformational geometry in their design. The following pages show adinkra symbols using translation, reflection, dilation, and rotation.

Math teachers in Kumasi, Ghana have translated these terms from English into the local language, Twi. Below is a table of these translations.

English: Reflection
Twi: Adane
Pronounced Like: "Ah-DAWN-eh"
Literal meaning: Reversed image
English: Dilation
Twi: Ketowa/Keseye
Pronounced Like: "KET-wah"/"ke-SEE-yah"
Literal meaning: Smaller/larger (using both terms helps remind students that dilation can be a size change above or below 100%)
English: Rotation
Twi: Ntwaho
Pronounced Like: "En-TWA-hoe"
Literal meaning: Spinning (for example a spinning move defines the Ntwaho dance)
English: Translation
Twi: Twe
Pronounced Like: "TWEE"
Literal meaning: Pulling an object
Reflection in Adinkra Symbols
In mathematics, an image is said to have reflection when half of the the image appears to mirror across a line. For instance, the symbol to the right reflects across the X-axis, the Y-axis, and both diagonal axes. On either side of the imaginary lines, the image appears identical but opposite. This symbol is called Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu, or the Siamese Crocodiles. It represents democracy and unity in diversity based on the proverb, "They share one stomach and yet they fight for getting food."
Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu
Translation in Adinkra Symbols
An image shows translation when it is copied and glides to a new position. We can think of the image to the right as having been created by taking one of the circles with a dot inside, and repeatedly copying and gliding until there are four. This symbol is called Ntesie - Mate Masie, or "I have heard and kept it." It represents knowledge and wisdom based on the proverb, "Deep wisdom comes out of listening and keeping what is heard." The script you would need for simulating Ntesie could be created either using the “change x by” block or the “translate by width” block. Similar blocks can create vertical translations (“change y by” block or the “translate by height”).
Ntesie - Mate Masie
Dilation in Adinkra Symbols
In dilation you change the scale of a shape (like dilating your pupils). By repeating dilation on each copy (an "iterative loop"), we get a scaling sequence. In the image to the right, the leaves of the fern create a scaling sequence, gradually become larger as the fern grows upwards.

This symbol is called Aya, or the fern. It represents defiance, endurance, and resourcefulness (ferns can even grow in rocky cliffs).

We can use the “set pen size to” command to change the size of size of the line you draw.

Then to get the leaf to change size every iteration, you could create a variable called "iteration" to keep track. If you added one to the iteration number each time, then this block would make the pen smaller in each iteration.

Rotation in Adinkra Symbols
An image has rotation when it repeats at different angles around one point. For example, in the image to the right, one arm of the spiral is copied and rotated about the center point. This symbol is called Nkontim, or the hair of the Queen's servant. It represents loyalty and service.